Keith Haring - An Artistically Voiced Social Messenger
The Pennsylvanian Graffiti artist & a social worker, Keith Haring, was
born on May 04, 1958 in Reading, and was raised in Kurtztown,
Pennsylvania.He involved himself in drawing at a very young age. His
father taught him the basics of cartoon drawing.
Haring graduated in 1976 from a high school and took admission in Ivy
School of Professional Arts, Pittsburg to study graphic design. He later
developed interest in commercial graphic art and dropped out of the
college in the second semester (1978). He used to work and study on his
own. Keith then enrolled himself in the School of Visual Arts in the New
York City to study Graffiti art. Here,he found that art was not only
restricted to museums and galleries, but also obvious everywhere around
such as, subways, clubs, and downtown streets. During the same phase, he
befriended many well-known artists, musicians, etc. With full readiness,
he started participating and organizing exhibitions at various venues.
Among the initial public displays of his art included chalk drawings in
the subways of New York. By 1980, "Radiant Baby" had become the signature
statement of Keith Haring.
While being a student at the School of Visual Arts, Haring experimented
with the various forms of art such as, collage, video, etc. Haring
received international recognition for his art forms between 1980 and
1989. His first solo exhibition in New York was in 1981 at the Tony
Shafrazi Gallery. He also participated in various other International
exhibitions of global acclaim. In 1983, he met the famous American
artist, Andy Warhol, who went on to be the key influence of many of
Haring's works, including "Andy Mouse" (1985). 1985 was also the year
when Keith Haring started with his first canvass drawing.
Later in 1986, Haring opened a retail store, the Pop Store. He sold toys,
magnets, T-shirts, and posters bearing his images. He devoted much of his
time in creating works with social messages. Keith produced many artworks
in many cities around the world, between 1982 and 1989. His famous work,
"Crack is Wack," was completed in 1986. It is now located at New York on
FDR drive. He also developed designs and advertisement campaign for
various companies such as, Swatch and Absolut Vodka, to name a couple. He
took Drawing classes for children in Tokyo, New York, London, Bordeaux,
and Amsterdam. He even devoted his time and art for various literacy and
social welfare programs.
In 1988, Keith , who was a gay, was diagnosed with AIDS. After that, he
established Keith Haring Foundation for funding the AIDS patients and
several children welfare programs. In his last days, he generated public
awareness among people about AIDS through his paintings and art.
Throughout his career, he participated in more than 100 solo and group
exhibitions. Through his paintings, Keith expressed the universal truths
of life such as, birth, love, sex, war, and death. His paintings not just
reflected life, but also created it. June 1989, he painted the mural
"Tuttomondo," his last artwork, on the back wall of the Church of
At 31, on February 16, 1990, Keith Haring died of AIDS. On May 04, 1990,
at the Cathedral of St. John the Devine, New York, a memorial service was
organized for him, which was attended by more than 1000 people. Today,
his work can be seen in several museums and art galleries, all around the
Annette Labedzki received her BFA at the Emily Carr College of Art and
Design in Vancouver, B.C. Canada. She has more than 25 years experience.
She is the founder and developer of an online art gallery featuring
original art from all over the world. It is a great site for art
collectors to buy original art. Is is also a venue for artists to display
and sell their art . Artists can join for free and their image upload is
unlimited. Please visit the website at http://www.labedzki-art.com