Subway Drawings By Keith Haring

Subway Drawings By Keith Haring

The subway stops in New York City became a safe haven and stomping grounds of pop artist Keith Haring’s art.  Utilizing the empty and unused advertisement spaces found throughout the subways, Haring began to tag as many empty spaces as possible, gaining more and more attention as the number of tags increased.  As he would get off a subway, he would search for the nearest empty space and immediately begin to create an image. Despite the fleeting lifespan of these works, the impact the pieces made on the people who saw them was lasting. Within each piece, Haring incorporated subtle references to political movements and issues of the 1980s.  Arguably his most recognizable and iconic figures, Radiant Baby and the Barking Dog, debuted within the subways, and continued to be figure Haring often used.

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Haring’s New York subway drawings emphasized a sense of urgency to the issues that were touched upon in each of the tags. The subway drawings created a large following and eventually led Haring to become well known in both the art world as well as the rest of the world.  These subway drawings were a crucial turning point of Haring’s life as an artist. Despite using new materials later on in his career, Haring never fully strayed from his beginnings and continued to use the same figures in each of his pieces, such as the radiant baby, barking dog, and human figure, becoming a signature of his work.

Subway Drawing #8 by Keith Haring

After becoming largely successful due to the subway drawings, Keith Haring used his platform to speak on issues that were plaguing the world during the 1980s – the biggest being the AIDS epidemic.  Haring strived to make his art accessible and enjoyable for everyone after opening the Pop Shop in New York in 1986. The Pop Shop gave everyone the opportunity to purchase merchandise with Haring’s designs on them. Haring’s unique use of resources such as empty advertising space and chalk has influenced many street artists today, including Banksy and Herr Nilsson to name a few.

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For more information on Keith Haring’s subway drawings contact [email protected]