Friday, January 11, 2013

Keith Haring - the energy in art never dies


     Keith Haring was born on May 4,1958 in Reading, PA. His father was a cartoon artist and he developed a love for drawing at a young age. After high school Haring attended the Ivy school of Professional Art in Pittsburgh. Although he participated in the local art community often he decided that  Pittsburgh was not for him. In 1978 he moved to New York City and attended the School of Visual Arts. Here Keith discovered underground art, New York City became his canvas. One day while walking in the subway Haring noticed the unused advertising panels. These panels were perfect for chalk drawings, sometimes he would do up to 40 drawing a day. Keith Haring's subway drawings became known to all the locals who often to stopped to talk to him about his art; what did it mean and why was he doing it in the subway instead of gallery? Keith liked the fact that he didn't need to show in galleries to be famous. He went directly to the people, bypassing the critics that could make or break his career.
     In 1981, Haring had his first solo show at Westbeth Painters Space but his big break came in 1982 when he made his Soho debut at Shafrazi Gallery. Haring's well known characters engulfed the entire studio and was a critical success. After this he had shows in countries all over the world including Japan and Brazil. Haring not only produced drawings but created animation for Times Square, set designs and watch designs for Swatch. Keith Haring was a founder of pop art ideals. He wanted his art to be accessible to everyone. In 1986, he opened the Pop Shop where he sold merchandise with his art on it and held workshops for children. Some of his most famous works include the "Crack is Wack" mural, and the radiant baby. In 1988 Keith Haring was diagnosed with aids and created the Keith Haring Foundation in 1989. Many of his later works create aids awareness and promote activism. On February 16, 1990 Keith Haring died of aids complications at the age of 31.

One of Haring's most recognizable characters is the "Radiant Baby" which shows up in many of his drawings. Haring went through a so called "Jesus phase" as a teenager which was later reflected in this radiant "jesus child". Some also saw this figure as the "radioactive" child created to address the idea of nuclear energy. 
I love Keith Haring's work because it has so much power to it. It's all about energy and power and movement. As humans we all possess energy but it is up to us what we decide to do with it. Haring also realized that art had much more power than he did. He saw his art as an extension of himself. He had accepted the fact that death is inevitable, that our energy will eventually die but, when we create art its energy is completely separate and can continue to impact the world after the creator is gone. 

Keith Haring knew that he had the audience to impact many social causes the he believed in. This was mostly shown in his aids related works but also in many anti-drug campaigns. 
Haring is incredibly complex artist. He had a reason behind everything that he did and he had so many thoughts to portray through his work. I could go on forever about his work but nothing gets better than reading it from him. His journal entries and explanations of his work are so beyond inspiring that you can't help but love him. Check out all of his work and journals below and see for yourself!

1 comment:

  1. lovely bio. I have used an image from your post and linked to your post. Let me know if this is not fine. The post is still in draft state.