Keith Haring graduated from Kutztown Area Senior High School in 1976 and spent
some time travelling across America before studying at the Art Centre in Pittsburgh.
In 1978 he moved to New York to attend the School of Visual Arts, where his
original approach was soon apparent in graffiti-inspired symbols expanded into
large-scale designs of generative energy.
At the height of the Punk Rock movement in the late 1970s he participated in
the lively New York club scene, working with such street artists as Samo
(Jean-Michel Basquiat, b 1960). In the summer of 1980 he took up drawing, inventing
intricate cartoon-style murals of mutant figures locked in hyper-physical engagement.
He was a meteoric star in American art during the 1980s, exhibiting and working
on projects throughout the USA, Europe and Asia, and his work became a symbol
of the tribal undercurrents that permeate metropolitan life. His accessible
imagery stems as much from Islamic and Japanese art as the sign language of
In 1986 the artist opened his own retail outlet, The Pop Shop, in New York and
was continuously engaged in projects of an extraordinarily diverse nature, from
murals on the Berlin Wall to paintings on hot air balloons, motor cars and decorative
accessories. A giant spectacolour billboard broadcast his famous
Radiant Child image in Times Square, first in 1982. He fell victim to the AIDS
epidemic in 1988 and died at the age of 31.