keith-haring-journals

I am me. I may look like you, but if you take a closer look you will realize that I am nothing like you at all. I am very different. I see things through a completely different perspective because in my life I had experiences that you didn’t have, and I had feelings you didn’t have, and I’ve lived places and seen places and experienced life from a completely different point of vue than you have. I may be wearing the same shoes and the same haircut, but that gives you no right to have any preconceived notions about what I am or who I am. You don’t even know me. You never will.
—  Keith Haring, Journals. This book will forever be my bible.
keith haring, 1978.

I am me. I may look like you, but if you take a closer look you realize that I am nothing like you at all. I am very different. I see things through a completely different perspective because in my life I had experiences that you didn’t have, and I had feelings you didn’t have, and I’ve lived places and seen places and experienced life from a completely different point of view than you have. I may be wearing the same shoes and the same haircut, but that gives you no right to have any preconceived notions about what I am or who I am.

You don’t even know me.

You never will.

– this book of journals is not the easiest read, but it’s worth it. 

I am me. I may look like you, but if you take a closer look you will realize that I am nothing like you at all. I am very different. I see things through a completely different perspective because in my life I had experiences that you didn’t have, and I had feelings you didn’t have, and I’ve lived places and seen places and experienced life from a completely different point of view than you have. I may be wearing the same shoes and the same haircut, but that gives you no right to have any preconceived notions about what I am or who I am.

You don’t even know me.
You never will.

—  Keith Haring Journals

    The art world is just a small model or metaphor of the Big Control. All you can do is these little things to feed the situation. Try to expose it and try to make things a little more bearable. Go to Hiroshima, paint P.S. 97, do an AIDS book cover for teens, try to go to the USSR, paint what you see and feel. But shit is going to go down. The world goes on and on, but things are changing faster and faster
    And here I am. I mean, picture this: Picture the Earth from a distance as this big ball. I was on one side yesterday and in a few hours I’ll be on the other side. A trip that would have taken months (or years) a few hundred years ago.
    We go forward, we have the means, but we’re still in the same situation. And we still fightin’.
    By any means necessary.
    By any means necessary.
    By any means necessary.

-Keith Haring, excerpt from a journal entry on Friday, July 22, 1988

July 26, 1986

I am sitting at the airport in Milano waiting for Juan [Rivera] to arrive from New York (Juan No. 2).

I arrived back in Milano two days ago after the Tokyo trip.

When I arrived in Tokyo I learned that Brion Gysin had died. I hope that he is safe. I sent a drawing from Tokyo that I had made to be buried with his body at the cremation ceremony last week. I found out yesterday that the person the drawing had been sent to had a mental breakdown. So who knows what happened to the drawing.

I remember Brion telling me, more than once, about how frightened he was about death for the simple reason that he pondered the possibility of having to repay for all the things he had done, said, written and painted in his life. What if God is, after all, a woman—a very angry woman?

I’m sure he’s fine. I think a lot of people learned a lot of things from Brion. Unfortunately much of his importance has gone unnoticed or at least unacknowledged. I feel lucky to have met him and enjoyed a few years of his long life. He is a legend.

Brion’s writings and especially his paintings have helped me understand myself and my work in a very important way. He was difficult to keep up with. A kind of saint from the underworld (or other-world)?

He understood my work (and life) in a way that only he could, because he lived it. His paintings give my paintings historical precedent.

He has been called the “grandfather of graffiti” because of his “writing paintings.” Crossing the gap between East and West, he turned calligraphy into a kind of surrealist writing. From his expulsion from the Surrealist group by André Breton (for being gay) to his years spent in Morocco and Paris he has been an “outsider.” Usually written out of history instead of in.

Brion sometimes complained of this sort of conspiracy of unacknowledgement, but I think inside it was the source of a kind of private personal satisfaction. Being popular, he knew, has its drawbacks. In a way, his purity and “other-ness” was preserved and almost exalted by being "the outsider.“ As usual, time will tell. He and his contributions will be respected for generations to come.

It seemed to me that Brion had done…everything (been everywhere) and somehow come out on top, but not knowing which end the top was on. 

I will miss Brion, but I hope he lives on, in a way, through me and through the things I learned from him. If I could accomplish a portion of things he has, I would be happy.

Keith Haring Journals