“Innovation, as it is in technology, is kin to creativity in art. If we marry the two, the sky is the limit in what we can create and solve in society or as one person.”-Mike Surf
Mike Surf feels that innovation and creativity are one in the same, that they go hand-in-hand, that taking technological innovation and combining it with artistic creativity results in the birth of pure magic. We take a look at Basquait and Keith Haring, two artists who have inspired Mike Surf and other innovatively creative minds.
Artist Jean-Michel Basquait, of Haitian and Puerto Rican decent, found his heyday in the 1980's. The Brooklyn native grew up a bit rebellious, never liking to follow to the rules. In the late 1970's he began selling handprinted t-shirts for some extra money and while living with friends was caught painting anything he could, including refrigerators and even cardboard boxes. While Basquait was spending time in the predominantly White art scene of Manhattan, an artistic revolution was occurring uptown in Harlem and the Bronx. It was once said that Basquait's strength was his ability to merge imagery from the streets and newspapers and television with the spiritualism of his heritage, allowing it all to emerge through modern paintings; paintings that are abstract and contrasting. Still, at a time when graffiti art was at its height, Basquait's abstract and colorful paintings were clearly differentiated from their graffiti counterparts.
Keith Haring and Basquait had a sort of come and go relationship. Though not born and raised in New York, Haring made his way to the city at the age of twenty. Haring's art often carried social messages even more distinct than Basquait's, and he also carried his mission further by creating artworks for charities and hospitals. After his move to the city, Haring's artistic interests were quickly shifted from the art being taught in schools to the raw art being expressed in the streets and the subways. Using the subway as a "laboratory", Haring became an artist well known in the street, passersby would interact with him while at work. Keith Haring's career was incredible and impactful despite being short-lived in the 1980's. Before his AIDS related death in 1990, Haring created the Keith Haring Foundation to fund and provide artwork for AIDS organizations and children's programs.
Basquait and Haring are certainly only the beginning. Artists of innovation are hidden in pockets across the creative mecca that is New York City and hidden even deeper around the world. Let us celebrate the creative minds that think outside the box.