Decoding the symbols in Keith Haring’s artwork

With Keith Haring’s signature style best known for the recognizable figures, it is believed that these symbols had a deeper meaning when used. His work was inspired by popular culture animations like Walt Disney, Dr. Seuss and Looney Toons⁠—the playful pictorial style is just one of the many reasons why Haring’s work is still so popular today. Haring began to incorporate several designs that would repeat throughout his artwork that evolved over the years. These reimagined figures, including the barking dog and the heart, demonstrated Haring’s fascination with hieroglyphs, pictograms and other universal languages. Here are some of our interpretations of Haring’s designs that you can see on our Doggy Bathroom products. 

The Barking Dog

When looking through Haring's symbols, selecting the barking dog for Doggy Bathroom was our first choice because it showed the liveliness and spirited nature of our furry friends. Haring’s interpretation of the Barking Dog may have had several meanings when he drew/painted them, but in our case we wanted to highlight its expressive nature. While our dogs are our best friends, the symbol connecting us to them seems fitting for Doggy Bathroom as our goal is to enrich the lives of dogs and parents alike.  

The Heart

Haring's Heart motif is one of the most recognizable symbols recreated in his work, which is no surprise because it is a symbol of optimism and love. This heart is often held up but a crown of dancing figures to demonstrate unity through love. While many interpret it as romantic love, it can also represent collectivity, community and compassion. And for pet lovers, what better symbol to embody the love pet parents have for their dogs than this primary red heart? 


© Keith Haring Foundation Licensed by Artestar, New York

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