The Borderline Series consists of mixed media multiple originals.
They are composed of the printed original Art Outsider image with completely original painted art for 4 inches around the center, and are sized at 26 x 32.
The potential colors for the Borderline Series are: Vermillion, Abstraction 1, Abstraction 2, Yellow, Lilac, Grey, Black, Pink, Cerulean, and Aqua.
What makes these so interesting is that the Borderline Series offers Tennessee an opportunity to express his ever-evolving perception, internalization, and integration of having lived inside these important figures in history while creating the original portrait. At first, within minutes of finishing, he breaks down as part of letting go of being so immersed in their life. Then, little by little, he has time to reflect on his experience... On what he sees around him that relates to what he has learned of these artists and how they have changed the world and him. The time he spends between creating each of the 10 means a constantly evolving interpretation of what he has learned. We are looking forward to seeing the Borderline Series pieces evolve as he continues creating more of them!
ABOUT KEITH HARING / RADIANT REVOLUTION:
Keith Haring was one of those supernatural forces in the art world that was incomparable to anyone else in his time. He was a deity of pop art that combined the taboos of gay sex, politics, and quasi-religious metaphors in a time that both denounced homosexuality within the heterosexual mass media, and celebrated homonormativity within the gay community. He was savvy. He could often be found quickly sketching messages through his art in the New York City subway with chalk. His neo-expressionist icons of ‘the radiant baby’, ‘the barking dog’ and UFO’s, would all mesh together to tell stories of racism, homophobia, politics, life, death, and sex.
As a teenager, growing up in the south, I became obsessed with Keith Haring, not only for his work, but the messages they articulated. When I came out at 17 years old, I was the only one in my school that not only acknowledged my homosexuality, but made no apologies for it. This caused a great deal of problems, including getting harassed, beaten up, and exposed to death threats, including getting thrown on the floor by a guy who put a knife against my neck. There was a petition started by the students to get me kicked out of school for my sexuality. Looking back, I was unbelievably resilient. I believe it was my aspirations that got me through the darkest aspects of my reality. .. and these goals of mine revolved around Keith Haring, who was unashamed of his sexuality, which showed in his work.
With this painting of Keith, I really wanted to focus on the brilliance of his life, as well as the significance of his death. Haring was a god for us struggling homosexual artists who were still too afraid to express our sexuality, and we owe him all our gratitude for what he did for us.
Keith was born on May 4th, 1958 in Reading, PA and raised 17 miles north in the small town of Kutztown. He was influenced to draw by his father Allen who was an amateur cartoonist, and was fascinated with Dr. Seuss, Charles Schulz, and the animators of Disney and Looney Tunes. Later on in his late teenage years, he was influenced beyond commercial cartoonists, and focused his inspirations on fine artists like Alechinsky, Pollock, Tobey, and quite heavily with Jean Dubuffet. Keith would end up going to school both in Pittsburg at the Ivy School of Professional Art, and later the infamous SVA (School of Visual Arts) in New York City.
It was here in New York where Keith took to the streets with his work, often using the NYC subway system as his gallery. He befriended emerging artists like Kenny Scharf and Basquiat , as well as the most prominent pop icon of the time, Andy Warhol. These relationships, plus his endless need to work, garnered him immediate success, and he skyrocketed into the art world elite in just a few years. Haring’s lack of need for permission to be accepted in the art world both baffled and infuriated art critics.
His work itself was unapologetic, which both garnered him shock value fame in the art world, and reverence with those in New York City itself. His career was meteoric, jetsetting him across the globe to work in museums, concert halls, and famous galleries. He designed clothes for movies, music videos, and famous singers. His work transformed from graffiti, to fine art, to public works, to consumer advertising, and finally to consumer products.
In 1986, Haring opening the “Pop Shop” on 292 Lafayette Street in SoHo. This store provided a venue for all of Keith’s work to be interpreted onto merchandise and random consumer products.
In his words: “I wanted to continue the same sort of communication as with the subway drawings. I wanted to attract the same wide range of people and I wanted it to be a place where, yes, not only collectors could come, but also kids from the Bronx.. this was still an art statement”
I find it amusing that the art world elite attempted to scold Haring as a sell out. In fact it, the complete opposite was the case. Haring, while grateful for his exposure and the financial success that came with it, wasn’t going to give up who he was and what he believed in for the almighty dollar. He certainly wasn’t wasn’t going to dismiss his humble beginnings or his socio-political views to save face with the wealthy. Haring wasn’t making a profit from the public to sell out, instead he wanted to create affordable accessibility of his works to the masses.
This is not the work of an opportunist.
This is the work of an egalitarian.
Keith Haring took major risks in everything he did, from consistently getting arrested in the subway for his graffiti, creating work that fought the patriarchy (who bought his work), to creating accessibility to his art to the public (and therefore sticking the middle finger to the elite), to corruption (i.e: the Berlin Wall, the Crack epidemic in NYC, South African Apartheid, etc). Even to the very end of his life, Keith was open about creating works on subjects that needed exposure and examination.
And what the world needed to talk about at the end of his life, and what the world STILL needs to talk about, is the epidemic and stigma of HIV/AIDS. When AIDS was first discovered, the CDC first labeled it as “the 4H disease” because apparently the only people acquiring it were heroin users, homosexuals, Haitians, and hemophiliacs. Later on it would just specify one of these groups by the new name “GRID” which stood for “Gay Related Immune Deficiency”. This, plus, the media’s coining HIV/AIDS as “gay cancer”, caused an incredible stigma to the gay community. Also, President Reagan, the government’s silence on AIDS, and his paralleled disdain for the gay community caused an unbelievable amount of suppression of support for the people affected with the virus.
Keith, who had always been an activist in his art, spent his years before and after seroconversion making people aware of the tragedy not only of HIV/AIDS, but the lack of support from the government, and the stigma that the virus had. His involvement with ACT UP, and both his famous “Silence = Death” and “Ignorance = Fear” were monumental visual messages for people. They were a call to action. He used his career as a platform to educate and inform people about social injustices, as well as a way to make the world a far more colorful place.
His contributions continued even after his death. His wish for the Haring Foundation was to create a way to contribute to educational opportunities for underprivileged children, as well as to support education, prevention, and care through HIV/AIDS programs.
The AIDS epidemic in the 80’s and 90’s killed many brilliant artists. It felt like there was just an erasing and forgetting of these people by society as the virus killed them. The stigmas of HIV still exist to this day, and it is unfortunate that we still live in a society that vilifies and dismisses people for having the virus. HIV/AIDS does not erase a person from history. It’s our serophobic society that does that.
Posthumously, Keith Haring has remained a voice for those who live with HIV/AIDS. His work transcended itself beyond just fine art, and acted as a weapon to fight ignorance, homophobia, HIV stigma, racism, and social injustice. It was an honor to work on this piece and paint this legendary man. Without Keith Haring, we would not have the voice we do today…
and certainly.. I would not be the artist I am today.
ABOUT TENNESSEE LOVELESS:
Tennessee Loveless is an artist who passionately delves into the subjects that speak to him, and has been increasingly noticed and well-received for doing so, skyrocketing in success and notoriety in only a few years. He’s been tailoring how he expresses his unique voice through a number of passion projects, which fortunately have been embraced by collectors around the world. Though he chooses Chicago as his home, he’s lived and created around the world, including Paris, Berlin, and LA. He started of his career painting drag queens in San Francisco, worked at Disney in licensing and production development, and moved on to become an official Disney interpretive artist. He is now building a variety of unique collections, including his Drag Landscapes and The Art Outsiders, and now the American Flag series. He is severely colorblind, but that hasn’t stopped him. In fact, it has led him to a visual style based in color psychology and layered with meaning. He is grateful knowing what some would see as an impediment has offered him a unique, artistic way of viewing the world. Find him at tennesseeloveless.com and artoutsiders.net, and all his available art for sale at artinsights.com