On Wednesday, June 29thSummer Arts went to Kenny Scharf’s studio for an exclusive visit with the artist. Kenny Scharf, a painter and sculptor who rose to prominence in the 1980s East Village Art scene, has had artwork featured in exhibits all over the world. He recently painted a large mural on Houston and Bowery in Lower Manhattan, and his work was selected for the Museum of Contemporary Art’s new “Art in the Streets” exhibit in Los Angeles.
Scharf has transformed the basement of his Williamsburg building into what he calls “the cosmic cavern” with black lights and found objects painted with neon colors. Scharf explained to the students that most of the objects in his studio are pieces of trash that he finds on the street. He also talked to Summer Arts students about how he first became interested in art as a child and how his interests have led him to have a long and diverse career, with work ranging from paintings and installations to customizing cars and appliances.
The students had the opportunity to ask him a lot of questions about his work, inspirations, and life as an artist. Scharf told the students that he is often inspired by cartoons and pop culture, and that his goal is to make the world less boring and more colorful. The students also had a chance to sketch what they saw in his studio and walk around and explore the space. “This was a once in a lifetime experience for the Summer Arts students,” explained Rachel Webber, the Director of Summer Arts. “Exposing students to a wide range of art and real life artists in such an important part of the Summer Arts experience. We are incredibly fortunate to be able to do studio visits like this.”