Contemporary Art

Meet the Artists x Kenny Scharf’s Funtastic Times

May 18th, 2011 by Lenny Correa

Made at the Levi’s Film Workshop and in conjunction with the now infamous Art in the Streets exhibit at the Los Angeles MOCA, this short film let’s you joyride the neon colored backseat of Kenny Scharf‘s notorious life. Take the short three minute trip that introduces you to his current social and street related work, then read on as Kenny and I talk about his upcoming projects, how the video came about and find out about the next Cosmic Cavern party in Brooklyn. To top this off we have some exclusive photos from the production of the video and more coverage to come from this series of artists + filmmakers collaborations. So take the jump:

scharf nathan malia 3 Meet the Artists x Kenny Scharfs Funtastic Times

“Art is for everyone and not just certain few people” we hear Kenny say as the video cuts back to winter in New York City and we see the Houston & Bowery mural going up, a sentiment he has maintained since way back in the early 80′s when he started spray painting streets along with the likes of Jean-Michel Basquiat and former roommate Keith Haring. Name dropping these giants should only help you gather a sense of how long and prosperous his career has been, in fact what I specially love about the added context is that you start to understand that Kenny has always done Kenny: more, newer, better, nower and most of all always funner.

scharf nathan malia 01 Meet the Artists x Kenny Scharfs Funtastic Times

The video itself is a collaboration between Kenny Scharf and filmmakers Nathan Meier and Malia Scharf, Kenny’s daughter. The concept was a communal idea and let’s you get a feel for Scharf’s working method; a mix between a throw-up and a doodle but with none of graff’s hierarchical rules or hang-ups. It is also a good example of what the upcoming documentary about Kenny’s life being produced by the filmmakers will look like, or as Kenny puts it:

“This is not really supposed to be a teaser for the film, it is supposed to be something that exists onto itself… although there is some footage that will be included. You know there’s been various documentaries going on about me for the past 15 years and they all flair up and then we get all this footage and then just die… some of the footage goes far back but most of it goes back to the last 3, 4 years.”

Said documentary is now on it’s last hours of fund raising via their Kickstarter page, with overly positive support and backing. Definitely keep an eye out for when this must-watch drops.

scharf nathan malia 2 Meet the Artists x Kenny Scharfs Funtastic Times

After the well received Houston & Bowery mural plus Art in the Streets there has been a high demand for more of Kenny’s public work. Upcoming projects include:

“…a mural in Jersey City, a project called The Gates all over Manhattan then another mural I am doing in Philadelphia and then another mural I’m doing in this children’s hospital in Queens… so besides, you know, making paintings and shows and things like that I am doing murals. I have been doing murals for 30 years now but as far as the pace and intensity of how it’s going, it’s definitely more than ever in my life. I guess I was more active in it when I was much younger and then my spray painting world slowed down for a while, a good 15 years at least and then resumed again. I painted the walls of the Pasadena Museum of California Art in 2004 and it’s still there if anyone wants to go see it… that was a big spray paint project and that put it back in my mind to continue… and now it’s taken off.”

scharf nathan malia 4 Meet the Artists x Kenny Scharfs Funtastic Times

Along with the obvious social nature of a public mural, Kenny has been interested and involved in interactive social actions, otherwise known as parties, going back to his early life as an artist in New York. These gatherings and performances are extensions of his object appropriations and work as a “customizer”. They involve a plethora of neon painted found objects and black lights all piled up and inhabiting his warehouse basement in Brooklyn, creating a social space true to it’s Cosmic Cavern moniker in the entire sense of the word.

“We are planning on doing the next one on June 25th, it will be more than a year since the last one so it will be the return of.”

D.I.Y. and fun-for-fun’s-sake, parties like these have defined and influenced the culture of the city to this day; much like anything else Kenny Scharf has been involved with in his life. Keep up with him online and check back with us for more interviews with the Meet the Artists collaborators in the following weeks.

Levi’s Film Workshop
The Fun’s Inside: A Film Portrait of Kenny Scharf

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, May 18th, 2011 at 3:22 pm and is filed under Art, Mural, News, Performance Art, Public Space, Video.
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