Later in 1978, Haring moved to New York City and enrolled in the School of Visual Arts, a creative center that fed the growing community of “alternative” artists. This new genre of art and artist developed outside the traditional museum/gallery context and came to blossom in the streets, subways, and underground clubs of New York. Through this tribe of creative minds, Haring became friends with visual artists such as Kenny Sharf and Jean-Michel Basquiat, as well as many other people in various fields, including performance art, graffiti, music. Haring had found this new arena exhilarating, embraced it wholeheartedly, and began organizing and participating in exciting exhibitions and performances at places like the famed Club 57 and other non-traditional venues.
Haring dabbled in every kind of artistic expression he was exposed to, like video, performance, installations, and collage, but his foremost passion was drawing. Inspired by Jean Dubuffet, Pierre Alechinsky, William Burroughs, Brion Gysin and the aforementioned Robert Henri, Haring came to embody the concept of the independent artist. His art refined itself over and over, eventually coming to fruition with his primary focus on the elegance and simplicity of line. He was also heavily influenced by Christo and Andy Warhol, in their fusing of art and life that resulted in not only a viewing public but a participatory one, and this too became an integral part of Haring’s artistic goals.