Photographer Walter Chism

Today the Venice Paparazzi spotlight shines on local photographer Walter Chism.

How many years in Venice? I’ve lived my entire life in Venice – and am 4th generation. My Great-Grandma moved here in 1936 when my Grandma was 12 years old. My family has been here for 80 years.

Tell us about your art/medium? My photography is Venice – the beach, the creative souls that are drawn to this place, the local life on the Westside as I see it. It is my point of view in landscape, portrait, fire-painting and street photography. Often a mix of several of these styles. Everyday there is something new to see even in some of the most iconic areas – the light, the people, the energy – all of it – it constantly inspires me and challenges me to create, to capture the unique way of life here.

Photo courtesy of Walter Chism

How many years, and how did you get into it? I’ve been capturing images of Venice for 4 years now. I had been shooting a little bit with my iPhone and sharing with friends. Then a professional camera was handed to me and from that day forward, I have been shooting non-stop – everyday. Right about that same time I saw an installation at MOCA in downtown LA by Kendrick Lamar that captured life in his neighborhood – and I thought: I can do this. I can capture my hometown. I can capture Venice.

Describe your style. The pictures I take are part of an ongoing conversation I am having with the world I see – it is what I have to say to life, and it’s also a reflection of what life is saying back to me. It’s like, here’s a look into the conversation I am having with life. My style is always evolving. I have experimented with many styles, and yet, I always set out to capture what is personal and humane, what is spontaneous – the fleeting moments of beauty. Those personal, intimate moments of life where you experience something during your day for a brief moment that is between you and life, you and the universe. Fleeting moments. Like that one moment in a sunset or a wave or reflection. The millisecond in the eyes that expresses a thought or question in a person – The tiny fraction of a second when sparks bounce towards the lens. I guess its sort of capturing what is personal and fleeting – expressing the soul of a place or person.

Photo courtesy of Walter Chism

What would you say has had the largest impact upon your particular style? My environment, my neighborhood, my city: Venice. Being a part of a place, a place that is a part of me and my family history. Living in a place of stark contrasts between a life that is often hard on people, on a community – in contrast with the incredible natural beauty of this place. This is a place of creative people. Of artists and dreamers. It is where I am from. This place has always allowed me to see the world differently – Venice encourages people to create, to see things from new perspectives, and to reflect it back to the world creatively. And it is how I have lived my life here.

What projects are you currently working on? I am currently working on my 3rd Annual Venice Life Experience, March 17th 2019

Upcoming shows: I am getting ready for the spring Art Crawl. This will be my 3rd annual Venice Life Experience. It always sets around St Patty’s Day so I use my art and blend it with the very cheerful holiday. This year I plan on having a great show.

What accomplishments, projects, or pieces that you are most proud of? I was invited by ABC7 to shoot behind-the-scenes at the Oscars as they set up the show. I am most proud of my annual spring show that happens near St. Patricks Day each year in Venice – collaborating with Venice Art Crawl, local artists and organizations.

Where do you find inspiration from? The streets and beach of Venice.

Photo courtesy of Walter Chism

 What brings you to the arts and how has it helped your life? I have found a lot of peace taking photos of the sunsets and sunrises . That is something I never would do before I started taking photos .

Among the many artists who’ve created here in Venice, who are your favorites? @gz.jr, @never1959@theartofchase

Past art projects? Any pieces shown in Venice? Yes I have had 4 art shows so far, 3 with Venice Art Crawl and one with silicon Beach properties.


Finish off the statement “Art is…Venice Life.”

What advice would you give someone starting out in your field?Keep shooting. Shoot your shots, don’t worry about what others shoot. Shoot what makes you happy. Its your art, you choose. Learn – but don’t let anybody control your way of shooting

Favorite affirmation, mantra, or quote? It is what it is.

Favorite book, band or movie? Beyonce has to be the most Inspirational person to me right now in music. Saw her live in concert and she truly uses art to get her vision to the fans.

What causes do you support? #stopgentrifcation

What’s one thing we can do to make the world a better place? Smile

List 1-2 things on your bucket list, and 1-2 on your VENICE bucket list.   My bucket list has to be a trip to Venice, Italy. And my Venice bucket list is to start an art and music festival in Venice showcasing Local artist.


Describe Venice: Venice is the most creative place on the planet.   It’s all about being yourself and being proud. Venice has changed a lot but the love it gives has not .

Describe your perfect day in Venice:  Sunrise would start with a stroll down the boardwalk to a great colorful sunrise. Then go for a bike ride on the bike path. Grab some food from the boardwalk. Then one out of this world sunset .

Photo courtesy of Walter Chism

What Venice places would you take a visiting artist friend? The canals is such a magical place. People light up when they see them.

What is your craziest or fondest Venice experience? Two years ago I had an art show at Bank of Venice. It was like a big block party. Shout out to Venice Electric parade and Venice Glow Flow for helping get the party started.

Photo courtesy of Walter Chism

Who should Venice Paparazzi cast the spotlight on next? Gus the Artist .

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