Keith Harring Inspired by Social Issues

Keith Harring was a contemporary painter born in 1958, in Pennsylvania. At an early age he was found drawing and developed the skills from his father. He started with simple cartoons drawn from Disney characters and popular books he loved. As his talent developed he found himself being drawn and inspired by public places. He lived in NewYork and became fascinated with downtown streets, subways, clubs, dance halls. His friends were graffiti artists, writers, musicians, and performers. The energy of such a life is what inspires his current work. He took social issues to heart and it is seen throughout his work. He was also inspired by the works of other artists like Pierre Alechinsky, Jean Dubuffet, Brion Gysin and Robert Henri. With all of these influencing factors Harring became determined to make his work public. In the 80’s he was inspired to draw on large advertising panels in the subway.  Because there was such a public audience here he began to draw several white chalk drawings on black matte paper and ended up doing hundreds of these drawings in the subway system. During this time he achieved international recognition. He has done several public paintings regarding social issues, including a billboard in Times Square.

This artist found his inspiration in living and in all thing that surround his New York life and his work reflects this and he was very apt at expressing his feelings in this regard. Keith Harring acomplished much in his short life. He died from AIDS at the age of 32.

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