Kenny Scharf on Tony Goldman: "Everyone Is Thinking About Him"

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Kenny Scharf
Here we thought we knew everything there was to know about painter Kenny Scharf, and then he surprises us. He may not be a Miami native, but Scharf lived in the city during the '90s, which during the time his pieces were exhibited at the Museum of Art Fort Lauderdale, Bass Museum of Art, and Miami Art Museum, along with a smattering of gallery shows.

However, these day Scharf is still coming back to the Magic City, in large part thanks to Wynwood Walls, where he just completed his third mural for the late Tony Goldman's outdoor gallery.

See also:
- Wynwood Walls to Pay Tribute to Tony Goldman During Art Basel
- Shepard Fairey: New Tony Goldman Mural is About "Celebration and Inspiration"


But in addition to the a mural, Scharf also has a new partnership with cosmetics brand Kiehl's to promote. Like Jeff Koons and KAWS before him, Scharf helped Kiehl's design the packing for its fourth annual limited edition Creme de Corps Holiday Collection (available in stores or at kiehls.com), with all the proceeds benefiting RxArt.

We talked to Scharf last week on his last full day in Miami about his latest mural, his Kiehl's partnership, and the late Tony Goldman.

New Times: Are you in Miami right now?
Kenny Scharf: I'm in Miami. My shirt says "I'm in Miami, bitch."

Guess that's to remind you where you are.
Yeah. [Laughs]

Other than the stuff at Wynwood Walls, was there anything else you did?
Yes, I did the large mural in Wynwood, and I did this little wall by the pool at the Park Central Hotel on Ocean Drive, and I did something at somebody's house, and I have things at the fairs. That's it for me as far as I know.

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Courtesy of Kiehl's
Kenny Scharf for Kiehl's
How did you and Kiehl's come to work together?
Well, pretty simply, they asked me.

Was there an inspiration behind the design for Kiehl's or did you just stick to what you know?
We based all the design from this one painting. They did a good job and made it very easy for me. The graphics department took this one painting and applied it to different things. They sent me stuff and asked me how it looked and I said, "Great!" They made my job very easy.

So why should people buy the Kenny Scharf-branded products?
I'm not a really good salesman, but I think the product sell themselves. I hope the packaging makes it more enticing. Also all the money goes to charity. So that's a good combination of reasons to buy it.

Going back to Wynwood Walls, the biggest news this year was perhaps the passing of Tony Goldman. Did you think much about it?
Yes, of course. Tony was a huge, wonderful spirit. He really was part of this new process going on at Wynwood Walls. For the past couple of weeks, you know, everyone is thinking about him and what great guy he was and how much we miss him. I know I feel like I'm making the mural for him, and I know a lot of the other artists feel the same way.


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Wynwood Walls

2550 NW 2nd Ave., Miami, FL

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