Kenny Scharf’s contribution to Luna Luna was a wave swinger dedicated to the cosmic spirits of flight, graffitied with playful geometric shapes and his signature cartoon figures.
Key figure of 1980s Street Art movement.
References to popular culture occur throughout his work, including appropriated cartoon characters and found consumer objects, along with imagined characters
Describes himself as a “Pop Surrealist.”
Kenny Scharf (born 1958, Los Angeles, USA; lives and works in Los Angeles) uses painting, sculpture, installation, murals, performance, and fashion design to create hallucinatory worlds filled with cartoon characters and brightly colored, surreal, anthropomorphic blobs. Alongsidelegendary peers such as Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring, Scharf played an important rolein the burgeoning street art community in the East Village art scene in 1980s downtown NewYork.
As part of the first generation to grow up with television, Scharf is drawn to the ability of pop cultural imagery—particularly cartoon characters—to captivate viewers from all walks of life. Drawing from 1960s American cartoons such as The Jetsons and The Flintstones, Scharf’s work also features a recurring cast of original characters which are curvaceous, wide-eyed, and often zooming through the air.
His dynamic, hyper-saturated compositions interweave interests in science fiction, comic books, and animated cartoons, with the traditions of Pop Art, Abstract Expressionism, Surrealism, and Street Art. Scharf describes himself as a “Pop Surrealist” for the ways his work disregards hierarchies between “high” and “low” art, and places emphasis on the importance of combining serious artistic inquiry with play in order to emphasize the creative process and appeal to wide audiences.
Scharf is drawn to the ability of pop cultural imagery—particularly cartoon characters—to captivate viewers from all walks of life.
Influenced by growing up near Disneyland on a diet of cartoons and sitcoms, Scharf’s Luna Luna commission comprises a chain swing ride featuring panels spray painted with geometric shapes and his signature cartoon figures. Audience members were suspended from the rotating top of the carousel, above the crowd. Scharf also made six free-standing sculptures installed elsewhere in the park.