"I don’t have much of a paternal instinct. I mean, I like kids, but only if I can hand them back to their parents and go about my business."
In the early 80s Keith Haring created hundreds of drawings in the New York subway system. He used chalk to paint on unused advertising space, which was covered with black sheets of paper. Haring was caught and fined numerous times.
The endeavor began serendipitously when Haring noticed one of these blank panels in the station at Times Square and immediately went above ground to buy some chalk. The resulting process of drawing on these panels, a hobby that Haring later called a responsibility fueled his early work. Cultivating the project remained an important activity for him until 1985, long after he had achieved international critical and commercial success.
Often produced before an audience of commuters, which might include police who could ticket him for vandalism, the drawings emerged at a rate of sometimes 40 a day. When not torn or cut from their locations by admirers, they would eventually be covered with new ads. The routine disappearance of these works, in fact, became an incentive for their replenishment and a catalyst for constant reinvention. While many were documented by photographer Tseng Kwong Chi (whom Haring would phone upon returning to his studio to provide their locations) most of the drawings went unrecorded, thus creating one of the most epic and ephemeral projects in the history of the city.
(Source: J. Yuenger)