WORDS BY JOSEPH FURNESS
New York City is a melting pot of artists – a megalopolis where city-dwellers are constantly rubbing shoulders with painters, illustrators, photographers, DJs, rappers, screenwriters, fashion designers and a whole host of other kinds of innovators. And for decades, the nightclub has been the best place to meet, vibe and organically network with the city’s pantheon of creative thinkers.
During the 1980s, exalted pop artist Keith Haring was a permanent fixture of the NYC nightlife scene; he would visit discothèques such as Club 57 and Paradise Garage on a weekly basis where he’d socialise with the likes of Larry Levan, Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat. Consequently, his work was influenced heavily by the vibrancy of the culture he immersed himself in, explaining his use of intrepid hues, music motifs, zestful characters and absurdist graphics.
Earlier this year, DJ, producer and designer Honey Dijon – one of the brightest stars in New York’s modernist vanguard – collaborated with the Keith Haring Foundation via her fashion label, Honey Fucking Dijon, on a line inspired by the late artist’s dedication to the dancefloor. We recently spoke to Honey to find out more about the raison d’etre of the HFD x Keith Haring collaboration. Discover everything she had to say below.
How did the Keith Haring collaboration come about?
I'm a huge fan of Keith Haring’s work, and I’ve always wanted to celebrate a side of him that not many people know about – the side that embraced New York City club culture. I’m friends with Benny Soto, NYC club promoter and former assistant to Keith Haring, and I asked him to connect me with Gil Vazquez who runs the Keith Haring Foundation. He instantly loved my idea to collaborate.
How do you relate to Keith Haring and his work?
Keith has always been such a big inspiration to me. His work is so vibrant, joyful and full of movement that it reminds me of my approach to working as an artist and DJ.
Where and when did you first discover Keith Haring?
I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t aware of Keith Haring. During my teenhood, I would regularly come across Keith’s album cover designs for early house music icons such as Sylvester and Man Parrish whilst record shopping and clubbing.
Do you have a favourite Keith Haring piece?
I would have to say the crown Keith created for Grace Jones for her legendary performance at the Paradise Garage. He turned her into an otherworldly voodoo priestess.
Why does Keith Haring’s work complement the Honey Fucking Dijon vision?
Keith and I share a lot in common. He loved to dance, he had an affinity for bold, vibrant colours, and he created art designed to inspire everyone, regardless of age, race, sexual orientation and gender expression.
What themes were you keen to touch on when working on the collaboration?
I was keen to focus on Keith’s relationship with NYC nightlife and club culture as this is something I’ve never seen collaborators touch upon before. His love for the dancefloor was so strong that no matter he would spend almost every weekend at Paradise Garage, no matter where he was in the world during the week.
What are your favourite pieces from the collaboration?
The HFD x Keith Haring poncho – a garment I fought hard for – is my favourite piece. The design printed on the front of the poncho is taken from an invitation to a birthday party held for Larry Levan. I chose it because it’s symbolic of the intersectionality between music art and fashion – three key pillars of Honey Fucking Dijon.
Do you have any other collaborations coming up in the near future?
Yes, I do! But I can’t give much away. Let’s just say this collab marks the beginning of a new chapter in which I will honour various iconic artists from NYC who were heavily involved in the city’s music, art and nightlife scenes.