| Art |

Celebrations of the Life and Work of Artist Rose Johnson Abound Throughout State

Keep New Times Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Phoenix and help keep the future of New Times free.

It seems that artist Rose Johnson, who died tragically in Bali on Sunday, Arizona time, as a result of alcohol adulterated with deadly methanol, touched the lives of those around her wherever she happened to be. Facebook is still buzzing over news of the artist's bizarre death at the age of 48, with fans of Johnson the world over posting photos of both her and her work, as well as comments detailing personal memories they have of the irrepressible woman who started as a performance artist in Phoenix. Subsequently, she became known for her free-flowing canvases and exuberant neighborhood murals, some of which still can be seen in Phoenix.

A small candlelight memorial was held Tuesday evening in front of the mural Johnson had painted on the Mercer Mortuary building on the southwest corner of 16th Street and Thomas Road back in 1998. According to longtime friend Kim Blake, while people were creating a shrine with flowers and candles in front of the neighborhood mural (reported on by the New Times back in 1998), Rene Barraza, owner of Deportes America, a sporting goods store across the street from Johnson's mural, visited with the group: "He came out and told us about helping Rose spell the words on the mural that were in Spanish. She painted it in '98 with some neighbor kids before she moved to Bisbee."

Speaking of Bisbee, flowers, candles and notes are also being left at the mural Johnson painted on the wall of the town's Jonquil Motel. The artist, who in her last days sported blond dreadlocks, moved to the small arts-based community, once a thriving copper mining town, in the late 1990's and made her distinctive mark there, as well. Photographer Terry Wolf, one of her Bisbee buds, has announced that this Sunday, June 10 at 5 p.m. a Life Celebration/Party for Rose Johnson will be held at Mimosa Market, located at 215 Brewery Ave in Bisbee's Historic District, (520) 432-3256. Plans are also in the works for a celebratory parade in Johnson's honor in the next few weeks, with details to be announced later. Meanwhile, Phoenix will be throwing their own celebratory memorial for the deceased artist at the Icehouse in downtown Phoenix on June 20, beginning at 10 p.m., with an exhibition of work lent by collectors and friends to run through June 27th.

Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.