I'M IN MIAMI BITCH! Kenny Scharf Q&A

December 3, 2013.

Kenny signing the AK Foto Journal

     Kenny Scharf is a legend. He has been at it for over 3 decades. He came up when the game was just getting going. Back then his contemporaries were Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat. He was an inspiration for the title of this project. This guy produces a tremendous amount of art and never seems to slow down. His resume is long and distinguished. Check it out!



What do you write? Are you in a crew?

     Here we go-  I don't have a tag per se, I guess it would be a "signature style". I'm not in any crew, solo here.

In what city did you start painting in the streets? Do you feel your work has influenced the community in return? If so, how? Is there a relationship between the artist and the community in which they work?

     New York City. I'm not sure if I'm an influence but I hope so! After I completed the Houston & Bowery Wall in NY I noticed and upsurge of cartoon characters inside letters in tags. Yes, I hope so! 

 Did you go to school or are you self taught?

     I did go to the School of Visual Arts(SVA) in NYC, but I consider myself "self taught" as far as actual craft and painting technique go. 

How did you get started in the arts and why? 

     Back in the late 70’s and early 80s the art world and gallery system offered no interest in my work and I also felt a disconnect between what I was excited about and what was being shown. The only outlets to exhibiting and getting it out there were the nightclubs and the street. These were also exiting venues that enabled me and my friends the opportunity to be seen and to connect with the public at large. The energy in the streets and nightclubs was much more exiting and relevant to us than what was going on in the galleries and museums at that time. 

How long have you been working in the streets?

     Since 1978.

Who or What inspires you the most?


What should the general public know about street art? What stereotype about street art/graffiti do you hate the most? 

     That it inspires and connects with the public and that it offers an alternative to the usually boring urban environment. That street art/graffiti is connected to gangs and crime.

Are you a full time artist? Do you have a day job? Is it best to be full time artist or not worry about it and make your $$$ elsewhere, that way you can paint what and how you want, which one offers a more creative outlook?

     I am a full time artist but not street artist. I make paintings and sculptures as well which is how I make a living. Everyone has a different story, I am grateful that my studio practice and street presence compliment each other. 

What are you working on now?

     I just completed a large mural in LA and am about to start another one. I'm also painting friends and strangers cars aka Karbombz! 

What do you hope to achieve or accomplish by putting your work in the street?

     I hope to brighten up a boring world of concrete grayness. I also love to do it, it is an ultimate form of self-expression, communication and hopefully inspiration.


Check out Kenny's work: http://www.kennyscharf.com