Openly gay Keith Haring was and still is a legendary artist, his iconic artwork at one time filled empty ad spaces on New York’s subways, his activism and creation was exhaustive. His expressions of birth, death and war are still to this day inspiring.

Haring would have been 55 on Saturday (4th May), however, he died aged 31 from AIDS- related complications in 1990. He is best remembered for his visionary, cartoonish, vibrant and often politically charged artwork.

Born in Pennsylvania, Haring grew up with his mother and father. Allen Haring, his father, was a cartoonist.

Keith studied commercial art at The Ivy School Of Professional Art and at 19, in 1978 he moved to New York City – where Keith’s work would gain him recognition and catapult him into a landmark artist.

It was in the subways of NYC that Haring first achieved public notoriety and in the early years established friendships with other emerging artists such asMadonna and the more established Andy Warhol.

He was diagnosis with AIDS in 1988 and on hearing the news Haring said in an interview that it made him appreciate the little things.

‘Appreciating things in a way that you never appreciated before. Every day when I walk out of the house and feel a warm breeze and look up and see the clouds in the sky, it’s incredible.’

He set up the Keith Haring Foundation 1989, its mandate being to provide funding and imagery to AIDS organisations and children’s programs and to expand the audience for Haring’s work through exhibitions, publications and the licensing of his images.

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Last year, on what would have been Haring’s 54th birthday Google honoured him with his own Google Doodle.

You can find out more about Keith Haring atwww.haring.com

 

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Opinions expressed in this article may not reflect those of THEGAYUK, its management or editorial teams. If you'd like to comment or write a comment, opinion or blog piece, please click here.