Ruth Chase lives and works in Nevada County. In 2017 Ruth completed the West of Lincoln Project that was awarded a Certificate of Appreciation from the City of Los Angeles for Art in Action, as well as a grant to an individual artist from the Carl Jacobs Foundation. She was granted a residency at the Millay Colony for the Arts in NY, was published in Professional Artist Magazine, Catapult Art Magazine and Huffington Post, and has taught at the Crocker Art Museum. She was a featured sketch artist on the Dead Files TV program, most recently she was awarded an Artist in Residence at Nevada County Arts for Artist Activating Communities through a grant from the California Arts Council for the BELONGING project, Ruth is a graduate of the San Francisco Art Institute.
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, sideshows, video, and social engagement. Self-aware subjects with strong belief systems fascinate me and draw me in.
Within me was a well of strength that wasn’t realized until I left home. I can look back and see how Venice taught me that I could choose not to be afraid, and that dreams come true if you don’t give up
Growing up in Venice, I had a childhood filled with limitless freedom beyond what most people will ever experience. Freedom isn’t always easy, it made me tough; it made me hate the place at times. At home, there were no rules. At school, I was bullied. On the street, I was jumped. Afraid of being killed in a drive-by shooting became my motivation for change.
From an early age, I imagined that if I could just get an education, I would have a better future. Neither of my parents finished school. My mom couldn’t drive, read, or write, and it seemed like no one I knew had gone to college. We grew up on welfare, and it sucked.
By the age of 18, I was using drugs and felt hopeless about my future. Art was the only way I could see out of limiting circumstances, so I went to college and graduated from the San Francisco Art Institute in 1990.
Life has taught me that wisdom is found where people fall the hardest, and they have to get back up. I only realized this in 2015 when I began the West of Lincoln Project. Now I can look back on my past and see life challenges as having value that our culture often overlooks. Currently, I live with my husband and young daughter in Northern California and aspire to use my art for positive social change.