Through the Eyes of Julian Opie and Kenny Scharf

Only through art can we emerge from ourselves and know what another person sees.
– Marcel Proust

Every piece of art lets us see through the eyes of the artist. Why the artist chooses specific subjects, colors, materials and perspectives is sometimes a mystery, even to the artist.


Julian Opie, whose works are simple, straightforward and instantly recognizable, hinted, in an interview with The Telegraph, that he might like to do things differently. “I’m always trying to somehow get away from the smell of myself, and the look of what I do.” he said, “I’d love to look more like Clint Eastwood, and I’d love to have long black hair that I could flick out of my eyes, but I don’t, and I never will. And likewise, I notice that every time I undertake a project, it always ends up looking like my work.”


Opie works out of his four-story, 19th century building in east London. He has a staff of assistants, including tech support, to help with the animation of his LED sculptures.


This year he has had solo exhibits in Austria, China and Japan and Public Projects in Italy, France and China. His works are in major museums and galleries around the world. At 64, Opie says that he is still perfecting his style. “I’m not a scientist. I’m an artist.” he said, “So I don’t have to follow rules but I do follow the logic that the world seems to throw at me. And if it leads me into pastures that are dodgy, or unresolved or unclear, for the time being, then I don’t see that as a shut door.”


While Julian Opie was studying art at Goldmith’s College in London, Kenny Scharf was earning his BFA at the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan. In the 1980s, the Young British Artists were shaking things up in London, and young American artists like Kenny ScharfKeith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat were shaking things up in Manhattan.


Although their cultures and histories are different, both Opie and Scharf have become esteemed artists, with loving families and generously donate their time, works and money to their communities.


While Opie was influenced by the Tintin comics, Scharf was inspired by the Flintstones and Jetsons. His recent works reflect his concerns about the environment and the future that his grandchildren will inherit. Unlike Opie, who uses technology for many of his sculptures, Scharf sticks to basic paints and even uses old, discarded tv screens as his canvas.


Please contact us if you would like more information about the works of Julian Opie and Kenny Scharf available at VFA.


Chris Harvey. Julian Opie on cancel culture: ‘It’s tedious if everything gets read through the filter of the day’. The Telegraph. June 12, 2021.
Jason Rosenfeld. Kenny Scharf with Jason Rosenfeld. Brooklyn Rail. June 2022.
Kenny Scharf Talks to Trees. Interview /Art. April 22, 2022.
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