Keith Haring's talent was first recognized on the subway platforms, where his trademark chalk-drawn figures could be seen for the price of a token.
"When I did a drawing and went back a week later, the drawing was still there. It was neither smudged nor did anyone try to clean it off. I mean, it seemed to have this protective power that prevented people from destroying them. Another thing that I realized how many people were seeing these things. Within a week, when I'd be doing another drawing, people would come up to me and say, "So you're the guy who did these drawings!" Because, see, there was never a signature. Nobody knew who was doing this stuff. And I started to realize the power and the potential of what I was doing."
His career had moved from underground New York to the most prestigious galleries and museums in the world by the time of his death in 1990's.
Urban street culture became a defining influence on art, fashion, and music of the 1980's, in particular in New York City. Keith Haring (1958-90) was preeminent among the young artists, filmmakers, performers, and musicians whose work responded to these impulses and helped shape the culture of that decade. He developed a unique visual lexicon. Essential concepts -- birth, death, love, and war--were conveyed by the simplest of symbols--energy, waves, hearts, glowing babies, (his most famous life giving symbol) barking dogs, and antic Everyman figures. Harings imagery was a signature of the era, and has become a universally recognized visual language of the late 20th century.