The following stories were ‘collected’ through a series of over-the-phone interviews that were transcribed and edited. In these tales, the participants generously gave insights into aspects of their lives that have shaped their ideas and their work. Together as a collection, they describe a range of people-and-place contexts that provide the deep rich humus from which their artwork continues to develop. These backgrounds offer a different kind of matrix than those offered by ‘art-world’ and art theory references; they reveal how concerns that have long played central roles in each artist’s life have been woven, through their work, into a language that is both deeply private and articulately public.