WORKSHOP – Life Story​ as Content

Join artist and social activist Ruth Chase for an intimate workshop designed for community-minded artists of all mediums wanting to expand their use of narrative and enhance storytelling in their artistic practice. Ruth will provide useful tools in this part lecture and part informal group interaction that will be engaging and honest.

Ruth Chase



  • How to interview people for the purpose of creating art
  • Easy steps to take your social passion into your art practice
  • Fresh ideas for expanding on your medium
  • Knowing what the difference is between a commission vs. Biographical Portrait 
  • How to develop a connection with your subject
  • Understanding how to use your art to be in service others
  • How to use narrative and why it is essential in art-making
  • Making connections with like-minded artists
  • A list of interview pointers and questions to consider

Biographical Portraiture: A title coined for the West of Lincoln Project to describe a process used to create work based on an individual’s life story.  An interview process where collaborating with the subject of the work and being in service to another is part of the creation of a biographical portrait.

Attendees will preview the West of Lincoln Project and learn how to engage with individuals to provide content for their work based on an interview process. Topics covered are the interview process, the concept of using art to be in service to others, integrating symbology in storytelling, and working with sensitive subject matter and the responsibility that goes with it.

My focus is on positive social change, working with concepts that reflect identity and the value of people to their community. I have been fortunate to use my work to be in service to the Nisenan people of Nevada City and in my home town of Venice. I use biographical portraiture to raise the visibility of people who are valuable and vulnerable members in their communities. Ruth has taught art since 1995 and most recently at the Crocker Art Museum. The West of Lincoln Project received a Certificate of Appreciation from the city of Los Angeles in 2017.

Contact Ruth about WORKSHOP – Life Story as Content

Ruth’s Work


BELONGING 48 x 48 by Ruth Chase
“Where Do We Go From Here” 48 x 48″

This painting was created by Ruth Chase and donated to CHIRP. “Where Do We Go From Here” expresses the significance of the Nisenan to their community. How the American dream has played a roll in their development as a tribe externally an internally. ‘nisei humwa’a’ is Nisenan for > My family is from my heart or, my heart is drawn to my family (exact translation is difficult).

Venice Arts Gallery Left Wall West of Lincoln Project by Ruth Chase copy
West of Lincoln Project at Venice Arts

Painter Ruth Chase traces the history of Venice through the life stories of people who grew up in Venice, California, as told through paintings and audio interviews by Chase and accompanying biographical texts written by Gena Lasko. There are 12 featured portraits and one painting with audio in the “West of Lincoln Project” installation.