SAN FRANCISCO—Mexican American artist Michael Roman, 60, passed away on Monday, December 26 due to health issues.
Roman remains an influential and iconic Mission District stencil artist, who has been rooted in the San Francisco art scene since the early 2000s. Born in Los Angeles, and cultivated artistically in New York City beginning in the 80s, he started off as a bike messenger who transported transparency films to artist Andy Warhol. He quickly became known for his stencil graffiti work around the city.
“His breakthrough moment was designing the skull motif for Madonna in her film debut Desperately Seeking Susan,” stated Annice Jacoby on Michael Roman’s website. He has done work for Carlos Santana, Keith Richards, The Undertones, Die Toten Hosen, The Ramones, and Sister Carol, as well as designed for Kate Spade and Betsey Johnson.
Roman has contributed design works for Bar Redux, Danceteria, The John Coltrane Memorial Church, 14 El Belazo Tacquerias, Little Chihuahua Restaurants, and his mural in New York’s Pyramid Club is still intact. He has had exhibits at Gracie Mansion, Ground Zero, Bruno Fracetti and B-Side. His work has also shown up numerous times in Paper and Red Tape magazine.
According to Mission Local’s website, Roman suffered from Hepatitis B and diabetes, and about three months ago, doctors discovered issues with two of his heart valves, causing liquid to gather within his heart. They also found a tumor had targeted his right kidney. During his time in the hospital, efforts to help raise money for Romano were made by the community.
Roman’s memorial is set for February 17, 2017 from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. at the St. John Coltrane Church. Community members are able to contribute to an altar displayed at Alley Cat Bookstore to honor the beloved artist.