Students of adjunct art Instructor Sean Scherer should consider themselves lucky: they’re learning art history and design from a man who has lived it for more than 30 years.
As an artist, Scherer has not only been immersed in these worlds; he has been successful, to boot. He began exhibiting his paintings and drawings in New York City in 1989 while taking classes at the Whitney Museum of American Art. Since then, he has added designer, collector, shopkeeper, author and instructor to his resume, has 13,000 followers on Instagram, and has been featured in publications such as The New York Times (more than once), Country Living and Conde Nast Traveler.
Scherer’s work has been exhibited in one-person shows in Caracas, Venezuela, Helsinki, Finland and Montreal. After his design work was featured in The New York Times, journalist Anderson Cooper called him, wanting Scherer to do the interior design for his apartment. And he did.
After September 11, 2001, Scherer moved from New York City to the Catskills, bought a home and began renovating it. Several years later in the small town of Andes, he opened his shop Kabinett & Kammer, which featured a menagerie of beautiful and unique items for sale, from taxidermy and antique furniture to vintage prints and posters. The shop quickly became a favorite among art lovers and second homeowners in the area.
But Scherer, who’s used to having several irons in the fire, wanted more.
“I thought, ‘What else am I going to do up here?’” he recalled. “That’s when I started teaching here at the college, and I’ve been here 13 years, plus.”
Each semester, Scherer teaches at least two sections of Language of the Visual Arts, a course with which he hopes to open and expand student minds.
“I try to stress that everything in your life has design and everything has an author,” Scherer said. “Knowing who designed things is important, but many times students never knew there was a human being behind it. Like, their Nike sneakers? They never knew that it was Tinker Hatfield who designed them. Or Jonathan Ive who designed their iPhone and Apple products. Whether you’re design-oriented or not, we all purchase things. Knowing more about the process and backstory can help make you a better consumer.”
That attention to detail extends throughout every aspect of Scherer’s life, from the weird and wonderful treasures in his shop to the tattoos that cover his arms, most of his back and half of his chest. One arm is covered in colorful flowers, plants and insects (a nod to his childhood in Miami), and the other is full of line work.
“There’s a reason for each one, and they’re all connected,” he explained. “I believe that everything I do is part of my art. … I started out as an artist, supporting myself at 19 or 20 in New York, and I’m still first and foremost an artist.”
An artist who’s not anywhere near slowing down. This spring, Scherer and his partner, fashion designer Gary Graham, took Kabbinet and Kammer on the road, leaving their Andes location and moving the store to a building they renovated in nearby Franklin.
And Scherer’s book, “Interior Language,” is scheduled to be published by Vendome Press in fall 2020 – just in time to be assigned as required course reading for a new semester.
“It will be an art book,” he explained. “A beautiful coffee table account with basic lessons and takeaways about how to achieve the look in your own home. Interior design books don’t usually give you information, but this one will. It will be an extension of the classes I teach, and I’m very excited about it.”