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MUNTHE ART MONDAY: JENNY SHARAF

Please introduce yourself and tell us about what you do.

My name is Jenny Sharaf, and I am an artist. I produce projects internationally, but am mostly based in San Francisco, California. The core of my practice is painting, although my work extends into ceramics, murals, Installations, social practice, fashion collaborations, and design.

Jenny is wearing our ECUBE PANTS

Could you explain more about how being a woman has affected your career?

Because I am working with abstraction, being a woman is always a matter of investigation and subject matter. Sometimes I make paintings that feel distinctly feminine, or at least have a female energy to them.

Beyond the actual work that I produce, being a woman does add additional difficulties for a career fighting to be seen seriously by the gaze of a patriarchal art industry. I have noticed this to be especially true for abstract painters. On this matter I try to transcend my gender and embody as much bravado as I can.

Can you name some other female (artist) that inspires you and explain why they do so?

Katarina Gross, Mary Weatherford, Ruby Neri; These are three contemporary artists that immediately come to mind. I find them to be brilliant and bold artists who also happen to be women, rather than the other way around. To me this distinction is particularly inspiring.

What has been the most challenging aspect of being a female artist?

Being an artist is an extremely challenging and competitive career path in general. The chances of breaking through as an artist have a lower probability then an actress, Tik Tok star, etc. Apart from any actual talent it takes a lot of confidence, self-determination, and work ethic. Moreover, even if you have what it takes you still need to be noticed and endorsed by the right people at the right time.

 Being a woman in a male dominated sphere can exacerbate the challenges wrought by competitiveness, confidence, and needing to be accepted by gatekeepers. Furthermore, women in that position tend to incur more scrutiny when outspoken.

What would you like people to notice in your artwork?

My work integrates a great deal of references that very very few people ever pick up on. I often use color or movement or pattern but aim to make marks from a subconscious and intuitive place. I am also a lifelong art history nerd, so it is in those tiny reference details that make me feel connected to the canon of abstract painting.

 What I would like people to notice is that my work embodies a certain unapologetic freedom. A kind of “I don’t give a fuck what others think” frequency. I strive to always be unedited, active, and immediate in my expression. While I may embark on a painting with an idea in mind, flexing the muscles of instinct and intuition taps into the sublimity of flow state. It is a practice that grows stronger and more abundant the more you use it. I always hope for a viewer to feel some connection to that practice through my work.

Jenny is wearing our ECUBE PANTS