Meet the People of Venice Beach


May 27, 2023




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(LOS ANGELES) — Venice Beach is home to skateboarders, artists, musicians, and performers. It’s a place one can go to show off their skills and make money doing what they love. During my seven visits to Venice Beach over the course of two months, I found particular interest in skateboarders, artists, and musicians. I spent time talking with them, trying my best to learn about why they do what they do. Their stories are different, but all seem to connect to one shared theme: passion. 

A musician I spoke to was Lionel Jean-Baptiste, better known as “Ice Cream Songs.” When I asked him how he got into music he said, “My dad and I were watching Soul Train, and he asked me if I wanted to do anything musical-related, and I pointed to the bass.” He is also a huge fan of Bob Marley. “I try to sing the hits out here, but the main music I like singing is Bob Marley because he addressed real social issues like racism,”  he said. 

I also talked to Frank Gentile, a pop-up artist on the Venice Beach boardwalk who’s been making art since 2005. After a long pause, he told me, “I like taking a blank surface and making something valuable. There’s something so special about starting with a blank canvas and making it your own.” He’s a quiet person and informed me that no one has ever asked to take his picture before. He said he usually posts pictures of his art, but never him making his art. 

I also spent time watching the skateboarders, recognizing their familiar faces over multiple visits. No matter what day of the week it is, Venice Beach will always be a constant for these individuals. A home away from home to practice doing what they love most. 

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