Phoenix artist Maggie Keane has been wanting to refresh her David Bowie mural on Seventh Street north of McDowell Road for some time now. Recently, she decided the time was right.
“I wanted to brighten it up a bit,” Keane says. She first painted the mural, which includes several side-by-side portraits based on iconic images of the famed musician, in summer 2016. The paint has faded since then, and she’s had time to think about the details she wants to finesse.
“I found this perfect red,” she told Phoenix New Times recently, pointing to a small paint can before dipping in one of her many paintbrushes. She says she never felt like she achieved the right color for the mural back then.
There’s another reason she’s freshening up the mural. It was tagged back in February, with large letters in silver metallic paint that read "LA DOC."
“I had a bunch of paints in the back of my car, so I was able to get over and fix it pretty quickly,” Keane recalls. Still, she wanted to spend a bit more time on it, and was eager to apply a protective coating to make it easier to remove future tags should they occur.
She's also hoping to do some repair work on a mural called The Prayer of St. Francis with fellow artist Lucretia Torva, which is located on 16th Street south of Thomas Road. Rose Johnson, a longtime staple of the Phoenix arts scene who died several years ago, painted the mural in 1998. The building has a relatively new owner who has yet to announce plans for the beloved work.
Keane has a couple of other projects on hold now that COVID-19 has pushed the pause button on daily life. Before that happened, she painted a small mural in the Oak Street alley off 14th Street inspired by A-ha, the Norwegian band behind "Take on Me."
Keane's best-known mural features several portraits of the musician Prince, painted on the side of a boxing studio in the Grand Avenue arts district. She’s also enjoyed a decades-long career doing forensic drawings in Valley courtrooms.
For now, Keane is focused on sprucing up her David Bowie mural — working under a tent for up to eight hours a day until she’s finished. She’s already added significant pops of color, shading, and definition. “It’s about time," she says, "this Bowie had a face lift.”
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