Steve Alan Kaufman, was born 29th Dec 1960 in New York. He was a pop artist, fine artist, sculptor, stained glass artist, filmmaker, photographer and humanitarian. By the time he was 16, Kaufman was going to Studio 54 and associating with people from the 1970s New York City art community. This is how he met and became the assistant of Andy Warhol, who famously gave him the nickname “SAK” using the initials of his name.
Kaufman attended Manhattan’s School of Visual Arts. Being Andy Warhol’s assistant, he developed a style that was similar but distinctly his own. “As Warhol’s assistant, I learned to silkscreen with oils that will last forever. That’s the same process I use today. Andy Warhol never did giclées. Neither will I.” said Kaufman.
By the early 1990s, Kaufman’s work was in demand. In 1993, Kaufman moved his studio to LA and began painting in a new style he called ‘comic book pop art’. He used images of Superman, batman and others, and painted iconic people, historical figures, and products significant in our daily lives. He was an artistic journalist who commented on both history and current events with his art. Kaufman advanced the use of the silkscreen process, and was most recognised for his use of vivid colours and hand embellishment. Steve was very prolific and would paint on many different surfaces using several different mediums.
Throughout his career Kaufman became known as an activist as well as an artist. In the late 1980s, he participated in an AIDS demonstration, during which he was arrested. Upon leaving Warhol’s Factory, Kaufman established his own SAK Studio, hiring homeless New Yorkers to assist him. He painted portraits of three homeless persons for Transportation Display, Inc. that where later shown in 46 cities on bus billboards, helping to raise $4.72 million to benefit the homeless. Kaufman created the first “Racial Harmony” mural in Harlem to raise attention of inner-city problems.
Throughout his life, Kaufman suffered a series of debilitating strokes beginning in 2004. He dyed of a heart attack on 12th February 2010, as he prepared for an art show. “If I stop doing shows, I might as well stop living. This is what I live for,” Kaufman had once stated. He was an activist and a generous humanitarian. Steve Kaufman aided more than 1,500 charities during his lifetime.
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