May 17 2018
Yesterday, I took a field trip to the Chicago Cultural Center to see Keith Haring's famous Chicago mural. What was originally planned as an outfit shoot turned into a mesmerizing experience that stayed with me into the evening. Later that night, I caught a wave of sadness for the loss of Haring, who died in 1990 from AIDS complications. I was sad for a moment because that year, we lost a visionary artist who had the balls to blend traditional art with street art and public performance art. His work, so colorful, iconic and meaningful, really struck a chord with me. I hadn't seen any of his work in person before – all I'd known was what I learned in my college art history course. Being there, seeing it live – shit. Took my breath away, yet made me feel part of something, like I belonged to a larger community of artists, both spoken and unspoken, famous and unknown, seen and unseen.
This massive mural was pulled from storage recently and put on display (finally). In 1989, Haring wanted to do a project in Chicago with artistic high school kids. He got his wish – he painted the thick, black outlines of figures, animals, shapes – and area high school youth filled in the rest with whatever they wanted, sans vulgarity or gang symbols. At this point in his young career, Haring could have been doing anything. He was famous and could have been making work to sell for the big bucks, but no – he opted to do this mural for Chicago and for youth. How amazing. Really got me thinking about my own work and what I want from it. Right now, I do it for myself so that I can teach myself that YES, I am creative and I am an artist and this thing can work. Selfish but necessary. I wish I knew more about Haring's process and if he ever talked down to himself about his work...going to read a biography about him here soon.
Haring's work lives on, long after his death. Will mine? What can I do to share my work with the community, how can I make meaning out of art for myself and for others? I left with these questions in mind and certainly no answers yet but the ol' brain is working. Thank you, Keith Haring, for being you. You inspired me to want more.
Location: The Chicago Cultural Center, Keith Haring mural, 4th floor
Jacket: Vintage, thrifted
Jeans: Abercrombie and Fitch jeggings, but I did the holes, hehe
Bag: Herschel Fifteen Fanny pak
Glasses: Frolic Vintage in Tampa
(Huge thanks to Julie Van De Wille for joining me and taking all the photos!)