@OfficialSeanPenn Is Like David LaChapelle And Lisa Frank On Molly—Here’s Why

You’ll probably know Caroline Goldfarb, a 25-year-old Northwestern graduate living in Los Angeles as @OfficialSeanPenn. While many artists are appalled by the development of Instagram as a platform for photographers and artists, others are embracing it, and benefitting. Her collages are punchy takes and re-appropriations of emojis, memes and celebrity images, but their success is her ability to communicate her own perspective on whatever subject she displays. Before reading up on where she came from and where she’s going, check out her shoppable website—which is almost as much fun as her Instagram— the@OfficialSeanPenn store. In the market for a “Britney Breakdown” sticker sheet? How about a cake with Beyonce’s face on it? Caroline Goldfarb is the artist who gets what you need in your life.

How did you name yourself “Official Sean Penn”?

Before I had a ton of followers, I would change my username every week to amuse my friends.  At one point it was “OfficialMerylStreep,” at one point it was “OfficialBjork,” and then one day I changed it to “OfficialSeanPenn” and it just stuck.  There’s pretty much no one who takes himself more seriously than Sean Penn which is what makes it such an ironic and perfect match.

Did you go to art school? What do you think about art school in this day and age?

I didn’t go to art school. I studied English at Northwestern University. I only taught myself how to use Photoshop in the last 2 years. I am literally the opposite of an MfA student— my friends always make fun of me because I find ugly, commercialized art like Anne Geddes photos and Thomas Kinkade’s paintings really beautiful.

Your work seems to be based heavily on collage, do you consider yourself as purely a collage artist? Do you ever draw or paint?

Collage is definitely my primary form of expression. I can only really draw doodles of hearts, happy faces, and weed leaves. But I am turning my doodles into a temporary tattoo sheet which will be coming out soon.

Galore Mag Sean Penn

What does collage and the internet do for your work?

Through the power of the internet, I feel like I’ve been able to cultivate a fanbase that shares the same niche pop culture obsessions as me.

“I am literally the opposite of an MfA student— my friends always make fun of me because I find ugly, commercialized art like Anne Geddes photos and Thomas Kinkade’s paintings really beautiful.”

What’s your favorite thing on the internet right now?

The Daily Mail is the most amazing news outlet (I use the term “news outlet”  loosely), and I pull so many pictures from their showbiz section it’s not even funny.

Who are some of your favorite artists? Do you find that your own work is influenced by them?

I’d like to think my collages are like if Robert Rauschenberg, Lisa Frank, and David LaChapelle had a baby together—while on Molly.

You are clearly heavily influenced by pop culture, what about pop culture are you trying to say through your artwork?

I love pop culture.  Celebrities are my lifeblood.  I’m trying to tell people that I am majorly fucking obsessed with pop culture.

What do you think of Instagram as a platform for viewing art, and how do you think it has affected your own art?

I think it’s an amazing way to get your work out there.  The only problem is I literally don’t know how to make anything that isn’t a square.

What are some of your favorite Instagram accounts to follow?

@UncannySfValley, @GermesGang, @HattieStewart, and @KylieJenner.

I see you’ve been making some Spotify playlists, what’s that about? I’m enjoying the July playlist so far!

My friends and I are constantly exchanging music, so I think it’s only fair that I start sharing some of my favorite music with my followers.  I mean, we all need something to listen to that will kill time until Rihanna’s new album #R8 finally comes out.


Interview by Lisa Yoo, a part-time stargazer and full-time diva

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