Today the Venice Paparazzi spotlight shines on local photographer Chris Hooten.
How many years in Venice?
I have been around the Venice and Ocean Park area since the mid-90’s, but I really only started spending time shooting photography in Venice 5 or 6 years ago.
Tell us about your art/medium?
I am a digital photographer and I shoot with a Nikon D810. I also have been working in animation industry for the last 20 years. I mainly work as a color artist on kid’s action cartoons for television. I am currently working on the Avenger’s animated series for Marvel Animation Studios.
How many years, and how did you get into it?
I have been doing photography for the past 5 or 6 years. With an emphasis on skateboarding, punk rock and some surfing.
What projects are you currently working on?
I have just been given the opportunity to shoot skate photos at the Van’s Girls Combi Pool Classic. It’s a $65,000 prize purse for the females, which now matches that of the Men’s. Congrats to all the awesome female skaters and to Van’s. Also, last week when I was in Hawaii I was able to take photos with surfboard shaper Marcello Vercelli. He was shaping a surfboard for our local skate legend Dennis Martinez. It is a beautiful board. I also was able to shoot skate photos in Hawaii with OG Darren Ho.
There are a few contests coming up this April at the Venice Skatepark that I am super stoked about. Also Lab Rats contest at Skatelab.
Where do you find inspiration/favorite artists?
My number one inspiration for my skate photography comes from the skaters for sure from all their stoke and appreciation. I also get inspiration from my fellow photographers and the beautiful Venice skatepark that is maintained by the selfless Jesse Martinez and his crew of helpers. And lastly from the breathtaking backdrop of the Pacific Ocean and Malibu hills. As well, I was a child of the 1970’s and 1980’s, and grew up loving the photography of C.R. Stecyk III and Glen E. Friedman.
What accomplishments, projects, or pieces that you are most proud of?
Of my professional animation work I would have to say being the color artist on the Teen Titans animated series. For my favorite skate photo, I would have to say a black and white photo I took of Jay Adams in Venice at the 2014 Jay Boy Classic – Z-Flex. It was about 4 months before he passed away. He shows so much intensity in his face.
Past art projects? Any pieces shown in Venice?
I am hoping to show at next year’s Venice Art Walk, but nothing showing at the moment.
What advice would you give someone starting out in your field?
My advise would me just have fun, push yourself, and do not think about the pressure of a finished piece. Everything is a study.
Favorite affirmation, mantra, or quote
If you fail, stand up, dust yourself off, and try again.
Favorite book, band or movie?
I great up in northern Virginia in the 70’s and 80’s, so favorite bands, I would have to say Minor threat, Bad Brains, Black Flag.
What causes do you support?
Maybe this is a little selfish, but my interest at this time is supporting my wife and my young child.
What’s one thing we can do to make the world a better place?
Follow the Golden Rule and try to protect our environment.
List 1-2 things on your bucket list, and 1-2 on your VENICE bucket list
- My Bucket list: Go to Okinawa
- My Venice bucket list: Maybe exhibit in the Venice Art Walk.
A beautiful place full of energy and diversity, but I do fear losing it to the influx of money and gentrification .
Describe your perfect day in Venice:
I would take some photos at the Venice skatepark, watch the sun go down listening to the beat of the drum circle, grab a plate of fish and chips, and then go home.
What Venice places would you take a visiting artist friend?
I would probably take them to the Venice drum circle then to the canals.
List any of your favorite Venice businesses, event(s) or activities?
Venice Originals…oops gone, Abbot’s Habit…oops gone, Okay, Venice skatepark and Abbot Kinney Blvd.
What is your craziest or fondest Venice experience?
My fondest Venice Experience has to be years ago I went to a party at an apartment on the boardwalk (If I can call it that). I went to a Brazilian party that started at mid-night with my female friend from France. It was a full moon that night. There was a shoulder high swell coming, someone lent me a surfboard, and we surfed from 3:30 am through to Dawn Patrol. I could barely see the sets coming in, just the twinkling lights on the Malibu hills.It was magical.
Who should Venice Paparazzi cast the spotlight on next?
Definitely Jesse Martinez for all his hard work at the Skatepark. Maybe Heidi Lemmon for organizing all the skate events for the kids or Terri Craft and/or Dan Levi at Juice Magazine.
FAN AND FOLLOW CHRIS HOOTEN!
View Venice events covered by Chris Hooten!