This week’s painting is inspired by Keith Haring, who passed away in 1990 after living a short 31 years. He died from health complications related to AIDS. His art is youthful, vibrant, socially charged and in my opinion, brilliant. He started out by creating social commentary pieces illicitly on black sheets of paper that covered unused advertisement space in the New York Subway. The resulting backlash not only granted him instant notoriety and fame, but also landed him in a heap of trouble. He was arrested a few times, and was forced to pay many fines. However, all of that paid off, because it resulted in a hugely successful international public arts career. Haring painted one of his most famous murals on the Berlin Wall in 1986.
Although Haring was a staunch advocate for safe sex, he was diagnosed with AIDS in 1987. Instead of taking the news badly, he became incredibly prolific, knowing his life would be cut short. Young, but close to death, Haring had a perspective on life that allowed him to produce stunning artworks that encompassed life and death themes that would be impossible under other circumstances.
I feel that Haring would find this version of his painting comical. He had a lust for creativity and art that I believe the craft beer community also embodies. It was not until I utilized his characters that I began to understand his aesthetic and viewpoint on life. The simple outlines are freeing and an amazing form of art that embodies the spirit of the 80s in a way I will never understand, since I was only a decade old when they ended. Cheers to great art! Thanks Keith Haring for living your life to the fullest!