CURATOR MOTEL | Getting to know Jenny Sharaf

CURATOR MOTEL | Getting to know Jenny Sharaf

Jenny Sharaf is an artist / curator living in San Francisco with a style that is wonderfully her own. With roots in Los Angeles she lives in San Francisco and currently works in keeping the Bay Area funky + fresh with slew of different techniques. Most currently she is curator for 

You are an that a word you identify with personally?

Yes- the word ‘artist’ feels right and I definitely identity with it on every level. The word curator definitely doesn’t hold the same magic for me.

Does being an artist helped you in your work?

Being an artist leads the way of my curatorial work. I am already part of an artist community, which helps in finding talented artists to work with. Throwing events and producing shows also seems like a natural extension of my studio practice, which is far less social.

What currently inspires you?

I find inspiration in everything. You never know where it’s going to come from.

Who are you influenced by? 

My favorite painters right now are Katharina Grosse, Sarah Cain and Alicia McCarthy.

I’m influenced by watching the international fashion trends and traveling to new places (like Bangkok, Tokyo & Copenhagen).

What does the future look like?

Hard to tell, but I’m not going to claim to know the answer.  It is not looking very bright. Art can save us all?

What is the process of creating a show entail for you?

It depends on the context. Right now, I’m working on a show based on denim fashion and sixties jean culture for the Ace Hotel & Swim Club Palm Springs with Amber Jean Young. We discussed the similarities in our work, our love for vintage fabrics and worn in denim, rich with history.  When we both showed up in a jean jacket one time for a concert, it was clear. I try to keep things intuitive and fun.

Was this something you were always interested in?

Being an artist? Since forever. As a child, my grandmother was a docent at the HAMMER and art history-obsessed, so she turned me on the arts very early. It was something that always felt normal and part of my path. Curating? Curating just started happening. It keeps finding me and it is hard to say no too. Events like Parking Lot Art Fair and Art Night SF feel needed at this point, mostly for artists that want to show their work and don’t have the space or means to exhibit. Also, the city benefits from art being public and open and unexpectedly available to all.  

I like to think of myself as a non-curator-curator. One who lets the artists do whatever the fuck they want. Most of the art events I put on accept everyone, so there’s actually some post-curatorial elements at play.  

Any subcultures you are into?

I’m obsessed with countercultures and subcultures - it is a big underlining part of my studio practice. Anything beat, hippie, cult, witches, etc. I had an aunt that was in a very high profile Northern CA cult and it made a big impression on me as a kid.

How do you find artists to work with?

Through friends. Through the internet. Cosmically.

Who is your audience?
I think I’m still figuring that one out. I’d like it to be EVERYONE.


Photo credit: Jenny Sharaf / multimedia