The students LOVED learning about Keith Haring. Mr. Haring was an American Pop Artist who was a prominent street artist during the 1980's. Artists are constantly striving to have their work seen by as many people as they can. The more widely seen the works are, the more likely the artist will make money and become famous. Keith Haring had a brilliant idea one day while riding the subway in New York City. In the subway, they would typically cover up old advertisements with large black sheets of butcher paper. He decided to start drawing on these black sheets of paper with chalk. Because the subway system is so popular, it allowed millions of people to see his drawings everyday. What Haring was doing though was illegal. He was arrested multiple times for his graffiti vandalism even though his drawings were only done in chalk. However, because his drawings brought happiness to so many people, he was willing to be arrested if it meant that people could see his work. He started to become more and more famous and began to be hired to paint murals in communities. As he became more famous, his work also became more expensive due to demand. He decided to open his own store called the Pop Shop where he sold shirts, buttons, prints, etc of his work for a low price. He believed that anyone should be able to see and own his work, not just the rich. His work is still highly recognized today and is especially well-known for his ability to show movement in his paintings.
Our first day of the project, each table was given a large sheet of butcher paper based on their table color. One student from each table laid on the paper and the other students traced around them. Then, using their paper's complementary color (red and green, blue and orange, or purple and yellow), they painted in their figure. We had to put about 3 coats of paint on it. After painting a coat, I then had them do a little activity each class. The first class, I had taped up a bunch of black paper around my room. Students were given chalk and they could go around and draw 'graffiti' inspired my Haring's drawings. Haring's cartoonish drawings never had facial features and typically featured a bold black outlines and one solid color for the body.
Another day, after adding another coat of paint, students played a game called 'Roll-A-Haring'. They were given a worksheet that had 6 different heads on it, 6 bodies, and 6 legs. Students would roll a die and the number would correspond to a head on the worksheet. They would then do it for the body and the head. They had a blast creating all different kinds of Haring-esque drawings.
After getting a few coats of paint on our murals over several class periods, we added a bold black outline and then a bunch of crazy movement lines on the background.
Harmony and Consolidated Elementary Art Teacher in Milton, WI. UW-Eau Claire graduate. WAEA President-Elect. Apple Teacher.