“Stronger Than You Realize”

acrylic on canvas, 48 x 48″, 2015, inquire about price, by Ruth Chase

Stronger Than You Realize by Ruth Chase

Ruth Chase
b. 1965  |  Ocean Front Walk

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. In June of 2017, I started BELONGING, a California Arts Council funded project based in Nevada County, CA.

Bio by Ruth, edited by Gena Lasko