Keith Haring

Keith Haring

” 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. “
– Keith Haring

Educate and elevate releases my creativity for the reasons I fell in love with the subject. We utilised a clothing brand to form an idea that enables us to get our message into the wider audiences & then my designs will have a positive message that hopefully will have longevity, future designs aim to educate our audiences to the true influences in the world through creativity, it annoys me that’s artists works are copied, like those of Keith haring etc and re produced in mass markets and consumed by people that don’t have a clue what he did for society or why he was so influential, my aim is to put a stop to this, and launch designs dedicated to these masters while I educate the masses how they really came about.

Ok so I have a plan it goes like this:  + A Subway + A Keith Haring lookalike + Blackboard Walls + Chalk = Photoshoot = Educating the Masses on other people that Educated their minds from the Grind. Here are a sketch of the designs to come in dedication to a legend!

Educate Elevate In Respects To Keith HaringEducate Elevate In Respects To Keith Haring

The Education Starts Here:

Keith Haring was born in Pennsylvania. He developed a love for drawing at a very early age, learning basic cartooning skills from his father and from the popular culture around him, such as Dr. Seuss and Walt Disney. Alot like myself my dads father was a cartoonist for local papers and I was taught expression through design from a young age.

Haring later moved to New York City and enrolled in the School of Visual Arts. In New York, Haring found a thriving alternative art community that was developing outside the gallery and museum system, in the downtown streets, the subways and spaces in clubs and former dance halls. Here he became friends with fellow artists Kenny Scharf and Jean-Michel Basquiat, as well as the musicians, performance artists and graffiti writers that comprised the burgeoning art community.

With these influences Haring was able to push his own youthful impulses toward a one kind of graphic expression based on the primacy of the line. Also drawn to the public and participatory nature of Christo’s work, in particular Running Fence, and by Andy Warhol’s unique fusion of art and life, Haring was determined to devote his career to creating a truly public art. He was particularly inspired by the beauty and spontaneity of the graffiti he saw in the subways. Graffiti spoke of a world that was hip and streetwise, creative and spontaneous and underground – all that he admired and wanted to be. (this was the same desire for me.) At the same time, he admired the technical mastery and calligraphic quality of the graffiti artists’ ‘tags.’

In 1980, Haring found a highly effective medium that allowed him to communicate with the wider audience he desired, when he noticed the unused advertising panels covered with matte black paper in a subway station. He began to create drawings in white chalk upon these blank paper panels throughout the subway system. Between 1980 and 1985, Haring produced hundreds of these public drawings in rapid rhythmic lines, sometimes creating as many as forty “subway drawings” in one day. This seamless flow of images became familiar to New York commuters, who often would stop to engage the artist when they encountered him at work. The subway became, as Haring said, a “laboratory” for working out his ideas and experimenting with his simple lines.

    “I bought a roll of oak-tag paper and cut it up and put it all over the floor and worked on this whole group of drawings. The first few were abstracts, but then these images started coming. They were humans and animals in different combinations. Then flying saucers were zapping the humans. I remember trying to figure out where this stuff came from, but I have no idea. It just grew into this group of drawings. I was thinking about these images as symbols, as a vocabulary of things. In one a dog’s being worshipped by these people. In another one the dog is being zapped by a flying saucer. Suddenly it made sense to draw on the street, because I had something to say.”

“One day, riding the subway, I saw this empty black panel where an advertisement was supposed to go. I immediately realized that this was the perfect place to draw. I went back above ground to a card shop and bought a box of white chalk, went back down and did a drawing on it. It was perfect–soft black paper; chalk drew on it really easily.”

    “I kept seeing more and more of these black spaces, and I drew on them whenever I saw one. Because they were so fragile, people left them alone and respected them; they didn’t rub them out or try to mess them up. It gave them this other power. It was this chalk-white fragile thing in the middle of all this power and tension and violence that the subway was. People were completely enthralled.”

“The context of where you do something is going to have an effect. The subway drawings were, as much as they were drawings, performances. It was where I learned how to draw in public. You draw in front of people. For me it was a whole sort of philosophical and sociological experiment. When I drew, I drew in the daytime which meant there were always people watching. There were always confrontations, whether it was with people that were interested in looking at it, or people that wanted to tell you you shouldn’t be drawing there…”

   “I was learning, watching people’s reactions and interactions with the drawings and with me and looking at it as a phenomenon. Having this incredible feedback from people, which is one of the main things that kept me going so long, was the participation of the people that were watching me and the kinds of comments and questions and observations that were coming from every range of person you could imagine, from little kids to old ladies to art historians.”

^ This is why I design. You guys push me on 🙂

Between 1980 and 1989, Haring achieved international recognition and participated in numerous group and solo exhibitions. Haring completed numerous public projects in the first half of the 80’s as well, ranging from an animation for the Spectacolor billboard in Times Square, designing sets and backdrops for theaters and clubs, developing watch designs for Swatch and an advertising campaign for Absolut vodka; and creating murals worldwide.

In April 1986, Haring opened the Pop Shop, a retail store in Soho selling T-shirts, toys, posters, buttons and magnets bearing his images. Haring considered the shop to be an extension of his work and painted the entire interior of the store in an abstract black on white mural, creating a striking and unique retail environment. The shop was intended to allow people greater access to his work, which was now readily available on products at a low cost. The shop received criticism from many in the art world, however Haring remained committed to his desire to make his artwork available to as wide an audience as possible, and received strong support for his project from friends, fans and mentors including Andy Warhol.

 “I wanted to sell my paintings because it would enable me to quit my job, whether as a cook or delivering house plants or whatever else I was doing–and paint full time. But I had to have a gallery just to give me distance.”

This is the same principle for Educate and Elevate for me as a designer, I am aware that some may criticise me in the art world for being educated in Graphic Design and appealing to mass audiences, but no matter what you tell people they always will say its ‘for the money’ to be honest its never been once for any money same with my full-time job.

I feel its my aim in life to help people communicate through images its what I am best at , and if that offends you then fair be it, but wouldn’t it be better to educate yourselves to understand the reasoning’s why. We are not just another clothing line like Keith Haring I remain committed to my desire to make my artwork available to as wide an audience as possible, so our message can be heard – clothing this is a media tool that can be used to get a message out the the wider world. The reproductions on clothing annoy me so I want ours to highlight this as reproducing t-shirts ourselves but with educational designs and showing society on a whole what the consumerist industries of today have turned into! Designers, Concept Creators & those that change societies for the better need to be respected! We plan to do this with a 90’s Vibe to give you all that youth nostalgia, in the days of positivity & social justice.

 “As an art student and being sort of in the underground and having very precise and cynical ideas about the art world, the traditional art-dealer gallery represented a lot that I hated about the art world. But people started to see an opportunity to make a lot of money buying my work. I got disillusioned with letting dealers and collectors come to my studio. They would come in and, for prices that were nothing, a couple hundred dollars, go through all the paintings and then not get anything or try to bargain.”

Throughout his career, Haring devoted much of his time to public works, which often carried social messages. He produced more than 50 public artworks between 1982 and 1989, in dozens of cities around the world, many of which were created for charities, hospitals, children’s day care centers and orphanages.

The now famous Crack is Wack mural of 1986 has become a landmark along New York’s FDR Drive.

Keith Haring Crack Is Wack Mural

Other projects include; a mural created for the 100th anniversary of the Statue of Liberty in 1986, on which Haring worked with 900 children; a mural on the exterior of Necker Children’s Hospital in Paris, France in 1987; and a mural painted on the western side of the Berlin Wall three years before its fall. Haring also held drawing workshops for children in schools and museums in New York, Amsterdam, London, Tokyo and Bordeaux, and produced imagery for many literacy programs and other public service campaigns.

So anyways I thought I’d warn all those that are now clued up. This Spring Summer 2013 – Fashion In the Mass Markets are heading back to 90’s Pop. So I have a feeling there will be many kids wearing the copies of his work along with rip offs of Roy Licenstien & Andy Warhol this Summer with no clue to his relevance in society. Please  if you see this go ahead and educate them, or get angry at the corporations that don’t educate or send them too this post!

I believe Keith had the right balance between work for a roof over your head & design for your passion in life, a goal I have set myself since I was young. He was truely a massive inspiration to me. And continues to influence me I hope by reading this some of you have a bigger understanding about him and his influences also where I plan to take Educate & Elevate through the design community.

Peace Out Noo 🙂



Quotes Taken From Various Sources: 
Keith Haring Journals (Penguin Classics Deluxe Editions) 
Keith Haring [Book] by Julia Gruen, Jeffrey Deitch

One comment

  1. Amazing influence! love that you are influenced by real art & not copy cats x

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