While probably not so familiar to a UK audience, Keith Haring was a tour-de-force in New York street art at the start of the 1980’s, making his mark with chalk drawings on the NY subway.
In a way, he could be thought of as an early version of our own “Banksy”.
Born May 4th 1958, Keith Haring’s career soon took him into international art, where his muriel designs were used to carry socio-political themes: the crack-cocaine epidemic, anti-Apartheid, and AIDS.
A friendship with Andy Warhol helped connect him with pop culture, and soon Keith became a key design figure for growing celebrities such as Madonna, as well as being tapped by the advertising industry for images.
In 1986 Haring opened a small shop in SoHo called Pop Shop, selling merchandise bearing his iconic images including t-shirts, toys, posters and other objects with reproductions of his art.
In 1988, Haring was diagnosed with AIDS. He established the Keith Haring Foundation in 1989, to provide funding and imagery to AIDS organisations and children’s charities, as well as to expand the audience for Haring’s work through exhibitions, publications and the licensing rights.
Haring used his art during the last years of his life to speak about his own illness, as well as generate greater awareness about AIDS.
His last works, before dying of AIDS in 1990, were a painting on the rear wall of an Italian church, and six animations for Sesame Street, showing just how versatile and in demand he was as an international artist.
The Keith Haring Google Doodle is the 95th this year.
More on the Google Doodles already launched for 2012 can be found here: Google Doodles: 2012 (all)