Today the Venice Paparazzi spotlight shines on local legend Pep Williams!

How many years in Venice?

I came to Venice in 1984. I’ve lived in Santa Monica, Marina Del Rey, and Beverly Hills, but I always keep a place in Venice.

Give us a brief bio of yourself:

A fine art photographer, 3rd Generation DogTown Skateboarder, video director, entrepreneur, philanthropist, and all around cool guy.

Tell us about your art. Describe your style, and what influences it?

When it comes to my photography there is always a story or something that evokes emotion and feeling and makes you really want to know more about the subject matter. I use my work to educate.

How many years, and how did you get into it?

I began working as a professional photographer in 1996. When a photographer who had been scheduled to document a fashion show that he was doing as a model was booked on another job and couldn’t attend. As the designer was desperately searching for a replacement, it was revealed that the job paid $6,000. Seizing the opportunity, I immediately declared to the designer, “I’m also a photographer” and was hired on the spot, even with the absence of an actual photographer’s portfolio. They were surprised they had never heard of me as a photographer or have seen my work before. So I just basically talked my way into a situation I couldn’t talk myself out of. I made it through that first job with the help of a skilled photographic assistant I hired to handle the technicalities, something I had observed notable photographers do innumerable times. Assistants do most of the work anyway. More jobs followed, but as I came into my own as a photographer I found myself rapidly tiring of the fashion world and began to focus on fine art portraiture, mostly of his friends; skaters, musicians, artists, drug dealers and gang members.

Check out some of Pep Williams’ work!

Jay Adams shot in 2010 on the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii.  Photo: Pep Williams

The Gypsy Rose and Compton David. Photo: Pep Williams

Album cover for Offset’s “Father Of 4′ debut album. Photo: Pep Williams.

“Keeping Dry At The Train Station” Photo: Pep Williams

Sautter Cigars Pep Williams Collaboration shot in Havana, Cuba. Photo: Pep Williams.

Workers on the Vegas Robaina Tobacco Plantation – Pinar Del Rio, Cuba. Photo: Pep Williams.

“Life’s Walk” London, UK. Photo: Pep Williams

Biggest accomplishment or favorite art show?

I think the biggest so far is my exhibit “Behind Bars”at The Autry Museum in Los Angeles. It’s actually a permanent exhibit so it will be there generations. Im the only photographer allowed to shoot inside the California prisons and I shot an amazing series inside the prison. View video below, and some images here!

What projects are you currently working on?

So many!  From shooting the DA (District Attorney), a series in Norway that I am shooting, going back to Cuba to shoot, and on and on. 

“I’m also working with the Venice Heritage Museum with Kristina Von Hoffman and Takara Tomeoni Adair. It’s been a cool journey seeing it all come together and honored to be involved in the process. Also working on the new Suicidal Tendencies documentary. It’s gonna be really really cool.”
How are you surviving Covid-19 and the lockdowns? What moves or pivots have you made?

It was definitely a change in how I work. I’m use to touring nonstop so being home actually felt weird. I traveled some, but mainly focused on my prints and my collectors. I actually decided to release a print I held on to over 10 years. It’s a collaboration I did with RISK. I asked him to paint on an image of Jay Adams. It hit the market at $1.4 million. Ive gotten many offers for it so we will see what the future holds. View video below!  Click here for more info!


Venice Questions

Describe Venice!

People talk about how the USA is a melting pot.  No, Venice is a true melting pot.

What do you do for fun in Venice during Covid times?

Skate the boardwalk.

What is your craziest or fondest Venice experience?

Mid 80’s to early 90’s. All of it!

View photos of Pep Williams in action!

Wall Riding on the handball courts in Venice. Photo: Jason Rogers

Thrasher cover May 1991. Skating the Basketball courts in Venice. Photo : Cesario “Block” Montano. 1990

Ollie over Trash Can In Venice 1989. Photo: Bagel

Drop Knee G-Turn. Photo: Cody “Peyote Cody” Cassiero 1988

A few personal questions!

Define success:

Leaving people with a smile and a good feeling inside.

What is the best advice you have received?

“Just handle your business.”  It pretty much covers everything.

Finish off the statement “Art is.

Art is us!”

Favorite affirmation, mantra, or quote:


Favorite book:

The Art Of War

Anything else that you want to share with our readers? Announcements, upcoming events, etc.

Just stay safe and cool.

How can one find and follow you?

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