Simplistic and Broad. Keith Haring

Keith Haring (Featured image: picstopin)

Keith Haring (Featured image: picstopin)

What would your friends say if they were asked what is the most interesting thing about you? Would they comment on your cleverness, kindness or your imagination?

In Keith’s case, his friends noticed the smirks, the roll of his eyes and the way that he would smile. Above all, his friends remember that Keith was “crazy about drawing.”

“If I was going to draw, there had to be a reason. That reason, I decided, was for people. The only way art lives is through the experience of the observer.” – Keith Haring

In school, his art teachers observed how young Haring loved to draw lines and anything that resembled line patterns. In high school, Keith began to experiment with abstract drawings, a style of art in which objects do not resemble those known in physical nature. He started to fill large chalkboard areas, with little shapes that in the end created another large shape. His technique also included drawing a line that seemed to flow endlessly with no beginning and no end.


So, how did Keith’s drawings capture our attention? One day, Keith recalls looking at walls of the subway station. He noticed that many squares on the walls were left blank with no advertisements to fill them.

“I remember noticing a panel in the Times Square station and immediately going above-ground and buying chalk. After the first drawing, things just fell into place. I began drawing in the subways as a hobby on my way to work. I had to ride the subways often and would do a drawing while waiting for a train.” – Keith Haring

After a short time people began to notice and expect his beautiful shapes and colors in New York City streets. On February 16, 1990, this young American artist died at the young age of 31. Keith Haring’s graffiti, pop and contemporary art will always be remembered for his simplistic and broad views.



To better understand Keith Haring’s work, notice details from each drawing and reflect on the following points.

  1. Describe the movement (motion) you see in each of the following drawings: Barking Dog, Best Buddies, Radiant Child
  2. The Family Dog tag is, aside from the Radiant Child, Haring’s most famous tag. What do you believe each symbol could represent?
  3. The crawling baby, with lines emanating from around its body, is known as the
    Radiant Baby. What words come to mind when you think of the word baby and the movement the tag is showing?

Categories: Biography

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4 replies

  1. I wonder why he died at age thirty one?

  2. The most interesting thing about me is that I can get any lego pieces and make a lego.