digital artworks that keith haring drew on a computer in 1980s surface as NFTs at christie’s

Keith haring’s NFT digital drawings at christie’s

Keith Haring drew a series of digital artworks in the mid-1980s using an Amiga computer. Today, these works surface for the first time as minted drawings that viewers can own as NFTs. Christie’s presents the online auction and part-exhibition ‘Keith Haring: Pixel Pioneer’ where the artist’s digital drawings created on an Amiga computer in the mid-1980s can be viewed and purchased for a limited time.

It was the Keith Haring Foundation that decided to mint the Amiga artworks on the Ethereum blockchain. Before, these artworks were only viewable using floppy disks, but today, the digital drawings of Keith Haring can now be collected, exhibited and even printed. The auction is open for bidding from September 12th to 20th, 2023 with an exhibition at Christie’s New York from September 14th to 19th, 2023 and in Seoul from September 7th to 8th.

keith haring nft christie's 1980s digital artworks
Keith Haring (1958-1990), Untitled, Feb 2, 1987, © Keith Haring Foundation | images by Christie’s

How did Keith haring become a digital artist?

Keith Haring’s digital drawings begin in 1984 at a birthday party for the 9-year-old son of John Lennon. The artist was there together with Andy Warhol, Steve Jobs, and Kenny Scharf, and Jobs even brought his Macintosh computer with him to demonstrate the capabilities of the then-avant-garde machine. After the party, the psychologist and author Timothy Leary bought ten Amiga computers and gave them to select artists including Keith Haring.

From then, the artist played with technology, ever embracing the digital age until he came up with five drawings he fully sketched using a computer. His distinctive artistry is pronounced in these drawings, from the bold lines that detail the artworks to the vibrant splash of colors he is known for. Dancing figures and giant masks play the main characters in Keith Haring’s 1980s NFT drawings at Christie’s, culminating in a festive remembrance of his trailblazing drawing style.

keith haring nft christie's 1980s digital artworks
Keith Haring (1958-1990), Untitled, April 14, 1987, © Keith Haring Foundation

Keith haring is a pioneer of digital art

In his journal entry on July 8th, 1986, Keith Haring wrote ‘My drawings were perfect for translation into computers because the drawing line was already very close to the idea of “pixels” (the dots, or squares, that comprise a computer-generated image).’ He adds that there were endless possibilities to be investigated in this area and believes that he possessed the ability to use computers effectively given the deductive and composite nature of his line.

Gil Vazquez, President of the Keith Haring Foundation and an old friend of the artist himself, says that viewers may not necessarily know Keith Haring as a digital artist. With his NFT digital drawings coming to light for the first time and at Christie’s, one may deduce that he was a pioneer of digital art. ‘Haring was ahead of his time, as all the greatest artists are, and now that Web 3 technology has caught up to his vision, these works can be shared and enjoyed by the world’, says Gil Vasquez.

keith haring nft christie's 1980s digital artworks
Keith Haring (1958-1990), Untitled, Feb 3, 1987, © Keith Haring Foundation

keith haring nft christie's 1980s digital artworks
Keith Haring (1958-1990), Untitled #1, April 16, 1987, © Keith Haring Foundation

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