Keith Haring, born in Reading, Pennsylvania, was a promising artist that made his initial mark through graffiti art in New York City subways in the early 1980s. He used rhythmic lines that seamlessly flowed together, images based largely on the broad themes of love, birth, death, sex, and war. Haring was able to unite his iconic imagery with strong social messages on these topics. His technique was simple and his artwork was primal enough for children and others to identify with. Haring’s art featured bright colors and direct messages making him a leading proponent of the Pop Art movement.
At a young age Haring found his love and passion for drawing. He developed basic skills from his father and popular cultural cartoons like Disney and Dr. Suess. In 1976, Haring attended commercial art school, the Ivy School of Professional Arts in Pittsburg, yet after two semesters decided to drop out after realizing he had no interest in becoming a commercial graphic artist. After a solo exhibition show in Pittsburg in 1978, Haring moved to New York City, enrolling in the School of Visual Arts. While in New York, he discovered a whole new and different community of artists; becoming friends with fellow graffiti artist like Jean-Michel Basquiat and Kenny Sharf he began actively participating and organizing shows with his fellow artists.
Haring achieved his first public attention with chalk drawings in the subways of New York. The direct, unvarnished line allowed him to make powerful images on these concepts gaining him international notoriety at a young age. In fact, in the 1980s he had over 100 solo and group exhibitions in galleries and worked on collaborations with dozens of prominent artists.
Keith Haring established the Keith Haring Foundation in 1989, its mandate being to provide funding and imagery to AIDS organizations and children's programs, and to expand the audience for Haring's work through exhibitions, publications and licensing of his images. Unfortunately Haring passed away due to AIDS related complications at the young age of 31 in New York.