A Young Banksy
March 28, 2015
Vandalism and spray painting seem to be inseparably linked. However, for Abram Scharf (’16), the sound of the spray means the start of a masterpiece.
Scharf first grasped the art of spray painting when he watched the documentary “Exit Through the Gift Shop.” The film features many graffiti artists, including Banksy, and their works.
“Spray painting has always been my niche,” said Scharf. “It’s something I’m good at, and it’s unique. I like the high degree of contrast and the striking because there’s very little middle value. I like making decisions about what’s going to be done with the light, and I like the general inherent association to counterculture.”
Scharf’s procedure for spray painting starts with making a stencil, and then with using spray paint to experiment with colors to make the artwork perfect.
IB Art teacher Mary Wilson holds Scharf in a high regard.
“He thinks outside of the box, and his imagination is so superior,” said Wilson. “He takes something that he wants to do and finds a way to do it by combining it with his knowledge, his imagination, and his problem-solving skills.”
Scharf’s works can now be found at the Ybor Daily Market, where he spray paints the floors so people can experience his art.
Scharf is always working towards his next project. Currently, he uses large-scale stencils and is working to make a piece with two life-size figures.
“He’s very dedicated and always comes back to my art room,” said Wilson. “He doesn’t really waste any time.”
Scharf does not only work with large stencils. He has also done portraits of students, including Fard Muhammad (’16).
“This took a couple months,” said Scharf, pointing to the work. “I studied Warhol’s prints and his use of multiple colors in a single work. It was the first piece that I put in the Market. It was six of the same figure in different color schemes. It was similar to Warhol’s works but a different orientation because I didn’t want it to be too similar.”
Another one of his works was making a sign for journalism teacher Jill Burns when she was out of the classroom for a journalism convention.
“I was approached by Isabel [Hanewicz] and Matt [Hall], and they asked me to make a sign with something Mrs. Burns says often – ‘Work smarter, not harder’ – in giant letters,” he said.
“I made a big stencil and just spray painted it, and they put it up in her room.”
Wilson said she enjoys working with Scharf.
“He has a vision of where he wants his work to be, and he goes the extra mile to find a place to put it,” she said. “Art is a fascination to him and, being in the IB program, it’s such a great outlet for him to get away from the academic part. He’s very visionary and thinks beyond what average people think.”
Leana Pustam is a senior in IB. She enjoys swimming, playing lacrosse and listening to music when she's not in school. She is a part of many clubs, including...