The “O” Mind Gallery
Michael Roman: Final Closing
MIchael Roman was planning an art show in Los Angeles when he passed away from health complications. Friends, family and fans will gather to honor his vision and memory.
He was immersed in the culture of the people so he would tag street signs or sidewalks while also collaborating with great artists Michael Basquait, Andy Warhol and Keith Herring. Unlike many of his contemporaries that fell to the wayside, he knew how to tread the blurred line between high and low art and ascended, making a name for himself, and always continuing to make art.
“If you were just standing around talking to him in a blank shirt he would start eyeing it, and offer to paint it,” said his brother Mark Roman. He was astoundingly generous, giving his art to the people he knew. “I was afraid to complement a painting, because I knew if I did he would just say ‘here, take it’ and give it to me,” said Mark Roman.
“Mike would wake my ass up, round 7:30am, and say ‘Bring some money, cigarettes & hurry, meet me at the RTD station, in El Monte’. We'd take 2 buses, just to get into skid row, we'd walk around there, till he found a drunk, passed out in the doorway. He'd break out his pad & start drawing...sometimes, only a few minutes to do one portrait, sometimes 8 minutes. When he was finished, he'd wake the guy up, show him the drawing, ask his opinion on the piece, give the bloke a fiver and, 3 smokes! We'd do that all bleedin day! He loved interacting with toto strangers! Gonna miss the guy,” said David Davis.
Both artists moved on from El Monte and moved to New York City where they continued their friendship and art. David Davis, among other things, printed T-shirts for the Ramones. They were both active in the St. Mark’s area of Manhattan.
“Mike always stood out. He was featured in the documentary "The Decline and Fall of Western Civilization” (1979). I drove us there...I remember Fear were playing,” said Kevin O’Connor.
Many were shocked and saddened by the loss of the enigmatic and prolific artist. Since his passing a foundation has been set up in his name and his estate, at this time, is frozen. The work on view at The “O” Mind Gallery was selected by Michael Roman for the gallery. The closing will give Los Angeles an opportunity to honor his legacy.
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