Today is a somewhat sad occasion, as it marks the twenty-second anniversary of the death of my favorite artist, Keith Haring. Younger bloggers may not be familiar with his work, but any Gen X’er worth their salt would recognize his artwork in an instant. As a teen I must have recreated his “Radiant Baby” in fabric paint on every pair of acid washed jeans I owned.
As student of New York City’s prestigious School of Visual Arts; Haring found a home among the alternative art crowd, befriending the likes of Jean-Michel Basquiat and Kenny Scharf. And while his work did eventually earn him success as a pop culture artist, it was his dedication to free public artwork and social consciousness that earned my respect.
One of the things Haring was most known for were his chalk drawings on the unused advertising panels of NYC’s subway system. Often times he’d start a sketch and then leave the chalk behind in the hopes someone would find inspiration and add to the drawing. In this day and age of SOPA, I find his gift of free art inspirational. As a writer who has given away more free books than I’ve sold, I like to think Keith Haring’s life influenced the way I see art. I encourage you to check out his website and see firsthand the legacy Keith Haring left behind.