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Jenny Sharaf | Studio Visit

San Francisco, CA

January 2016


Jenny Sharaf is a multidisciplinary artist living and working in San Francisco, CA. Her paintings, installations, videos, and happenings celebrate process, while reflecting on art history, feminism and abstraction.  Sharaf is strongly influenced by the Hollywood vernacular, in part because of her family's legacy in the film and television business and growing up in Los Angeles. The mythology of the California girl leads the way to tell a complex and fragmented narrative of art making in the 21st century.  Sharaf also has a strong curatorial practice, focusing around community engagement and promoting the arts in San Francisco.  Last year, Jenny founded The Lab's 24-Hour Telethon, raising funds to save the avant-garde art program in the Mission.  Most recently, she developed an exhibition for Creativity Explored that explores abstraction and collaboration.  She is the founder and director of Parking Lot Art Fair, San Francisco's rogue art happening and continues to produce art events in the Bay Area and beyond.

We asked Jenny some questions about her studio practice, goals, and upcoming projects.


When did you start calling yourself an artist? 

For as long as I can remember.

When do you make your best work?

Early mornings or during the day. I don't really trust the evening light.

Regarding your method of making, is it a case of the material or method dictating the idea of the other way around?

My process is very materials-driven, but my practice is definitely centered around ideas.

Is art making therapeutic for you?

Yes. I'd go completely crazy without it.

What are you most proud of? 

This last year, I completed a large scaled mural project. 
It was a big goal of mine and I think I did a good job:)

Artist whose career you covet? 

I don't covet anyone's career. The whole point is to find my own path as an artist and do what feels natural.
If we are talking about admiring careers- I'd say Kiki Smith and Jenny Holzer are at the top. I could go on and on though.

What do you see yourself doing in 5 years?

Making art and traveling for shows.

If you could travel anywhere to create for a while, where would you go?

I'd like to have a huge studio in Tokyo for few months. That would be cool.

Did you grow up around other creative people?

Yes- my parents are both creative professionals in TV/Film.
My aunt has a gallery as well. I've always been very encouraged in my decision to pursue the arts.

What are your other hobbies?

I kind of hate the word hobby. That being said, I think instagram might be...

If you could have a drink with one artist, who would it be?

John Baldessari


What influences you?

What doesn't influence me?

What’s your studio philosophy?

Play seriously and work smart.

How many hours do you try and work in the studio per week?

It depends on how many projects I have going on, but probably 30 hours a week.

Silence or sound while creating? If sound, what? 

Silence most of the time. Boring answer, but it's the truth.

Favorite art-making tools?

The way I paint now, I try to not use any tools at all. My arms and the paint bucket is all I need.


Tools or mediums you’re dying to experiment with?

I'm trying new kinds of paint all the time.
Always keeping the experiments going.

What’s next?

Working on a large installation with Charles de Lisle at FOG Art + Design opening on January 13th.

Also, I have some editions coming out in ARTBandini with Miscellaneous Press on January 29th.