My name is Ruth Chase, I am the third generation of my family to live in Venice, California. Growing up there gave me a childhood filled with limitless freedom beyond what most people ever experience.

It made me tough, it made me resilient,  it made me hate the place at times.

I’m not good at math, grammar, or holding down a conventional job. I am an artist who paints, that is the only thing I know how to do well. It is also something I love deeply.
 venice california

Ruth Chase on The Venice Boardwalk 1973

In 2015 I started digging deep into my emotional past while painting a self-portrait titled, “Stronger Than You Realize”.  I began to understand how Venice made me who I am, why I was using drugs, and felt hopeless about my future as a child. From an early age it seemed like if I could just get an education, it would be my ticket to having a better future. Unlike my parents, who didn’t finish school, my mom couldn’t drive, read, or write, we grew up on welfare, and it sucked. I had no idea this project would turn hurtful memories into something that empowered me and I could own as being one of my super powers.
Stronger Than You Realize by Ruth Chase
“Stronger Than I Realize” acrylic on canvas, self portrait by Ruth Chase, 2015

At the age of 19 I saw art as my only way out of limiting circumstances and began to paint. To get to the point, here I am, a grown woman who knows first hand that wisdom is found where people fall the hardest and get back up. I have come to a point in my life where I need to use my skills to do something that connects me to the world outside of myself and sends a positive message.  I didn’t set out to do a big project. Nope, this project choose me. And everything about it makes sense to who I am as a human being.

I choose to portray the people of Venice through the West of Lincoln Project because the culture here is rich with knowledge, the people are authentic, and there is no place on earth that I know more about. 


Stronger Than You Realize large file Detail  copy

It is my personal hope that this series creates a conversation in a community rapidly undergoing big changes. An exchange that asks,

“Who are my neighbors? Why are people valuable to each other, and how do people from diverse backgrounds make connections in a constantly changing environment?”


West of Lincoln Project.

About the Author Ruth Chase

Ruth Chase is primarily a project based artist whose award winning series, West of Lincoln Project, probed into the lives of individuals who grew up in Venice, CA. She is a California-based painter that uses biographical portraiture to communicate stories of compassion, and valuable insight that promotes positive social change. Her work includes the use of social media in her creative process to stimulate conversation around human value, as well as engaging the public to actively participate in the final outcome of her work.


  1. Thank you the glimpse of Venice. A transparent portrayal. Gives one a sense of place through childhood,neighborhood,and human stories. Thank you .

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