Keith Haring: The Worlds Loudest Artist

American Artist Keith Haring’s creations spoke to the world more than words ever could.


Israel Gonzalez, Contributor

Seeking inspiration from the 1980s New York art subculture, Keith Haring became a widely influential pop artist during his lifetime. Many artists have come up from New York, but most are incomparable to Haring who grew to have such a global impact he’s become an almost immortal figure. In an era with some of the world’s greatest artists like Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring’s animated imagery was widely recognized as a revolutionary, wildly creative form of inner expression. He had a way of delivering messages and creating a dialogue through his incredible geometric, primary-colored, pop art forms. Haring’s work would depict life, war, sex, and death through a child-like, simplistic, and scaled-down style. A drawing of a baby became his signature as it represented the purest, most unadulterated form of human existence. 

Haring’s visual language was determined by the immediate world around him, and his art was shaped by the emotions of the people around him. His inspiration was organic and based purely on the day-to-day experiences of people. For Haring, sitting in the subway stations just to see the graffiti on the trains was a common experience. Eventually, he began to create his own graffiti in the subway on empty commercial panels. He brought white chalk with him and began to draw pictures around New York, creating as many as thirty per day. As commuters passed through the subway, they would see his artwork, gaining Haring recognition as a street artist. This would eventually mark the humble beginnings of an incredible art career.

Haring created art in the way he did because he believed that viewers don’t have to understand the meaning of artwork to appreciate it. He believed that artistic interpretation is up to one’s imagination as they too can be the artist. Thus, he disliked explaining the aspects of his creations.

Haring began to draw for world-famous publications and his life as an artist was soon documented by the media. At this time, Haring started drawing inspiration from the club and party scenes in New York, and from the wild, carefree people of the city. He always had music playing around him which allowed him to visualize movement and sound in his art.

Keith was self-motivated, fueled by his mood, to create dozens of drawings a day, visualizing emotions that could only be described by words.

Keith Haring died of AIDS-related complications at the age of 31 on February 16, 1990. Although he died at a young age, his likable art and way of life inspired countless future generations. Today, he is considered one of the most beloved artists in the world. His style of drawing has immortalized itself, waking up and inspiring the inner child in all of us.