Community

Snapshot: Angus Powelson, Owner, Oceanworks

Angus Powelson. Photo: Pete Rosos

Born in Saranap the youngest of five children, Angus Powelson lived with his parents in the Walnut Creek area until he was 13, when, as he puts it, “sibs went to college, parents went crazy, I went into foster care.” Powelson lived in Richmond, where he attended Richmond High, and then in Berkeley. He dropped out of high school when he turned 18 and started working as a mechanic at his brother’s motorcycle shop, T T Motors. He attended UC Berkeley, briefly flirted with the corporate world, then decided “to do something crazy like start a small business.” Powelson runs Japanese car repair shop Oceanworks, and is active in promoting bicycles as a cleaner and healthier mode of transportation.

When did you arrive in Berkeley?
I made a number of forays in the early 1960s with my siblings, going to the old Cinema Guild on Telegraph, seeing The Seventh Seal, probably about 1962-63. I moved here in earnest in about 1965-66, somewhere in there. Left soon after for Richmond. Moved back for good in 1980.

What’s your hood?
The Southside.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I did think I would be a car designer in my life.


Where and when are you happiest?
It used to be true that the happiest thing was to be surrounded by mine and my brother’s kids. Now that they’ve all grown and gone, the high points are good food, good bike rides and putting together bikes.

Which living person do you most admire?
God, they’re all dead.

What drives you mad?
A lot less than it used to. There are certainly a lot of things to be concerned about, but not to the point of madness.

If you could change something about yourself, what would it be?
I’d have darker skin.

Who, or what, is the love of your life?
The natural world.


What is the craziest thing you’ve ever done?
We don’t have enough time to cover the first ten.

What three things would you take to a desert island?
A littler Homer (in translation), a little scotch, and my wife… and waders for both of us:  the waters are rising.

What does Berkeley mean to you?
It is very much a small town. Everybody knows everybody. It’s pretty lovely that way. It’s got the best farmers’ market I’ve seen anywhere.

If you didn’t live in Berkeley, where would you live?
There is no other place. There’s no real likelihood of my moving.

Berkeleyside’s “Snapshot” column, inspired by the Proust Questionnaire, is an occasional series by Pete Rosos in which we take a moment to get to know some of Berkeley’s most interesting people. Rosos is a freelance photographer, husband, and father of two who lives in south Berkeley. Previous Snapshots: Urban Ore founder Dan KnappJessica Williams, owner of Brushstrokes Studio; Doris Moskowitz, owner, Moe’s Books; songwriter and writer David Berkeley, and Heyday Books founder Malcolm Margolin. Let us know in the Comments who you would like to see featured here.