Formerly an assistant to Andy Warhol, it's no wonder that Steve Kaufman is himself unconventional and flamboyant in his approach to art.
Galleria Brisson hosts a first Canadian exhibition for Kaufman, with the fun starting at 7 p.m., tomorrow at l'Ecomusee, 2050 Amherst. Kaufman promises to give an unusual on-the-spot painting performance using four girls that he selected. The gas tank from his painted motorcycle that is familiar to fans who have been to the L. A. Dodger's ballpark, will be an added attraction.
The artist, who was born in 1960’s, had a solo show when he was only eight years old. Sponsored by a Jewish Holocaust Museum of Art in Brooklyn.
Kaufman was fortunate to meet Warhol, while working at The Factory. Kaufman developed his own style, refining Warhol's silk-screening process, allowing for greater fluidity and definition in expression.
"I try to catch the spirit of the individual I've depicted. On the Beethoven images I played his music and strived to essentially become Beethoven." His limited edition of Beethoven lithographs sold out in two and half months. His icons of History series, that flaunts Shakespeare, Einstein and Napoleon, are most absorbing.
Unlike Warhol's impersonal personal, Kaufman reaches out to others. He has donated more than two million dollars of art the draw awareness to AIDS and racial harmony. At his east LA studio, almost all of his employees are former gang kids that he takes a personal interest in helping.
After a recent cardiac episode, Kaufman revealed, "I have found that I have a new freedom. I passionately go into my studio every day and ask myself what would I like to paint today?"
Appointed the official artist for Marvel Comics, Kaufman's series of Spider-Man, Silver Surfer and Captain America disclose dynamic composition, fluid expression and vibrant colours. Each piece is signed by super hero creator, Stan Lee. In addition, Batman and Superman are also interpreted by the artist.
When Kaufman came across an old movie poster Al Pacino in Scarface that he wanted to paint, he contacted the actor.
"I remember being a bit nervous before we spoke," said Kaufman. "After all, the man is a living legend. It turned out, he already owned two of my works: a Sinatra and Mickey Mantle. I couldn't get over it. “Me, a kid from the Bronx who was arrested for doing graffiti, talk about feeling blessed."
Limited editions of Al Pacino as the Godfather and Scarface are part of the exhibition. The show, pure pop, also features The Olympic Champion, and The Greatest Series, all hand signed by Muhammad Ali.
Kaufman was commissioned by both the Van Gogh and Picasso estate as respective artist. The Picasso estate also awarded him with Picasso's Ring, an honor only bestowed upon 14 artists in the world.
The Van Gogh limited edition series will be on view. Kaufman is in the collections of Spike lee, Whoopi Goldberg, Eddie Murphy, John Travolta, Dennis Rodman, Muhammad Ali, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Elizabeth Taylor, Al Pacino and the Sinatra family. The Rat Pack and the Sinatra Legacy Suite are the show highlights.