American Pop Artist Keith Haring 54th Birthday honored by Google Doodle today May, 4 2012. Keith Haring was born May 4, 1958 in Reading, Pennsylvania and died at a young age of 31 on February 16, 1990) due to AIDS complications. At a young age, he likes to draw cartoons as influenced by his cartoonist father. The pencil in his hands turns into a paintbrush as he begun painting graffiti art and to enhanced his God given talent he enrolled in The Ivy School of Professional Art in Pittsburgh. Haring started his pop art murals in his small town in Pittsburgh but he realized that New York was the place to achieve his dreams. He moved to the Big Apple at the age of 19, and attended the School of Visual Arts in New York, later is history -- the great American Artist was born.
Aside from his Dad, Keith Haring was also influenced by author William Burroughs, Walt Disney and artist Pierre Alechinsky in which his visual fascination led him a career that began in chalk graffiti drawings in the walls New York subway. In one of his rare Rolling Stone interview in 1989, he was asked, How did you begin drawing in the subways? "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."
Not even NYPD police can stop Keith Haring graffiti drawings, he was arrested many times but since it was chalk and could easily be erased, it was like a borderline case. Haring vivid drawings in New York particularly "The Radiant Baby" draws public attention in the early 80's when photographer Tseng Kwong Chi filmed into pop art exhibitions.
Keith Haring was known for his signature pop art with "bold lines, vivid colors, and active figures" which represents life and unity. In eraly 80's, Haring organized art exhibitions in different parts in New York that led friendships with other artists including Madonna. He designed a jacket worn by Madonna for a TV performance of "Like a Virgin". Haring friendship with Andy Warhol led to higher level of pop art themes on Haring's several pieces including "Andy Mouse."
Armed with a paintbrush, Keith Haring murals and graffiti designs led him to international art scenes where he painted wall murals in Australia, France, Italy, Brazil and Germany. Haring also painted murals in on the Berlin Wall at Brandenburg Gate in 1986. Haring pop art work was even visible to commercial products such as Absolut Vodka, Swatch watches, Lucky Strike cigarettes, Coke and a label of expensive Bordeaux red wine Chateau Mouton Rothschild.
Haring's Pop Shop store in New York which displays his array of pop art work including from tiny memorablia to a floor to ceiling murals is the backbone of Keith Haring Foundation which continue to help kids in Bronx until now. When Haring opened his Pop Shop store in 1986, his work began reflecting more socio-political themes, such as anti-Apartheid, AIDS awareness, and the crack cocaine epidemic. Haring who is openly gay has used his art to benefit gay causes. Since the AIDS epidemic began, he has been an advocate of safe sex, and the disease that has taken the lives of some of his close friends has been an inspiration in his work. But Haring himself was tested HIV positive and succumed to cancer later at the age of 31. Haring died February 16, 1990. Haring's death didn't stop his legacy when his imagery is widely recognized visual language of the 20th century. Haring's tribute came year after year on his birthday.
Last month, a retrospective exhibit of Haring's work, Exhibitions: Keith Haring: 1978–1982, opened at the Brooklyn Museum in New York.
Today, May 4, 2012, the 54th birthday of Haring, Google honored him in a Google Doodle.