Steve Kaufman, American (1960 - 2010)

From his first art show at age eight to the Olympics with Ali, CNN with Sinatra, Woodstock, The Oscars, a president's portrait, and his charity work, which includes hiring ex-gang kids and the homeless.

1963 My dad died, maybe that is why I'm a dad, or a big brother to so many kids today.

1968 - Sponsored by a Jewish temple in the Bronx, creates Holocaust paintings, later donated the paintings to the Jewish holocaust museum in Brooklyn.

1972 - Kaufman worked for Macy's in Manhattan on 34th street painting dog and cat faces on pet rocks.

1975 - Participates in group graffiti show at the Whitney Museum.

1978-81 - Enrolls in the School of Visual Arts. Meets Andy Warhol, becomes his assistant at the Factory. Designs theme parties at Studio 54, Mud Club, Underground, Magique. Sells his art to Calvin Klein and Steve Rubell. Meets Keith Haring at School of Visual Arts (SVA) show. Participates in group show at Club 57 with Haring.

1982 - Creates graphics for NBC's Saturday Night Live. Graduates from School of Visual Arts (SVA) with a BFA. Holds art shows at the Air Gallery in London, White Freud and Fiorucci store window in NYC.

1983-1985 - Arrested with AIDS demonstrators for chain-locking New York City's mayor in his office. Exhibits Sex, Rock & Roll at Off Centre Gallery and Common Wealth Gallery in London.

1986-88 - Forms SAK Studio. Begins city-wide campaign for AIDS awareness with art shows featuring paintings of Trojan condom wrappers measuring 5 feet by 5 feet. Condom art exhibit shown at Main Fine Art, Edinburgh College of Art, Zanzibar Club and the Smith Gallery.

1989-1990 - Opens Art Studio. Hires New York City homeless. Paints portraits of three homeless people for Transportation Display, Inc.; portraits are shown in 46 cities on bus billboards, helping to raise $4.72 million to benefit the homeless. Completes unfinished portraits for Andy Warhol clients. Trojan Condoms/Carter Wallace sponsors 5000 AIDS awareness buttons to be given away in Greenwich Village and at an art auction for Arnfar. Paints first Racial Harmony Mural in Harlem to bring awareness to inner city problems. Show at White Gallery, where all art was covered in black cloth in memorial of those who died of AIDS; this show developed the concept for the "Day Without Art" tribute. Show at Loft Gallery in Tokyo, Japan.

1991-92 - Completes 55 Racial Harmony Murals in the New York City area with Malcolm X images. Appears on Fox TV, MTV and radio stations to speak out on racial harmony. Accepts award as Underground Artist of the Year. Paints Mickey Mantle portrait for Mantle's restaurant, paints Joe Frazier portrait to raise money for Police Athletic League. Creates AIDS Memorial in New York City. Drapes red fabric over the letter "D" of the Hollywood Sign in remembrance of everyone who has died of AIDS. Art collected by Spike Lee, Whoopi Goldberg, Billy Dee Williams, Eddie Murphy and Larry Mullen of U2.

1993-94 - Art Studio moves to Los Angeles, California. Starts a new style called "Comic Book Pop Art". Uses original paintings of super heroes - Superman, Batman, Spider-Man, to name a few - as the icons. Hires more than 100 of Los Angeles' ex-gang kids from prison to assist him in the studio.

1995 - Works with Martin Lawrence Gallery. Hand paints new editions, giving new meaning to hand-embellishment. Creates limited editions of Beethoven, which sold out, and Marilyn Monroe, which broke all gallery sales records for a new artist. Creates portraits of Muhammad Ali and John Travolta, who autographed their editions. First artist to form a bridge between Marvel Comics (Spider-Man) and DC Comics (Superman). Works with Stan Lee, who autographed the edition.
Starts the following programs:

  • Works with Los Angeles' "South Central" parole officers.
  • Hires more than 200 kids from prison to work in the studio.
  • Receives award from Los Angeles mayor.
  • Increases charity work to include 100 different charities.

1996 - Contacts the Sinatra Family about painting Mr. Sinatra's portrait. Campbell's Soup asks Steve to paint a limited edition to mark Campbell's Soup's 100th Year Anniversary. Paints Ali's face on 500 boxing gloves, proving that art doesn't have to be on canvas. By now, 325 kids have worked for the Art Studio and 85% have gone on to a better way of life. Paints two Harley-Davidson motorcycles, one a Campbell's Soup theme, and the other a Cohiba Cigar theme. Creates Ali portrait for the 1996 Olympics. Ali signs the edition for the first time with both his Muslim name, Muhammad Ali, and his birth name, Cassius Clay.

1997-98 - Tina Sinatra features portrait of Frank Sinatra on Larry King's CNN show. Holds art shows in Japan and Amsterdam. Has boxing exhibition versus Don Diego, a European boxing champion; after some minor controversy, Kaufman is awarded a win. Paints a Harley-Davidson motorcycle for the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team. The bike is driven around Dodger Stadium before each game and televised into four million people's homes. By now, has hired 546 ex-gang kids and homeless. Supports more than 176 charities.

1999-2000 - Has a cardiac episode and a motorcycle accident. Quoted afterwards,

"I'm truly blessed to be doing what I've always wanted - CREATE. I have found a freedom that is hard to put into words. I always wondered about my projects - which artists are working on what, and which directions should I take? I don't even think of those things now. I passionately go into my studio and ask myself, what would I like to create today?"

Releases Sinatra's Rat Pack and Mug shot, Al Pacino as The Godfather and Scarface, Barbie and a new Marilyn Monroe edition. He releases Van Gogh and Picasso in a new style - a 100% hand-painted edition, which gives new meaning to the hand-embellishment process. Released New York City's radio shock-jock icon Howard Stern, Disney's Mickey Mouse, and other surprises, at 2001 New York City Art Expo. Will expand charity work once again by donating the proceeds of several upcoming projects.

2001 - 2002
Kaufman still supports 170 charities per year, Kaufman Art Studio to date has hired 759 LA ex-gang kids and LA homeless men. Kaufman create two new art styles called "Portrait Collage" and Museum Art," which are his 14th and 15th distinct styles added to his body of work. The only other artist to have this many different styles is Picasso.

While most artists keep the same style and choice of images, year after year, Kaufman is always changing and inventing. His new "Portrait Collage" style is a collage of images to support his main image, giving the portrait more impact. You can see the new style in his editions of Rat Pack, Hollywood Marilyn, Van Gogh, Picasso, and Jackie Kennedy. They are a new departure from his standard portraits.

His new "Museum Art" paintings are his "September 11th Memorial", a tribute to the heroes of the World Trade Center attack, and Caesars 35 Year History", a commemorative for Caesars' history, both hung in Caesars Palace, Las Vegas. The "Caesars 35 Year History", is a 3D, 500-foot x 25-foot, painted canvas on the wall. He also created a 10-foot Fender guitar for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio. He is working on the "World War II Memorial" and filming a TV pilot: "You Call That Art?" Art Shows with Mr. Perry in his art gallery in Las Vegas that has showed Mr. Neiman art for the past 25 years. Group art show with Pop artist Rizzi with owner Charlie & Nathan at Barrington Gallery. He has donated the "Princess Diana" portrait to the Elton John AIDS Foundation.

Kaufman is proposing a new art studio inside the Las Vegas correction center. Just like the movie "Jackson Pollock", a Hollywood writer is working on a screenplay about Kaufman's like. Kaufman started a new program by placing his icon paintings in public viewing places around the country. Kaufman feels he would like the public to enjoy his art, as much as the private collectors. In this program, Kaufman has placed a Muhammad Ali portrait in Brooklyn's famous Gleason's Boxing Gym (which has trained over 200 world champions), he placed a Frank Sinatra portrait at Hofstra University, NY, where Mr. Kaufman and artist LeRoy Neiman were both guest speakers, he placed a Marilyn monroe at the Foundation Fighting Blindness, and gifted a painting to David Letterman to inspire heart recovery, he gifted Howard Stern with a portrait of Stern live on the Howard Stern Show. He unveiled the Holocaust painting, "Remember", at New York ArtExpo in 2001, and this piece will be showcased on NBC's Dateline.

2002 to 2003 Art event Muhammad Ali, event cast from HBO show Sopranos, 2 events with Oscar De La Hoya, at Paris Casino in Las Vegas, meetings with Las Vegas's Mayor Goodman about building the Las Vegas sign, land locations, meeting with engineering company, meeting with police about using prisoner for the work on the sign. Creating Celina Dion portrait edition to help fund the project on the sign. 22 weekly Art shows with Paris Casino. NYC Studio 54 had a 1 man show of Kaufman art. Art show at Paramount Studio in LA, Kaufman started working with sculpture again. Sold out show in NYC with Charlie and Nathan. I create painting using old masters paintings Dali, Picasso, Van Gogh, in their and my art styles. Love ride event with Jay leno, Peter fonda, other rider and help raise $1 million for charity, Steve has been with this cause 10 years donating art. 190 charity a year, 1873 kids and homeless had worked for Art Studio at this time. Las Vegas Steve Winn became a collector of Kaufman paintings- 1 Martin Luther King, 1 Rat Pack

April 2003 I had a stroke, my cholesterol was 576, I’ve been told I flat line died. That night I had 6 jelly donut, during my sleep I saw quick flashes of my life like I was on VCR tape recorder rewinding my life story very fast, then it stop, everything when black. I heard a voice you did good kid, but now go back and do better. When I awoke, I try to get out of bed I fell to the floor I was paralysed on one side of my body. In the next 3 months I re taught myself to walk, wipe my ass, I had the best art show of my life 4 weeks after my stroke as it was a sold out show of $400,000 in one night but everyone was buying the art because they thought I was dieing, a good friend of my died soon after his body just gave up on him. My girlfriend left me, she say she didn’t want to be with me when I die in my bed. I looked at my father photo one night, he die at the age of 36 years old, I said not me, I lost 75 lbs in 3 months, I was walking 5 mile walks everyday. I started my non profit charity Give Kids A Break.

 

From that day on I live life like I was dieing. I climb mountains, I when sky driving, I walk halfway across USA, then I came back home, I looked into my soul and I like me, I was good to people- I can walk to South Central to East LA to Beverly Hills CA to High rollers card games in Las Vegas everyone like me, I feel I've help and touched many people. I step 4 steps away from my art and then I drove into my art like I never did before. I created the 6 color silkscreen method, I started wielding new metal Campbell's soup art tables, I was at a cigar shop looking at cigar boxes, I took 500 cigar boxes home that day to paint Fidelo Castro portrait on to the Cigar boxes as if they were paintings, I took a wall of boxing gloves and painted boxing matches on to the wall of gloves, I had Fidelo Castro from Cuban sign my Cohiba motorcycle gas tank, I created 4 more motorcycles- LA Lakers, LA Dodgers, Campbell's soup, Las Vegas motorcycles with slot machine as part of the back sissy bar. I started painting originals not just on canvas but 3d items (1 of a kind museum paintings).

 

2004 I got sick again, had 2 more minor stroke, cancer, I had trouble breathing, doctor say you have asthma and you need to stop working with paint. I say sorry doctor, can't do that, I'm on this planet to paint. I took the year off, I was very ill, but I still created art as I recovered.

2005

1875 kids have worked at Art studio, giving them that first job, Pope John Paul II accepted Kaufman's paintings of the Pope   into his private apt and office in Rome. Kaufman paintings of Lance Armstrong was showed in art galleries during the Tours de France. Kaufman created paintings to help raise money for Hurricane Katrina victims. Kaufman created paintings of SLR McLaren for 100th year of Mercedes Benz, I started painting on mini motorcycles, sculptures, cars, wooden screen doors, I just kept painting on anything other than canvas just wanted to created art.

2006 July art show in Aspen

2006 Dec 2006 4 shows Val and B Creek, I was sick again, I was 40 lbs heavy, my cholesterol was 416.

2007 Steve to create paintings wall of fame at MGM & the Hoya vs Mayweather fight. Wine, Las Vegas sign, CSI David Caruso came to art studio and signed portraits of himself.

Sept & Oct 2007 Las Vegas show, Mr. Perry art gallery that is a very special gallery, you can feel the history, he worked Picasso, Norman Rockwell, Dali, Leoroy Neiman. When I'm in Europe I can feel my future as a Museum artist but Mr. Perry gallery I know my future is secure, my mark in art history.

Nov 2007 Five Europe art gallery shows, London, Dublin Ireland, Basel and Zurich Switzerland, Germany, creating art of these countries Icons, Roma Shyler, Brittani Ireland Guinness beer

Dec 2007 1975 kids have worked at LA Artstudio, talks to open a Artstudio on Martin Luther King Blvd in Nevada and a Artstudio in Zona Rio. 400 soccer balls was given to kids outside Kaufman art studio doors which is next door to Dayton height element school from KG to 5 grade, the balls were given to the kids as they went home. 1 night show in Canada that was a sold out show, 4 shows in Val and B Creek in Col $350,000. 200 paintings was send as Christmas gifts to Brad Pitt, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Matthew Perry, Rolling Stones, Donald Sutherland, Oliver Stone, Patrick Swayze, Billy Bob Thornton, Steven Tyler, Quentin Tarantino, Donald Trump, Gary Sinise, Rod Stewart, M. Night Shyamalan, Bruce Springsteen, Ringo Star, Paul Simon, Patrick Stewart, Ben Stiller, Jimmy Smits, Ted Danson, Jerry Bruckheimer, Mickey Rourke, Carlos Santana, Gavin Rossdale, Tim Roth, Martin Scorsese, Ryan Seacrest, Jerry Seinfeld, Gary Shandling, Ridley Scott, Steven Segal, Tom Selleck, Colin Quinn, Keanu Reeves, Keith Richards, Anthony (Tony) Robbins, Lou Reed, John C Reilly, Kid Rock, Sam Raimi, Andy Roddick, Eddie Murphy, Joe Pantoliano, Penn & Teller, Joaquin Phoenix, David Hyde Pierce, Tom Petty, Quincy Jones, Lenny Kravitz, Jude Law, Val Kilmer, Earvin (Magic) Johnson, Ethan Hawke, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Dustin Hoffman, Chris Isaak, Hugh Jackman, Colin Farrell, Andy Garcia, Brendan Fraser, Tom Hanks, Josh Hartnett, Morgan Freeman, James Gandolfini, Kelsey Grammer, Tony Hawke, Michael Douglas, David Duchovny, Robert Duvall, Emilio Estevez, Mat Dillion, Clint Eastwood, Michael Eisner, Vin Diesel, Oscar De La Hoya, Tom Arnold, Vince Vaughn, Conan O’Brian, Tiger Woods, Oliver Stone, Bono, Shaquille O’Neal, Mick Jagger, Luke Wilson,  Wal-Mart CEO: H. Lee Scott Jr, Exxon Mobil CEO: Rex W. Tillerson, General Motors CEO: G. Richard Wagoner Jr.Chevron Corporation CEO: David J. O'Reilly , Ford Motor CEO: William Clay Ford Jr., Conoco Philips CEO: James J. Mulva, General Electric CEO: Jeffrey R. Immelt, Citigroup CEO: Charles Prince, American international Group CEO: Martin J. Sullivan, Bank of America CEO: Kenneth D. Lewis, Hewlett Packard CEO: Mark V. Hurd, Berkshire Hathaway CEO: Warren E. Buffett, Home Depot CEO: Robert L. Nardelli, Valero Energy CEO: William R Klesse, Kesson CEO: John H. Hammergren, JP. Morgan Chase Co. CEO: James Dimon , Verizon Communications CEO: Ivan G. Seidenberg, Cardinal Health CEO: Robert D. Walter, Altria Group CEO: Louis C. Camilleri, Kroger CEO: David B. Dillon, State Farm Insurance CEO: Edward B. Rust Jr., Marathon Oil CEO: Clarence P. Cazalot Jr., Procter & Gamble CEO: Alan G. Lafley, Dell CEO: Kevin B. Rollins, Boeing CEO: W. James McNerney Jr., Ameisouree Bergen CEO: R. David Yost , Costco Wholesale CEO: James D. Sinegal, Target CEO: Robert J. Ulrich, Morgan Stanley CEO: John J. Mack, Pfizer CEO: Henry A. McKinnell Jr., Johnson & Johnson CEO: William C. Weldon, Sears Holdings CEO: Aylwin B. Lewis, Merril Lynch CEO: E. Stanley O'Neal, Met Life CEO: C. Robert Henrikson, Dow Chemical CEO: Andrew N. Liveris, United Health Group CEO: William W. McGuire M.D, Wellpoint CEO: Larry Glasscock , AT&T CEO: Edward E. Whitacre Jr., Time Warner CEO: Richard D. Parsons , Goldman Sachs Group CEO: Henry M. Paulson Jr., Lowe’s CEO: Robert A. Niblock , United Technologies CEO: George David , United Parcel Service CEO: Michael L. Eskew , Walgreen CEO: David W. Bernauer, Wells Fargo CEO: Richard M. Kovacevich , Albertson’s CEO: Lawrence R. Johnston, Microsoft CEO: Steven A. Ballmer , Intel CEO: Paul Otellini , Safeway CEO: Steven A. Burd , Medco Health Solutions CEO: David B. Snow Jr., Lockheed Martin CEO: Robert J. Stevens , CVS CEO: Thomas M. Ryan , Motorola CEO: Edward J. Zander , Caterpillar CEO: James W. Owens , Archer Daniels Midland CEO: G. Allen Andreas , Wachovia Corp CEO: G. Kennedy Thompson , Allstate CEO: Edward M. Liddy , Sprint Next Corporation CEO: Gary D. Forsee, Caremark Rx  CEO: Edwin M. Crawford, Pepsi Crop CEO: Steven S. Reinemund , Lehman Brothers CEO: Richard S. Fuld Jr., Walt Disney CEO: Robert A. Iger , Prudential Financial CEO: Arthur F. Ryan , Plains All American Pipeline CEO: Greg L. Armstrong , Sunoco CEO: John G. Drosdick , Northrop Grumman CEO: Ronald D. Sugar , Sysco CEO: Richard J. Schnieders , American Express CEO: Kenneth I. Chenault , FedEx CEO: Frederick W. Smith , Honeywell International CEO: David M. Cote , Ingram CEO: Gregory M. Spierkel , DuPont CEO: Charles O. Holliday Jr, New York Insurance CEO: Seymour G. Sternberg , Johnson Controls CEO: John M. Barth ,

2008 NYC Art Expo, Las Vegas Visitor bureau set up a display of Kaufman art seen by 2 million people a year, Caesar Palace casino asked Steve to paint portraits of Cher, Bette Midler and Elton John, a sold out Japan show, Las Vegas July 4 show where Steve unveil his Stain glass art, Steve created a new painting art style with his Coca Cola and Ipod Apple campaign.

Nov 2008 16 Europe art shows tour.

Dec 2008 Xmas gifts to Steve Wynn, Cher, Bette Midler, Elton John, Penn and Teller - Carrot top – Blueman – Rita Rudner – Wayne Brady – XAO Yang – Jamie Gold – Neil Diamond – Tom Jones - Vegas fame, Mayor Oscar B. Goodman of Las Vegas, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa of Los Angeles, Mayor Bloomberg of New York City, Mayor Richard Daley of Chicago, 37 World leaders, Frank Langella, Sean Penn, Mickey Rourke, Kate Winslet, Meryl Streep, and Anne Hathaway.

Jan 2009 Art exhibit 6 days at Stanfield gallery at Sundance, with 100 kids help paint the floor of the art gallery with a pop art theme, and 400 kids received 8x8 paintings as free gifts, which was all filmed for a independent film for Sundance 2010.

Feb 2009 Art exhibit for Art gallery in Tyson's Corner, Virginia, Dylan candy painting edition, the Oscars awards as Steve created paintings of The Curious case of Benjamin Button, Frost/Nixon, Milk, The Reader, Slumdog Millionaire movies.

2nd Major Stroke I was seeing spots that day, I woke up in Las Vegas and being paralyzed couldn’t get into a wheel chair.

March 2009 As John Lennon said “I’m just watching the wheels turn.”

May 2009 - On the first day of the art show there were 17,600 visitors to the World of Coca Cola Museum. We will have 500,000 visitors in the next 3 months. Steve's artwork was a huge hit - his paintings got a great reaction from our guests! The Mona Lisa painting with a Coca Cola bottle was the #1 photographed piece in the entire show. Coca Cola Contemporary Art Museum

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