Painted in collaboration with Elaine Love Leslie by Ruth Chase. The painting reflects her life story and the wisdom she has as a result of growing up in Venice, CA. This was the final painting in the West of Lincoln Project, completed in early 2017. Painted by Ruth Chase.
Elaine Love Leslie
b. 1969 | Sunset Ave.
There is a real gift in darkness. That’s why the moon disappears and we have seasons. The dark is necessary in order for the regrowth. The seed lives in darkness before it emerges into its full potential.
I was five years old in 1974. That is when my single mother, in pursuit of freedom, moved us from Colorado to our new home on Sunset Ave in Venice. The house was nothing more than a shack, and it was already the home to a thousand cockroaches. “I’m going to paint the kitchen yellow,” she said, and I remember hearing her voice crack with both bravery and fear. As a child, one of my favorite things to do was watch my mother be brave.
Venice was my greatest spiritual teacher, for there was sacredness there, an unspoken law of survival. You will know danger and become intimate with fear. You will learn your strength, for it will be called on often in the ritual of being a child in the wild.
I found God in everything and everyone. I heard messages of love preached by crazy people conversing with angels in the form of sand. My home was a safe haven of lost souls. We welcomed all. My childhood was filled with nights of wine and weed, and conversations about art, spirituality, politics, liberation, music, literature, and madness. These were the sacred hymns that lulled my young bones to sleep; these were the songs of my youth.
Beautifully written by Elaine Love Leslie