Eternal youth

Kulte invites you once again to discover or rediscover cult references which contributed to founding and developing our latest spring-summer collection Forever Young. This time it's a street artist whose work you've already seen that we're putting in the spotlight, and it's Keith HARING! the opportunity for you to cultivate yourself a little more, or to refresh your memory...


Keith Allen Haring was an American designer, painter, sculptor, and a cornerstone of the democratization of street art in the 1980s. He was born on May 4, 1958 in Reading, Pennsylvania, but it is a few kilometers further north, in Kutztown that he spent most of his childhood surrounded by his three sisters and his parents, and guided by rather conservative values ​​according to him.

Young Keith likes to party, listens to the Beatles and Aerosmith. He discovered a passion for drawing very early on, so at the age of 18 he began his studies in this direction at the Ivy School of Professional Art in Pittsburgh and specialized in advertising drawing. This will not last, and for good reason, HARING sees bigger and it is in New York that he begins a new course at the School of Visual Art. He will broaden his horizons there, and it is from there that he will no longer be content to express himself only through drawing but also through paintings, installations, collages. Even if drawing will remain his preferred means throughout his work.


Immersed in this cultural broth that is New York, it is outside of his school and art gallery openings, but in contact with the alternative culture of the time that he will develop his universe, a universe graphic, colorful, even childish, which contrasts with the supports on which he creates, namely the metro, the street, and disused warehouses.

Keith will therefore be very influenced by his contemporaries, but we can sense in his work older references such as that of the Frenchman Jean DUBUFFET (painter, plastic sculptor and theoretician of “art brut” inspired by paintings and sculptures of marginalized and mentally ill) or even Robert Henri (American painter and professor, major figure of American Realism, a broad artistic and philosophical movement located between 1860 and 1940 and consisting of highlighting a certain American social reality).


HARING will experience a rapid rise in the artistic world due in particular to his immense talent, it seems that he painted without sketches and at crazy speed (practical when you are not in the legality) but also a desire "to be in the world", with art accessible to all that can be found by chance in the streets of New York.

He faced criticism from this same artistic elite when he opened his Pop Shop in Soho where you could find T-shirts and other products derived from his work. But that will not prevent him from working with icons of his time such as Madonna or Grace JONES, and from being exhibited for the first time in New York in 1982.

Among the best known of his creations, the Radiant Baby on which he said:

"The year I turned 21, I spent the summer teaching art at a preschool in Brooklyn. It was by far the most rewarding summer I've ever had. There is nothing that makes me happier than making a child smile. The reason why my baby has become my logo, my signature, is that it is the most positive, the purest experience that the human experience contains. Children personify life in its most joyful form. Children do not stop at skin color, they are free from all the complications, venality and hatred that will be instilled in them little by little. the following."

We also owe him the fresco of the Necker hospital in Paris.

The end of his short life will be marked by illness, Keith HARING will die from complications of AIDS on February 16, 1990 at the age of 31, and will have devoted a strong commitment to the prevention of illness through his art.

He left us a major work of the 20th Century with thousands of drawings denouncing the social prejudices that racism, homophobia and all forms of discrimination can take. Inspired by a vision of the world from the eyes of a child, to better speak about the world of adults, an art understandable by children, and sometimes much less so by older ones. Just like his timeless drawings, Keith HARING has not had time to age... Forever Young.

Find our Forever Young t-shirt tribute to Keith HARING, the KARING: