Never afraid to reinvent herself or her art, San Francisco based artist Jenny Sharaf’s works are fluid and spontaneous; her approach fearless and at times vunerable; and her style cool and comfortably bad-ass. We’ve not only been fans of her visual and abstract creations, but also her passion to work with her community in SF and Oakland to spread art and creativity – from her
work with the Lab’s 24-Hour Telethon, The Parking Lot Art Fair to her most recent project- the Public Art Tour. Sharaf shares some insight into her work and process; important issues and themes; and her thoughts on the contemporary arts scene in this installment of Sketchy Behaviors.
Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve always wanted to be the graceful, put-together, highly respectable woman that I saw on movies and TV-shows. The one with the perfect hair and makeup no matter what she went through and that glided into every room with everyone’s eyes on her, though she didn’t care much about who they were. The center of attention. Perfectly in control. The hero of her own story.
I still want to be that girl a lot of the time. I still want to be admired and respected because of something that I have or who I am. A lot of times I’ll even get angry or jealous because I feel that I deserve to be that girl, but I don’t think I’m ever going to be that idealized woman. I’m messy and I’m chaos. If you made a diagram of my personality it would be full of criss-crossing lines of different interests and different experiences that have made me who I am. Unlike my image of the perfect human being, I am not always very graceful and I am almost never put-together. Instead, I am always busy and always moving. Besides, I am too extroverted to be endearingly mysterious; Sometimes I try a little too hard to be the center of attention. Lastly, I am never in control. I jump without testing the water first and go all the way in to the top of my head. For a long time, I found it hard to appreciate those things, because they weren’t things that I saw in my closest friends, who I definitely idealized as perfect people. What I didn’t realize until a grew up a little was that I wasn’t supposed to be becoming my friends or at least my perception of them. That wasn’t who God intended me to be. All the qualities that I have, good and bad, are making me (slowly but surely) into the person I was always supposed to become. What looks like messy chaos to me is actually perfectly ordered in God’s mind. He knows the pattern by heart. He knows how the criss-crossing lines all end up at the exact same point to create the person I need to be to complete the work he needs me to do. Through this fact I’ve come to realize that I was never supposed to be graceful, but full of grace and forgiveness. I was never supposed to be distant, but full of joy and love for others. Most of all, I was never ever called to be the hero. I am not the savior and the sooner I realize that, the more me I will become.
In the same way, this world is messy. It is broken and fallen; full of chaos that was never intended to be there. God sees this mess and understands it. He sees the pattern of creation and understands what it is going to become. The pattern is that everything all points back to him. He is the creator and he is creative. He was creative when he put me together. He was creative when he put our beautiful world together. He will put his creation to right one day. He is working towards it now. His “rescue operation” is already in place and has been since before the brokenness even started (Wright, Simply Christian). God not only sees our mess, but understands it and will use it for his glory.
So be a little messy. The chaos is actually kind of beautiful. I always liked abstract art.
My play-dough abstract creations today to represent my strengths and weaknesses in our group counseling course. On the left is my weakness, anxiety (and all the noise in my head that comes with it). On the right is my strength of organization and structure.