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Art (and design) for everyone. - Keith Haring, Tate Liverpool.

In the space of one week I was lucky enough to take a trip to see the fantastic Keith Haring exhibition at Tate Liverpool and hear a really interesting lecture about Street Art by Fifth Wall TV. They both hit on this idea that I have always been interested in - art for everyone.

I love art galleries. When I was on my Art Foundation we visited ones in London and Berlin (image right - my trip to the Hamburger Bahnhof) to sketch and gather ideas and I still remember amazing art that I saw on those trips. Another thing we learnt on our Foundation was how to present our work to each other, to explain how a small idea develops over the space of days, sometimes weeks, to give feedback to each other and have discussions and explain our thoughts and work to show how we arrived at our final pieces. This process has made the experience of an art galleries very different for me ever since. Have you ever been in a gallery and said "I could have done that?" I think we are probably all guilty of it! Yes, you could perhaps recreate the technical process, but maybe if you knew a little more about the idea behind the piece, any hidden meanings it has and the research behind the idea being presented to you,

perhaps you might not be so quick to make that


Often when you visit special exhibitions at galleries such as the Tate, they give you added information about concepts behind the piece, at what point the artist was in their career, their influences at the time, events that were happening in their lives (left - swipe to see info). This helps give you a greater understanding of the work in front of you, even if you haven't had any kind of art education. However, usually if you visit their permanent collections, which are almost always free and likely to attract the most visitors, you get very little information other than the artist's name, the date of the piece and the media used. The art and design world can sometimes feel elitist and often intimidating, especially for anyone who doesn't consider themselves "arty", but why should it be that way? I think galleries can alienate people who don't consider themselves part of the "art crowd" by not having enough information available about the work and they are missing out on welcoming more visitors and helping new people understand art and then hopefully, appreciate it more.

Keith Haring started out drawing his bold illustrations in chalk on blank posters on the New York city subway. He wanted his art to be available to everyone, to send little messages to the people he shared the city with. He was creating art for the many. There was no need to feel intimidated walking into a silent gallery to enjoy it, this was something you spotted on your morning commute and you could take from it what you wanted. He was then able to use the recognition people had of him and his art for his activism work for gay rights and against Apartheid, the AIDS epidemic and drug abuse, creating posters and flyers to get peoples attention and further raise awareness of these causes.

"All kinds of people would stop and look at the huge drawing and many were eager to comment on their feelings toward it. This was the first time I realized how many people could enjoy art if they were given the chance. These were not the people I saw in the museums or in the galleries but a cross-section of humanity that cut across all boundaries." - Keith Haring

Keith Haring's work began on the street and wherever you look in our urban surroundings you can see more and more examples of street art. As with Haring's chalked illustrations, street art interacts with the surroundings that we are all familiar with, working with it, reacting to it and creating something for everyone to see and enjoy,( although maybe some more than others)! This is an ever-changing gallery that we don't need to make any extra effort to go to, it has been created for us by talented artists and brought straight to us, all for free, to be seen without the fear of intimidation in an everyday environment that makes us comfortable.

You are probably not surprised to hear that I feel much the same way about interior design. I feel sad that people are intimidated by preconceptions they might have about using an interior designer like the cost or feel they aren't the "type of person" who should use one. This all comes from maybe not realising what the process is actually about. As a designer, I want to guide and help you with your project. I want to make interior design for everyone.


You can see Keith Haring at Tate Liverpool until the 10th November.


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