Keith Haring: silhouette's two ways

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Before Banksy there was Keith Haring.

Keith Haring (1958-1990) was an American artist who lands somewhere in-between Pop and Graffiti Art. He believed that

Art should be for everyone

and not just for those who can afford it or those who would only see it in a gallery or museum.

When talking about art he said:

‘I don’t think art is propaganda… It should be something that liberates the soul, provokes the imagination and encourages people to go further. It celebrates humanity instead of manipulating it.’

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Like many of the artists of that generation, they were the pioneers of a counter culture that was happening. Haring worked alongside the likes of Andy Warhol, Kenny Scharf and Jean-Michael Basquiat. Activism was a large part of who he was as an artist. He began drawing as a child and never stopped, when he moved to New York he began to draw in chalk on black paper in the underground. His work quickly became recognisable. He would draw wherever he could, whether it was underground, on lampposts or on the side of building.

His paintings and drawings are vibrant, fun loving and easily recognisable. One of his passions was children and encouraging them to take up art and donating money to those who were in need. When the Statue of Liberty turned 100 years old, he got a vast piece of paper and drew the outline of her on it. He then brought children to completely cover the paper in any way they wanted. When it was displayed people were amazed and art critics questioned why he had done it.

From the book Keith Haring: The Boy Who Just Kept Drawing

From the book Keith Haring: The Boy Who Just Kept Drawing

‘Children are the bearers of life in its simplest form. Children are colour-blind and still free of all the complications greed hatred that will slowly be instilled in them through life.’

And Isn’t that the truth?

What do I love about Keith Haring. After reading and purchasing the book Keith Haring - The Boy The Just Kept Drawing (find our book review here) I was struck by how he reminded me of Little Feet A Just like Keith she will use up an entire pad of printer paper if I let her. Her hand is never far from a pen and paper, she is highly prolific in her masterpieces, probably to the horror of many forests… After we read this book together I told her that he reminded me of her and her mouth dropped open.

With this craft and exploration of Keith Harding we would HIGHLY recommend purchasing a like biography of him written by his sister. It is full of colour and a great read.

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Keith Haring Canvas works of art: two ways!

Level of mess: Tame

Level of difficulty: Easy

What you will need:

  • Acrylic paint (colours, black, red, green, blue and yellow) /pens

  • Canvas (if you don’t have a canvas paper is adequate) /paper if using pens

  • Paintbrushes

  • Water

  • Little dolls

  • Pencil

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Instructions:

  1. First of, show them some of Keith Haring’s work and talk a little about what they can see. Which the like or don’t like and why, that sort of thing.

  2. Using your dolls, lay them out on your canvas or paper and get your Little Feet to trace around their bodies. Good for pencil line practise too!

  3. Then using paint or pens get them to colour those figures in.

  4. Get them to fill in the background with black lines and figures like Keith does in his work.

TA DA!

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After we did this I had an idea to get the girls thinking laterally so we headed outside with some giant chalks…

KEITH HARING GARDEN ART!

Sharpie Coasters

Sharpie Alcohol Coasters, these are a few of my favourite things! This is a super easy craft for your Little Feet to do. Great for a home accessory or present to family. All you need are Sharpie’s, ceramic tiles, rubbing alcohol and sealant spray or an oven!

Read More

DIY Cardboard Box Dollhouse

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What do you do when one of your Little Feet is having a tough time? Do you take them out and treat them to cake and some one to one time? Do you make some popcorn and snuggle down and have a film afternoon?

I do all those things, but I also decide on a whim to make some crazy crafts for them. This acts as a distraction, something different from their toys, but also, I have found with Little Feet A especially, it is a moment of calm for her. She is really going through a tough time at the moment, needing much reassurance and cuddles through the tears that are coming more than normal. In times like these, especially when single parenting it is easy to lose the plot completely. It is very emotionally draining. So this time, instead of losing the plot I created a space for us to be calm in. With the addition of Little Feet B as well it gives Little Feet A a sense of camaraderie, even if it can be a little bossy!

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I received some post and it was in a large box and on a spur of the moment I decided it was the perfect size for a dollhouse. We already have a beautiful dollhouse that she received from her grandparents two Christmases ago, however, this did not seem to matter as it was the process of building it that I was after. Especially as I know they would both play with it. The excitement built when she saw it coming together as I cut it and sellotaped it. Which I did manically while cooking (because I never give myself an easy time…). She was rather put out about having to wait until the next day to paint it. In fact she was very worried we’d end up painting it while she was at school! I promised we wouldn't.

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So being uber prepared I preset everything up the next day so that when we got back from school they could immediately get to it. And they did just that! Then we did the same thing the day after, but this time with the decorations. The whole process was really calming for all of us and it definitely distracted her from all the emotions she has been feeling recently.

With half term creeping up on us in a few weeks, this could be a perfect project for you and your Little Feet to get your teeth into if you are lucky enough to get time off. It’s perfect as it is something that can be done a little every day and can really be strung out through the week.

What you will need:

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  • Cardboard box, medium to large

  • Kitchen or craft scissors

  • Loo roll cardboard

  • Pen

  • Duct tape or normal transparent tape

  • Poster paint/ acrylic

  • Paintbrushes

  • Paint palette

  • Water for paintbrushes

  • For optional further decorations: sequins, glitter, stickers, PVA, pipe cleaners, fabric fat quarters for curtains, string, lollipop sticks. Basically anything goes

  • Little people toys, dolls, furniture for them to use inside the house.

Instructions:

Stage one

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  1. Get your cardboard box and leaving the tape holding the bottom together, take off any extra unnecessary tape.

  2. Using the top longer flaps, bring them together to make a raised V shape, like a house roof. On the shorter flaps, draw along the edges of the longer side V’s and then cut off the excess cardboard. The top of your cardboard box should now look like a house. Tape it all together. If your longer flaps are too short, fill in the space at the top with some more cardboard. We used a cereal box.

  3. With your pen on one side of the wider side draw a large rectangle, leaving 2 inches from the edges of the box. Cut out three sides, leaving the left side in tact. This will be the main point of access for your Little Feet to play inside the dolls house as it will open right out.

  4. Design the front of your house, drawing where you would like to put the door and windows. Get your Little Feet involved in this part.

  5. Cut out the windows and door (big hands only if they are too little). We used kitchen scissors (I’ll end up regretting that when I can’t use them to cut meat anymore!)

    Stage Two

  6. Now your Little Feet can start painting. Have a think about what colours go well with each other snd try not to put too many dark colours out as your Little Feet will no doubt just end up making a pooey brown colour. Use bright colours, the more vibrant the better!

  7. Leave your house to dry. I’d suggest overnight.

    Stage Three

  8. Now comes the optional further decorations. With PVA and all your additional pieces of craft accessories decorate your house accordingly. I added curtains which was just glued onto string and sellotaped to the inside of the house. We added buttons for the front door handle. Sequins for all over decoration. Felt Baker Ross flowers for gardens on either side of the house. We bought this particular pack months ago and had loads left over so we just used some of the flowers for the garden on either side.

  9. It is up to you whether you would like to create and upstairs on your dollhouse, we didn’t, however stairs I was told was a must… stairs to nowhere apparently!

Basically once you have the structure of your house you can pretty much do anything. Snow on the roof with cotton wool, a picket fence with lollipop sticks, an outdoor pool and additional garage with cars. You name it, the only limit is your imagination… and your precious time!

Interestingly, while I thought Little Feet A would really enjoy playing with it, it has actually been Little Feet B who is 2 years old who has not been able to stop playing with it. She is completely enthralled with it. She got a Mother Hubbard Shoe HappyLand set for Christmas with lots of fairies and she has been playing with them inside the house every day since it was put up.

As suspected, Little Feet A really enjoyed the process of decorating it over a few days and putting her stamp on it.

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