Sunday, July 10, 2016

Art is for everyone: Week 5 reflection told through the work of Keith Haring

Keith Haring was one of the original graffiti artists, his works were viewed by millions in the subways and streets of New York before 'hitting it big' and being included in multiple galleries and museums across the world. Haring's work is a true testament of his character, love, peace, and social awareness were his favorite subjects to illustrate. Haring created art for people, the public, and believed that "art is for everyone", like Warhol his goal was to bring art to the masses. When he felt that his work was becoming to popular and expensive for the average person, he opened the POP Shop, were everyday people could continue to view and purchase his work without the 'high class art scene.' Haring's work did not stop at creating art for change, but he also started the Haring foundation to help other that were diagnosed with HIV. His legacy is continued through this foundation and the POP shop, including a website for the social art education of children.  

Haring did not only create public art, he collaborated with the everyday person to create expansive murals, turning the community around him into active participants... 
"The use of commercial projects has enabled me to reach millions of people whom I would not have reached by remaining an unknown artist. I assumed, after all, that the point of making art was to communicate and contribute to culture.”
This week I have become an active participant. The readings by Jenkins and Dean were especially influential, as I found my grove and 'my people'. I am left wondering if I would have been so influenced by reading them at the beginning of the course? But there is no time to dwell on the past, there is so much to learn and do! The biggest take- away thus far, form this week and the entire course is about being truly active. It has changed my perceptions, attitude and outlook, and will probably influence my teaching style. You see, as if struck in the head, I have finally gotten it, you have to play along and try it all out before you can understand it. I thought I was so cool last week making my own gifs, in partial participation mode. Now I understand, and I don't need to make my own to be a part of all this, crazy, that's what all the pre- mades are for, so that you can quickly continue on to the real participation. Sure I still make my own when it is necessary to be super specific, but I can now feel comfortable using someone else's, I've got a PLN to grow. This week I have finally realized the point of all this, like Haring, is to communicate and contribute to culture. 

It's not that there is not things that I still do not agree with, there are evils and things that cannot be stoped, but there is a world or better yet a community of people out there on the web that are just like me, I am not alone and social justice is very prevalent. The web and digital space is much like real life, I was waiting for people to come to me without any effort, but as we all know it is a two way street. You have to put yourself out there, and I think too, that assuming positive intentions and being positive changes others perceptions and your experience. 'Dive in' I think is my new catch phrase, I can't wait to have students experience materials and their own digital selves by do just that. I have learned so                                                                                      much, and though through perturbation, it is all                                                                                          been worth it. 
                "It’s about participation on a big level."

If we are going to change the perceptions of digital space, then we all need to be active participants, we cannot just learn about it and expect things to change. Maha Bali states in her article 'Critical Digital Citizenship: Promoting Empathy and Social Justice Online, "I believe it can, if we use it [web and digital space] thoughtfully and responsibly. It can be a learning tool, connection hub and outlet for change, we just need to believe in it and be active in making that change. I have totally change the way that I perceive digital space, what once I thought was for gamers and tech geeks and star treckers, I have found to be a sounding board for ideas, growth and learning. We are all so connected rather we like it or not, for me it is time to stop fighting and join in. I 'geeked' out this week during the flash mob annotation, I couldn't step away, and when I did, I feigned to come back and see what was posted without me. I have found a hub for aspiring graffiti artist around the world, these people are real change agents, doing what they do like Haring to make a difference and open the world eyes to the endless possibilities that is our human race. It's all about active participation... 

"I don't think art is propaganda; it should be something that liberates the soul, provokes the imagination and encourages people to go further. It celebrates humanity instead of manipulating it. "

Thank you Keith Haring for inspiring myself and many others, not only through your art, but through your acts of humanity and visions of change. 

How does Haring's work inspire you? 

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