Keith Haring (May 4, 1958 - February 16, 1990) was an American artist whose pop art and graffiti-like work grew out of the New York City street culture of the 1980s.
Haring's work grew to popularity from his spontaneous drawings in New York City subways – chalk outlines on blank black advertising-space backgrounds – depicting radiant babies, flying saucers, and deified dogs.
History with the Macy's Parade
Throughout his life, Keith Haring wished that he would be able to see a balloon of his art in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Unfortunately, Haring would never live to see his dream come true, as he would pass away in February 16, 1990. 18 years after his passing, Macy's would create a balloon based on Keith Haring's most famous work -- a simple black-outlined white figure, now carrying a heart. The balloon was made to celebrate what would have been Keith Haring's 50th birthday and served as the third balloon in the Blue Sky Gallery series of balloons. The balloon depicted a white figure lifting a red heart. Though this balloon has only appeared in 2008, it was later used as a decoration for the main entrance to the AIDS Walk in Central Park in 2014. It hasn't been seen since this appearance.
- During its flight in 2008, the balloon hit the NBC Broadcast booth, sending hosts Matt Lauer, Meredith Vieira, and Al Roker into a brief panic, though it is a common misconception that it sent the hosts off-air for a few minutes.
- Also during it's flight in 2008, his left foot was deflated for unknown reasons.
- So far, Figure with Heart is the only Blue Sky Gallery balloon to be made into the likeness of a deceased artist.