Artist of the Week: Keith Haring

Painting: Untitled

“I will draw as much as I can for as many people as I can for as long as I can”

Keith Haring is a Pop artist that was born in 1958 in Reading, Pennsylvania. Haring discovered the love for drawing at a young age when his father taught him basic cartooning skills. Later in life Haring moved to New York where he stumbled upon an alternative art community that opened him up to fellow artists, musicians, graffiti artists and performers. In the 1980’s Haring could often be found in the subways drawing on the unused advertising panels with chalk. These chalk drawings became a way he could communicate with the wider audience that he so desired. Haring used this unusual canvas as a “laboratory” to develop his work and experiment with lines. His success continued to grown from 1980 to 1989 when he was involved in various public artworks, many of which carried a social message. Haring’s work was extended to retail when he opened up the Pop Shop that sells toys, T-shirts, posters, buttons and magnets of his work further allowing his work to b available to a greater audience.

In 1988 Haring was diagnosed with AIDS and in 1989, he established the Keith Haring Foundation which provides funding and imagery to AIDS organizations and children’s programs. The works that Haring listed in the last years of his life were used to generate activism and awareness about AIDS.

Haring was highly respected as a contemporary artist and has collaborated and worked with artists and performers such as Yoko Ono, Madonna, Grace Jones and Andy Warhol.

Haring is inspired by the work of William Burroughs, Jean Dubuffet, Brion Gysin, Pierre Alechinsky, Andy Warhol and Robert Henri’s manifesto The Art Spirit, which influenced his own youthful nature towards “a singular kind of graphic expression based on the primacy of the line.” Haring used his lines to express universal concepts of war, love, birth, death and sex, which resonated with a wide and diverse audience allowing his work to become a “universally recognized visual language of the 20th century.”

Much of Haring’s work is untitled but is easily recognisable because of his signature sketched block characters (such as the dog), which were reduced to their most simplistic components and his use of bold lines and colours.

Recreate this look using:
Polish Pro Blanca for the White
Polish Pro Pink Pareo or Hot Orange for Orange
Polish Pro Red Rock for the Red
Polish Pro Ebony for the Black
Polish Pro Calming Lavender for the Purple
Polish Pro Sage it Ain’t So for the Green

References:
- Genn, R. [Internet] 2014. Art Quotes by Keith Haring – Art Quotes – the Painter’s Keys Resource of Art Quotations. The Art Quotes.com website. Available from: http://artquotes.robertgenn.com/auth_search.php?name=keith+haring#.U0zXP... [Accessed 15 Apr 2014]
- Keith Haring Foundation. [Internet]. 2014. Bio | Keith Haring. The Haring.com website. Available from: http://www.haring.com/!/about-haring/bio#.U0zwRv20zwI [Accessed 15 Apr 2014]
- Kimmelman, M. Internet]. 1990. Review/Art; A Look at Keith Haring, Especially on the Graffiti. The Ney York Times.com website. Available From: http://www.nytimes.com/1990/09/21/arts/review-art-a-look-at-keith-haring... [Accessed 15 Apr 2014]
- Laurent, O. [Internet]. 2013. Rétrospective Keith Haring au musée d’Art moderne de la Ville de Paris. Lhomme de Tendance.fr website. Available from: http://www.lhommetendance.fr/retrospective-keith-haring/ [Accessed 15 Apr 2014]