Keith Haring was born in 1958 in Pennsylvania and began drawing at and early age, especially cartoons. He attended the Ivy School of Pittsburgh in 1976, but dropped out to give his own exhibitions and in 1978 he moved to New York City. He enrolled in the School of Visual arts where he was introduced to the street art movement. He became actively involved in underground guerrilla art with contemporaries like Kenny Scharf and Jean Michel Basquiat.
Haring was heavily influenced by Warhol pop art as well as Christo, who’s work is always very public. In 1980 he began drawing on the unused bulletin boards in the NYC subway stations with white chalk. His drawings were characterized by simple repetitive lines and strong symbols which were made in mass, for the masses. During the early 80’s Haring’s work began to be widely recognized for it’s stark references to major social issues and in 1986 he opened Pop Shop and began mass producing his artwork on highly commercial items like t shirts.
He painted many murals around the world to promote non profits, hospitals, and child centers. In in 1988 he was diagnosed with AIDS and in 89 he created the Keith Haring Foundation to provide funds to AIDS research and children’s centers, as well as spread awareness about AIDS. Haring died in February 1990 from AIDS complications, but his bold style and blunt messages have forever left their mark on how future art is made, is displayed, and deals with its subject matter.
Urban Outfitters, has released its new OBEYx Keith Haring collection, a collab between the California-based streetwear brand and the late artist’s foundation. The women’s styles (they’ve got guys stuff, too) include four different tees splashed with Haring’s signature offbeat designs. We’re talking his famous “Radiant Baby” creation (which made the street art pioneer a household name back in the ‘80s), the iconic “Red Heart” graphic, and even a graphic collage mash-up of Haring and fellow contemporary favorite Shepard Fairey’s work.
Even though he passed away in 1990, this OBEY collab isn’t Haring’s first foray into the fashion world. His trademark creations have been stamped on everything from Nicholas Kirkwood heels to chairs to some unexpectedly stylish condoms.
Keith Haring was inspired by graffiti art and did chalk drawings in the subways of New York. He have done art for many museums such as Collingwood College, National Gallery of Victoria, and the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art.