In 1978, the artist Keith Haring arrived at a New York that is bursting with color and energy. He was then a scholar at the School of Visual Arts (SVA) in Manhattan, and, having found friends, he began intricating himself into the spirited and liberal East Village culture.
He was prolific at those early years at SVA, creating work after work and proudly displaying them along the halls and rooms of the school. Haring drew inspiration from a lot of sources, not the least of which were the graffiti he saw at the Big Apple’s famous subways. “One day, riding the subway, I saw this empty black panel where an advertisement was supposed to go,” he told the writer David Sheff in a piece for Rolling Stone. “ I immediately realized that this was the perfect place to draw. I went back above ground to a card shop and bought a bow of white chalk, went back down and did a drawing on it. It was perfect—soft black paper; chalk drew on it really easily.”
Within five years, Haring created many more of these drawings (at times, 40 a day), which became familiar to tube commuters. The subway was the artist’s laboratory, where he worked out, conceptualized, experimented, and executed his ideas. “I kept seeing more and more of these black spaces, and I drew on them whenever I saw one. Because there were so fragile, people left them alone and respected them; they didn’t rub them out or try to mess them up,” he shared. “It gave them this other power. It was this chalk-white fragile thing in the middle of all this power and tension and violence that the subway was. People were completely enthralled.”
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Throughout his career, the man from Pennsylvania have integrated social issues into his public works, which included murals around New York as well as other global capitals such as Paris and Berlin. He went all around the world—Amsterdam, London, Tokyo, Bordeaux, and more—on workshop tours, taking East Village concerns to a bigger stage. Even during his last years, diagnosed with AIDS, he used his platform and art to generate activism and awareness about the disease up until his death in 1990.
Lacoste celebrates the late artist in its latest line. The French believes that they share Haring’s zest for life and spontaneity, which is why their collaboration is a fitting homage to his unique world and vision. Called Keith Haring x Lacoste, the collection underscores both the artist and label’s common value of blending art and fashion.
In line with a fashion world celebrating the return of the 1980s and the spirit of urban culture, these exclusive and original pieces serve as a canvas for the artist’s vibrant works. Haring x Lacoste combines the eccentricity of an all-over print with the sobriety of iconic pictograms. Multi-colored or in negative, the famous figures which are the painter’s hallmark spread across polo shirts, T-shirts, shirts, sweatshirts, dresses and swimsuits or appear on the lining of a bomber jacket, a sneaker or a reversible tote bag. For younger people, three watches are also available. The equally legendary “Barking Dog” and “Heart” drawings are displayed.
The partnership is made possible through Artestar, which represents high-profile artists, photographers, designers, and creative. Designed for all those who want to inject a touch of art in their life, this colorful, pop-influenced collection is now available in select Lacoste stores in Manila.