Guest Artist: Jenny Sharaf
San Francisco artist Jenny Sharaf’s work spreads across many mediums – murals, digital, installations, video – but one of them is her hands-down favourite. “Paint all the way,” she says. Her bright and bold works are fluid pools of colour cascading across each other to hypnotising effect. We chat California Girls, how to get through creative blocks and her favourite project.
What’s your most vivid memory from growing up in LA?
I grew up in the Pacific Palisades which is a beautiful idyllic small town inside of Los Angeles with a little downtown area like a movie out of the 1950s. Seeing Angelyne pull up in her pink Corvette next to my dance studio on an almost daily basis has always stuck in my memory.
Where do you live now?
I live in San Francisco. I love the proximity of Golden Gate Park to my house and the weather.
What is the biggest myth about the ‘California Girl’?
That she’s a bimbo, but in reality she’s just playing one on TV.
When did you know you wanted to be an artist?
Since I was very little. My favourite of my parents’ friends were always artists and creatives. They’d always take us to their studios, so I knew that being an artist was a real career option. In college I fully committed to my dream and have been working very hard since then to make it a full-time job.
Your parents worked in film, which part of Hollywood has influenced your art the most?
The power of editing. What you see is never real.
Where do you do your best thinking?
In water. A shower, a pool or jacuzzi. I’m not discerning as to which form it comes in.
How do you cut through creative blocks?
Working through the work is the only way. I don’t believe in creative blocks.
What’s the best part of being an artist?
There’s so many great parts. Being able to design my own schedule, getting to work with interesting people in all different industries, getting to travel for projects and shows… The experience
of being an artist is a true gift.
And the most challenging?
You have to be vulnerable all the time. Because of that, people can step all over you if you’re not careful.
What has been your favourite project to work on?
So far, the wall at the Ace Hotel & Swim Club in Palm Springs. I painted several of their walls, and one large one in particular. I love watching people interact with the wall and seeing it act as a real place-maker; my wall plus social media adds this layered effect to the work. I’ve always loved the colours and feelings of Palm Springs, so it was a lot of fun to play with those palettes within the installation.
What do you listen to when you’re working?
I like a silent studio. Not very cool-kid of me.
What’s your drink?
Depends on the time of day. Black iced coffee, green juice, Japanese whiskey on the rocks…
What’s your kryptonite?
Crossing paths with a mouse in the streets. Dead or alive, that will make me weak at the knees any day.
Which artists are you obsessed with?
Katharina Grosse is always on my mind. Joan Brown is another obsession.
What brings a smile to your face?
My dog, Lola, who is a very sweet 80-pound blue nose pitbull.
What was the last thing that pushed you into uncomfortable territory?
I just lost my art studio – SF needed more condos – so I am pushing my work to be nomadic for the next few months. I’m focusing on projects that can be site-specific and include temporary studios.
What’s on your to-do list for 2016?
Big projects in Berlin and Tokyo; vacations to Morocco and Iceland.