Close Encounters of the Kenny Scharf Kind
Kenny Scharf is a dynamic artist who emerged in the 1980s as a prominent figure in the vibrant East Village art scene. With his bold use of colors and imaginative style, Scharf quickly gained recognition for his captivating street and contemporary art. His playful creations, featuring iconic characters and whimsical motifs, have transcended walls and canvases.
Over the last decade I’ve had the good fortune to see his work in the wild. Hope you enjoy these snaps!
Krinos Foods – Bronx, New York
In 2016, I made a pitstop while on my way out to Pennsylvania. It was to get a closer look at a sight which I’d spied from the highway many times. The place? Krinos Food supermarket in the Bronx. It’s Third Ave wall is adorned with a block-long mural by artist Kenny Scharf.
Read more about my stop at Krino Foods.
The Manes Center at Nassau County Museum of Art – Rosyln, New York
In June of ’23, while I was out bumming around I stopped by the Nassau Museum of Art. On the entrance road, you will pass the Manes Art & Education Center. In 2017 the front facade of the building received an eye-catching paint job by Scharf.
Nassau County Museum of Art: Kenny Scharf
Back in 2016, I’d visited the Nassau County Museum of Art to see the exhibition, Kenny Scharf.
March 19 – July 10, 2016
Nassau County Museum of Art’s exhibition, Kenny Scharf, celebrates Scharf’s artistic legacy. Emerging with the New York City graffiti and street art movement of the 1980s, Kenny Scharf is renowned for his vibrantly colorful large-scale paintings and exuberant installations drawing inspiration from pop icons, media advertising and consumer culture of the 1960s, including TV cartoon characters such as the Flintstones and the Jetsons. Curated by Director Dr. Karl E. Willers and the Museum’s staff, Kenny Scharf showcases major paintings and sculptures from throughout the artist’s career. Highlights of this exhibition are the expansive and immersive Pop Renaissance mural, a version of the artist’s Cosmic Cavern, as well as a recreation of the artist’s former Brooklyn studio complete with spattered walls, painted furniture and other workspace ephemera.nassaumuseum.org
I loved the cosmic donuts with diamond dust 🙂
Kenny Scharf at Bombay Beach
As previously posted when I talked about unexpectedly seeing Randy Polumbo’s Lodestar in 2020, I had no idea what I would find when I entered the enclave of Bombay Beach.
As I slowly rode through the blowing sand one of the first things that drew my attention was a giant star on the beach. It made itself known through a break in the high sand berm that edges 5th street.
As I pointed my wheels through the opening, I immediately saw some unmistakable markings on a cement barrier. At the time, I had no awareness of the Bombay Beach Biennale, so for me seeing these figures was a complete surprise. What the heck was he doing out here? I thought to myself. I felt graced by that mercurial beast serendipity again.
If you look at Bombay Beach on Google Maps, there are a mixture of streetviews spanning from 2008 to 2020. As you scan through the streets you can catch a few glimpses here and there of Kenny Scharf’s images painted on buildings and objects. My photos are from January 2020, so I have no idea what remains today.
Karbombz! – Saab Wagon
In another serendipitous encounter during 2014, while riding along on Old Stone Highway in Springs, NY here on Long Island, I saw a Saab wagon painted with one of Scharf’s Karbombz.
Karbombz! are like tattoos for your car.KennyScharf.com
What are the chances of seeing a Saab wagon in this relative day and age, let alone one with a fab paint job? I don’t know. But… I saw one. Looking on his site, it was Karbombz! #44 out of 266.
Maybe there really is something to this whole idea of keeping your antenna up and good things will find you?
Kenny Scharf: When Worlds Collide
If you’re interested in learning more about the man, his work, and process, there is a 2020 documentary which you can watch for free on Tubi called Kenny Scharf: When Worlds Collide.