Supporting the cruising culture: Pep Williams returns to Malibu with ‘On a Sunday Afternoon’ 

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Malibu Arts Commission Chair Fireball Tim Lawrence and featured photographer Pep Williams are shown during the May 19 reception for Williams' latest exhibit "On a Sunday Afternoon" at Malibu City Hall. Photo by Samantha Bravo/TMT

Photographer will be at SMC-Malibu campus on June 4 for ‘Art Talks,’ a Q-and-A session about his artwork

The Malibu Arts Commission showcased fine art photographer, video director, and third-generation Dogtown skateboarder from South Central Los Angeles Pep Williams’ photography series “On a Sunday Afternoon,” featuring stunning photos of the lowrider culture in Los Angeles. 

On Sunday, May 19, friends of Williams cruised down to the Malibu City Gallery in classic Cadillacs to support Williams for the reception showcasing his work. 

Malibu Art Commission Chair Fireball Tim Lawrence welcomed the guests and introduced Williams.

Williams’ images include the world’s most famous lowrider, Gypsy Rose, a 1964 Chevrolet Impala, as well as other well-known lowriders.

Lawrence is a well-known car enthusiast and said these specific kinds of cars are connected with family.

“My family is constantly expanding, I get to meet new people, they get to share their stories, and I get to hear where these cars came from, who the original owners were — it’s basically an art show. This is an art show and cars may show up,” Lawrence said. “I think it’s important for people to understand that there are very strong distinguishing factors with car people and those that love cars in the way that we do. It’s not about driving, it’s about stories and it’s about family and that’s what we’re trying to expand on.”

Last year, owners of low riders faced discrimination at public beaches and were denied entry at Rosie’s Dog Beach in Long Beach and White Point/Royal Palms County Beach in San Pedro. Classic car enthusiasts argue that they are not part of any organized club and should not be subjected to such restrictions.

Williams said he has always been around classic cars and wanted to support the cruise culture.

“I don’t think it’s fair,” Williams said. “I just wanted to do something to bring awareness.” 

Malibu Arts Commissioner Julia Holland described the classic cars as “pieces of rolling art.” 

“This is a culture we’re not used to seeing, it’s so diverse,” Holland said. “Our experience with cars in Malibu are crazy racing and inconsiderate, but when you look at these beautiful cars, these car owners spend so much love on their cars.” 

Last year, Williams had a series called “Behind Bars,” at Malibu City Hall, which featured photographs of inmates at California prisons. In his photographs, Williams portrays these men’s lives with dignity and humanity, even in a harsh setting and in the shadow of difficult pasts, and discovered a functioning social world and individual wisdom from men he met in prison. The series is currently on display at The Autry Museum in Los Angeles.

“It’s really wonderful to have his beautiful art, it’s just something we don’t normally see in Malibu,” Holland said.

Williams has traveled around the world photographing spreads for numerous magazines. He has also been featured in magazines in countries such as Brazil, Germany, Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, Japan, and the United States. 

Williams will be at SMC-Malibu campus on Tuesday, June 4, at 6 p.m. for “Art Talks,” a question-and-answer session. The artist will discuss his work, creative process, and art experience. The event is complimentary, and reservations are not required.

To learn more about Williams’ work visit pepwilliams.com.