The most challenging thing about growing up in Venice? I guess it was deciphering the truth from everybody else’s BS.

At home, on the streets; it seemed like everybody, or just about everybody I talked to was either lying or they were making up stuff in their own heads. I would question my own reality. I was like, “Can I trust my brothers? Can I trust anyone?” I should be able to trust family, but it wasn’t always clear. My brothers were, you know, Venice hoodlums. Having those guys to look up to, for me, was insane for a while. I thought that was the road I would go down. I really didn’t think I had a choice.

Taken from my interview with Brad in 2015.

Working with Brad James

Brad was the first to be painted in the West of Lincoln Project, following my own self portrait. He offered to tell his story and have me paint it before anyone else had agreed to participate. Brad and I met as little kids, crossing paths at the local church and the church summer camps. Later, I remember Brad being there when learning how to smoke pot at that church in a refrigerator box someplace out of sight of the Christian adults. I also knew who a few of his brothers were, infamous, they were. Over the years, I wouldn’t see much of Brad until we worked together on this project.

Fear is a Liar, by Ruth Chase West of Lincoln Project Venice Ca
“Fear Is A Liar” Inspired by Brad James, Painted by Ruth Chase


About the Author Ruth Chase

My work documents the human spirit and the powerful insights that allow people to find a sense of belonging within their community. The public plays a vital role in the outcome of my work, taking a journey with me that can last up to two years. I produce multi-media installations that include paintings, audio, social media, slideshows, video, and social engagement. Self-aware subjects with strong belief systems fascinate me and draw me in.

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