Prince Mural In Phoenix, Arizona
by Janel Sanders
I think we’ve found the funkiest Prince fan of Prince fans. With her amazing quick sketches of musicians in their likeness, Maggie Keane has given this generation a painting to remember: a mural of Prince in his best forms. Located on the building of 1350 West Roosevelt Street in the Grand Avenue arts district is a Prince mural for the world to see. She has summoned Purple Rain on the streets of Arizona. We interviewed Keane to give us a better view on her dedication piece.
WWF: What inspires you to draw and paint musicians?
Maggie Keane: My family really. I have musicians all through my family. My father used to play in symphonic band and my brother is a drummer. I would go to practice or a performance with them and draw sketches of them. It was sort of my way of contributing to music.
WWF: That’s amazing. Tell us how long you’ve been painting.
Maggie Keane: My whole life. It is a real passion of mine and all the jobs I’ve done have had something to do with my art or creativity. I used to do billboard ads for companies, and I’m also a courthouse sketch artist. I’m commissioned for work as well.
WWF: Courtroom sketches?! I’m sure you have to be quick for that line of work.
Maggie Keane: Yeah, well when you do billboard ads you have to be able to put those up pretty fast and I’ve been doing this work for some time now, so yeah you have to be quick but nothing I’m not used to. It also requires a certain level of skill to draw faces in accuracy. I enjoy it, it keeps me sharp.
WWF: I’ve talked to artist before on drawing people in their likeness and I’ve heard that it is not an easy task, so we commend you on being able to do such work and to do it quickly at that. In all of the work that you’ve done over the years, what is your most memorable work you’ve done so far?
Maggie Keane: I have to say that it is the Prince mural I just did. I’ve always been a huge fan. 2016 was a really bad year for legends and icons dying, and when I heard he died in 2016, I thought to myself this was my chance to do something I’ve always wanted to do for him. Back in 1983, I had tickets to my first Prince concert and I had to work so I sold my tickets. Big mistake! I gathered all my sketches of him that I did throughout the years to see exactly what it was I wanted to do and got to work.
WWF: WOW! How long did it take to plan and finish the mural?
Keane: It took me three years to research and gather the pictures that I wanted to use. Of course, in those three years I wasn’t completely focused on the project. I had other commissions to do and some work at the courthouse. I would come back and look over the work in between those jobs. Once I got the green light from the building owners to do the mural it took me 2 months to complete the whole thing. I started on April 27th and finished July 5 after adding the finishing touches.
WWF: 2 MONTHS?! Did you have any help, or did you do it by yourself?
Keane: By myself. I’ve always felt it goes slower when you have people helping you because they don’t always lay the color the way you want or need it. Also, when you’ve had as much experience in billboard ads and courthouse sketching as I have, it becomes easier to do things like this. Plus, I’ve done plenty of murals before, but this one is my favorite.
Keane’s mural measures 18 feet high and 47 feet wide. She has placed 36-inch mirrors over a pair of sunglasses featured in the piece to reflect the view. This stands to be Keane’s most impressive piece to date. The artistry put into this artwork has not been done even when Prince was alive. Sure, there are artist who have drawn pictures and done paintings of him since his death but nothing this monumental. We appreciate Maggie Keane for her art of this icon. She got down with this one! Since the mural Keane has received much recognition and publicity; rightfully so!
WWF: I know this has caused for many phone calls and knocks on your door. You’re a big shot now but judging off your other work, this is well deserved. What has your life looked like since this?
Keane: Honestly, it has been really cool. I’ve gotten interviews with local newspapers, some national ones. People like you have emailed me for interviews. I’ve also been invited to speak on radio stations and podcast. This has been an amazing turn of events and I really enjoy it.
In case you want to know where to find Keane and some of her work, she currently resides in the Coronado neighborhood where you can find a few other murals of David Bowie. She accepts commissions from those who are looking for an awesome artist that’s dedicated to art and music.
For this dope piece and beautiful display of art and music, we dub Maggie Keane as our funky artist of the year!