What I Admire About Artist, Keith Haring

If you have seen bright colored, faceless figures then you surely know Keith Haring. Philanthropic and abstract, Keith Haring was a unique artist with a bold voice. Plenty of color, shapes, movement, and lots of perspective, Keith Haring created legendary art and iconic murals.

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Keith Haring is one of my favorite artists and I remember hearing his name for the first time in art class. An admirer of his creative portfolio, here is a list of all the things I love about Keith Haring.

Keith Haring, Untitled (Dancing Dogs), 1981. Photo from Sothebys.com

1). Keith was born May 4th, 1958 in Reading, Pennsylvania. Reading, PA is a 30 minute drive from my hometown of Lancaster. I find this fact neat having live near Keith’s stomping grounds. Local sculptures, posters, and other memorabilia help to recall his artistic footprints and keep his memory alive.

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Keith Haring’s Untitled (Figure Balancing on Dog) 1986 in Kutztown Park. Photo from Hyperallergic.com
Keith Haring poster at Kutztown Middle School. Photo from Hyperallergic.com

Pittsburg, Pennsylvania was also an important location in Keith’s life. Pittsburgh was where he had his first art show.

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2). He splashed color in drab places, including subways stations. Never afraid to draw, paint, or graffiti, Keith had an artistic style that gabbed the attention of many. He was also never afraid to be who he was or afraid to be arrested for defacing public spaces. Keith was a fearless, risk-taking artist.

…the ‘subway drawings’ started to backfire, because everyone was stealing the pieces. I’d go down and draw in the subway, and two hours later every piece would be gone. They were turning up for sale.”

Keith Haring
Untitled, 1988. Photo from Widewalls.ch

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3). Keith believed in the next generation. He recruited young children to help him create murals, including a mural for a children’s hospital in Paris where 900 kids made the mural come to life. Another time, 1,000 school kids helped create a 90 foot banner of Lady Liberty. He also hosted art workshops for kids.

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Photo from Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago
Photo from Mural Arts Philadelphia

4). A man of many creations and ideas, Keith was also a man of many words. He spoke several memorable quotes during his lifetime, including, “I don’t think art is propaganda; it should be something that liberates the soul, provokes the imagination and encourages people to go further. It celebrates humanity instead of manipulating it.” And “When it is working, you completely go into another place, you’re tapping into things that are totally universal, completely beyond your ego and your own self. That’s what it’s all about.”

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