A painter and installation artist associated with the Lowbrow movement (an underground visual art movement that arose in the Los Angeles area in the late 1970s), Kenny Scharf is best known for his works inspired by comic books and Pop culture. Born in Los Angeles in 1958, he studied at the School of Visual Arts in New York City, and became part of the East Village art scene during the 1980s. Scharf currently lives and works in Los Angeles.
A self-described "pop surrealist," Scharf employs a range of techniques, media and allusions to create hallucinatory worlds filled with floating donuts, cartoon characters and bright-coloured, often-anthropomorphic blobs. A dynamic and joyous burst of colour, form and energy radiate from his works. However, these saturated, seemingly playful shapes have sharp teeth that lurk beneath, reflecting the dual nature of our modern society. Kenny Scharf’s paintings are always reflective of the artist’s unique, self-generated, visual universe, drawing from ideas and experiences extracted from the surrounding world. He successfully conjoins fine art with popular culture feeding from the traditions of Pop Art, Abstract Expressionism, Surrealism, comic books and Street Art.
Even though his technical approaches have shifted since he started painting, he still undertakes all his projects building on past experiences. Throughout his artistic practice manifests the will to paint across the borders that tend to separate fine art and popular culture, to bond through the power of art.
Scharf’s works are exhibited widely and are part of public collections including the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; the Foundation Beyeler, Basel; the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Guggenheim Museum, New York; the Städel Museum, Frankfurt; or the Tate Modern, London.
Most recently Kenny Scharf launched an outstanding collaboration with Dior for its 2021 collection. Featuring Scharf’s intense colour palette and impish smiles, these hand-woven embroideries are instantaneously recognisable. Once again, the artist proves his ability to create and combine popular culture with high-end universe, at the crossroads of Parisian flair, American Street-Art and Chinese seed embroidery.