- Curriculum: Art, Community Service
- Age/Grade: Above 14, Middle School
- Subject: Drawing, Exhibition, Painting
- Materials: Markers, Paint
- Institution: Ashtabula Arts Center
- Location: Ashtabula, Ohio
Students from this high school in Ohio painted a pickup truck inspired by Keith Haring's style.
Introduce students to the work of Keith Haring and graffiti art.
To complete an art object that's large scale and is meant to be permanent.
To help kids learn to work collaboratively on a project, using teamwork and cooperation.
I had the students look at haringkids.com, artcars.com, and several graffiti sites.
I brought in several books about Keith Haring ordered through interlibrary loan.
We also looked at books like "Spraycan Art" (ISBN: 050027469X) and "Stencil Graffiti" (ISBN: 0500283427). I showed them the PBS documentary film "Style Wars" (ASIN: B00008MTWY), a one-hour documentary on graffiti artists in New York City.
The materials you use can be modified to what is available in your area.
One old truck or car that someone is willing to allow you to paint
Oil-based paints and spray paints (I purchased these at a hardware store and chose high quality paints).
This was the final project in a whole unit based on Graffiti. I think it helped the students relate to Keith Haring's art to have a background in the history of graffiti before focusing on his particular body of work. Obviously, he was not a graffiti artist but there are many ways to compare and contrast. We looked at a large variety of his work including the chalk subway drawings, posters and murals. I had to edit what was brought into the classroom because some of Haring's work would be considered inappropriate by school administrators. Although I used several books, I chose which illustrations to present to the students. I then had the students work on large paper using brushes and spray cans to create paintings in Haring's style (make sure you have good ventilation!!). Some students used images directly from my sources and some created their own symbols in his style. In painting the truck, I laid out the basic designs in sharpie marker directly on the truck. We did not use patterns or drawings. I felt that it would be closer to the way Keith worked to just draw the designs without a blueprint. We then outlined the designs in black paint with brushes and chose a few images to spray paint in color. The palette is black and primary colors.
How is public art different than art that you might see in a museum, gallery, or someone's home?
What can you do with public art that you can't really do with with art that might make to put in a museum, let's say?
What about transportability and art? How does that transform your ideas and intentions? Is an automobile transportable?
What other objects could you transform in a constructive way so that they are available to a wide audience?
Go here to try an interactive graffiti wall.
Go here to learn more about graffiti laws and the harm and punishment of defacing public property.
Be sure to receive all permission necessary before painting someone's car.
haringkids.com does not condone the unlawful act of graffiti. haringkids.com seeks to educate young people about the life and work of Keith Haring and those movements that influenced and informed his art.