SoCal Connected on KCET

Living the Dream: 'I Am Los Angeles'

Chase: Well it was always a dream I think from when I was 15 on. The idea was man, I got to get to L.A. Because Antwerp’s cobblestones – like three skate spots in the entire city. But L.A. is just one big skate spot. Like, the basic sidewalk is different than our sidewalk back home. So just to ride down a sidewalk and the flat, smooth surface in between – just to be able to do that was something that I had dreamt about. My name is Chase and I paint mostly in the street and I guess I’m some sort of a visual communicator. I grew up in Antwerp, in Belgium.

Chase: And like most of my friends, we all came from broken homes and family units that were all over the place and a lot of bad things happening. So we pretty much played on the streets. As you get older, you do other things on the streets and you create a bond with these people that you hang out with – on these basketball courts, in these spots, traveling from city to city. So it was kind of avoiding or getting away from the troubles of home to get together that was fun. It started with skateboarding and through hanging out on the street a lot. At an early age I got into tagging and all that kind of stuff. I just showed up out of pure luck, you know. And it wasn’t like I’m going to go to L.A. and I’m going to conquer this hurdle of turning amateur and turning pro. That didn’t even come up. I didn’t need that to satisfy myself. It was just being here and to skate and do the L.A. I can categorize myself as an artist or someone who paints and designs but to me it’s all visual stuff anyway that is communicated through one method or another.

The message that I want to convey is kind of like the thing that I’ve learned in my own life. In the simplest way: go for what you feel. Follow your heart and try to choose what you love to do. Because I found that life kind of opens up and feeds you the opportunities to do that and it eventually leads to some kind of happiness. And that’s kind of the thing that I want people to know.

Since 2012, KCET has been featuring the work of journalist and filmmaker Joris Debeij through Departures, the station's interactive documentary project about the social history of Los Angeles. "I Am Los Angeles" is Debeij's portrait series that showcases the unique people and their ideas that make L.A. what it is. "SoCal Connected" will continue featuring his work on air.

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European transplant and street artist Chase knew he was destined to move to Los Angeles. Back home in the Belgium city of Antwerp, there were little to no skate spots in the area, let alone flat surfaces where he could practice the art of skating.

So, Chase ditched the elaborate European cobblestones and bumpy roads in exchange for smooth skating paths on the streets of L.A.

Aside from his passion for skating, Chase sees himself as a visual communicator. His colorful street art can be seen on public murals, cars, and other blank canvases waiting for a splash of vibrant color.

"Go for what you feel," he says.

"Follow your heart and try to choose what you love to do. I found that life opens up and feeds you the opportunities."

More from "I Am Los Angeles" on KCET.org

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