“Art should be something that liberates your soul, provokes the imagination and encourages people to go further.”
Keith Haring, (Reading, PA, 1958—New York, New York 1990) an artist and social activist, is known for his immediately recognizable bright, illustrative works. Interested in cartoons from a young age, he was encouraged to draw by his father, who was an amateur cartoonist. Haring studied commercial art briefly before moving to New York to study at the School of Visual Arts (SVA), where he instantly became absorbed in the street art scene. Haring rose to prominence when he began to create white chalk drawings on the black paper that covered blank advertising panels in the subway, creating hundreds between 1980-1985. He then began to create murals and other commissioned public works; the artist would use any medium that could hold a mark. In 1986, he opened the Pop Shop, a store that featured his images on items like t-shirts, posters, buttons, and toys. While many criticized him for what they deemed commercialization, Haring wanted anyone who liked his art to be able to afford it. After getting diagnosed with AIDS, Haring made more politically and socially charged work, often advocating for safe sex and AIDS awareness. He died of AIDS-related complications in 1990 at the age of 31.