Each year, Ace Hotel & Swim Club in Palm Springs commissions an artist to create a mural on the property during the hotel’s annual Desert Gold celebration of music and poolside revelry that coincides with Coachella. San Francisco-based artist Jenny Sharaf was tapped by Ace Hotel to create the 2016 mural on the property’s Commune building wall, which has previously been occupied by works by MOMO, Aaron De La Cruz and Erin D. Garcia, among others. As a multidisciplinary artist, Sharaf’s work includes painting, collage, video and installations, with her Southern California upbringing and family legacy in the film and television business influencing the narrative of her art, including the use of saturated, psychedelic color in her compelling pour paintings.
Above: Jenny Sharaf in her studio
Palm Springs Style: What inspires you right now?
Jenny Sharaf: Sixties floral fabrics, Helen Frankenthaler, convertibles, feminist history, the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, vintage magazines, the desert…
PSS: How does your process for creating murals differ from smaller scale projects?
Sharaf: My painting process allows me to be a bit more intuitive and take more risks. Murals require a lot of planning (and usually an approval process).
PSS: You’re a born and raised California girl – has that included spending time in Palm Springs?
Sharaf: I grew up in L.A. and live in San Francisco now. I’ve always loved Palm Springs – the climate, the landscape, the thrifting, people watching at Sherman’s, the modern architecture. I feel right at home in the desert. Trying to figure out how to spend more time here throughout the year…
PSS: Did the desert location of the Ace Hotel mural impact your design?
Sharaf: The color palette for the mural is informed by those desert landscape colors. They’re much more meditative and subtle than I normally go for. Lots of chlorine blues, desert sands hues and mellow sunny yellows. The light in the desert is amazing, so I wanted to use cool tones that would pick it up.
Above: Sharaf’s mural at Ace Hotel & Swim Club
PSS: Does your mural have a title?
Sharaf: Working title as of now… “Pina Coladas with David Hockney.”
PSS: You’ve also ventured into curation – can you tell us about that?
Sharaf: I curate a lot of big art events in San Francisco. After the mural is done at Ace, I am gearing up for Parking Lot Art Fair on April 30th, where hundreds of artists will gather in a beachside parking lot for a renegade art happening. I’m also working with the photographer Norman Seeff on some exciting projects.
PSS: What else are you working on now?
Sharaf: I’ve been busy with a commission for the Google collection. They have a new office in San Francisco. Also, starting to do collaborations with fashion brands. But, too early to announce yet ;). Follow me on Instagram at @jennysharaf to keep up with all things in the studio.
Artwork courtesy of Jenny Sharaf