Kenny Scharf was born in Hollywood, California, in 1958.
He first came to artistic prominence in the early 1980s in New York, along with Keith Haring and Basquiat, being a key figure in the East Village art scene with shows at Fun gallery (1981) and Tony Shafrazi (1984). He did the album covers of The B-52's in the mid-80s. In 1995, Scharf designed a room at the Tunnel nightclub in New York.
Scharf placed his bright imagery, drawn from television and pop culture, on the streets and in nightclubs of the city, helping to nurture a dynamic and freewheeling scene. He calls his art Pop Surrealism and uses images from the animated cartoons popular during his childhood, such as The Flintstones and The Jetsons.
An artist who has worked in many traditional media, including painting, printmaking, drawing, and sculpture; he has also designed lifeguard stations, Zippo lighters, watches, cellphones, carpets and carnival carousels.
Scharf has exhibited widely, including at the Salvador Dali Museum, St. Petersburg, Bienalle de Sao Paolo, Brazil, Tony Shafrazi Gallery and Queens Museum of Art, New York, Museum of Contemporary Art, Monterrey, and the Ft. Lauderdale Museum of Art.