Private collection, Sint-Lievens-Houtem
Kenny Scharf was born in Los Angeles, CA in 1958. After obtaining his degree at the School of Visual Arts in New York, he settled in Brooklyn in 1980. Kenny Scharf was part of the East Village art scene and did shows at Fun Gallery. Fun Gallery played a very important role in New York during the 1980's. It was held by the actress Patti Astor who played in Wild Style. Kenny Scharf gave the name to the gallery. He was befriended and former roommates with Keith Haring, and appears in the documentary The Universe of Keith Haring. Kenny Scharf entered the Shafrazi Art gallery in New York in 1988.
Kenny Scharf is a LA party boy and a true child of the television age, deeply marked by the animated comedies of Hanna Barbera (The Jetsons and The Flinstones) and the universe of Walt Disney (Fantasia). 'Fun' is Scharf's byword, but he shares the Fun Art arena with an increasing number of artists, including Keith Haring, Ronnie Cutrone, Dan Friedman, Rodney Alan Greenblat and Rhonda Zwillinger, who have habituated art and general audiences alike to te notion that art can be fun. His studio, with a huge two-headed icon of good and evil looming from the ceiling, can't help but remind you of a fun house. 'I never preplan my work', Scharf says, nonchalantly, as he sits in his plastic amoeba mold chair and listen to vintage T-Rex blare from his customized blast box.
Kenny Scharf calls his work Pop-Surrealism : « Surrealism is about the unconscious, and I feel my work is about the unconscious. The images come from the unconscious except that my unconscious is filled with pop imagery. My unconscious is pop, so therefore the art would be Pop-Surealism. »
A universe of fantasy, happiness, spirituality, sensuality and hope for the future, says Hedwig Van Impe who also spoke about the environmental engagement of Kenny Scharf. “He was very engaged in the protection of the Amazon rainforest. One day, thanks to a friend of his who is a doctor, he painted trees for a tribe in the Amazon rainforest. It has always been his thing. You can see it in some of his paintings.” According to Van Impe, “Kenny Scharf can be compared to Murakami and Yoshimoto Nara, their works are very similar. Kenny Scharf was the first.”