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Keith Haring died on February 16th 1990. Itís strange to think that only two years later Iíd be living in New York City. Our life paths came so close. If he had survived AIDS, I have a feeling we would have met. I guess it wasnít meant to be.
I first came across Keithís work through John, my first boyfriend. He had a poster of his work in his apartment in Pacific Heights. Iím just now realizing that I met John days before Keithís passing. A few days ago, I talked to John and I found out that he had driven him in 1986 while Keith was in San Francisco painting murals at Club Dv8. He says Keith was ďlow key, soft spoken, and friendly.Ē I now vaguely remember these paintings. (Interesting side note: in1996ish I sneaked into the VIP room at Club Dv8, and since I was not wearing a shirt, I had my back autographed by Nina Hagen; it was awesome).
Keithís work opened my eyes to a whole new world. I was drawn to the simplicity of lines and color; I felt an immediate connection. For the next couple of years, I imitated his work, I didnít know better. As an artist, I didnít yet know who I was. Though I didnít think of myself as Ďartistí back then, I now see that I was. I was just starting off. It wasnít until I started my series of LITTLE Girls in 1998 that I found my calling and I stopped the imitation and in some ways said good-bye to Keith, but thankfully you can still see his influence in my work.
The piece here is 20 years old; itís Untitled, 1991. Itís strange to look at it now and see how Iíve evolved. Today, Itís stored in my closets, but back then, it hung above my bed and I remember John telling me that, because of the green penis, I should consider taking it down when my parents came to visit. I refused; I left it up. They said nothing ☺
Iím almost done reading Keithís authorized biography; but because of a newfound inspiration, Iím taking my sweet little old time. Thank you Keith for the beauty of work you left behind. Our world is a much better place because of you. And because of you, Iíve found my calling. Though we didnít get a chance to meet, I feel you watching over me. In this past week, the outpour of ideas has been a little overwhelming, but amazing! Cheers to you! (To be continued yet againÖ)