Francis “Frank” Johansen (1971-2005) was born in and grew up in Platteville, Wisconsin, the son of Nick and Beverly Johansen, and the brother of three older sisters: Cecelia, Danette and Erin.
Francis started drawing at a very young age. By the time he turned five, his favorite subjects were monsters and dinosaurs – including movie primate King Kong. He had private drawing instruction in grade school, took college art courses in high school, and earned a BFA in design from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MCAD).
While at MCAD, Francis began working for a roofing company. This was his first of many construction-related jobs and over time he became a skilled carpenter and a general contractor. Many of his drawings and paintings include buildings, reflecting his appreciation of bricks and mortar.
Francis lived in Madison, Wis., in the mid-1990s and later moved to Denver, Colo., where he was represented by Ron Judish Fine Arts. While in Denver, he had numerous shows of his drawings and paintings and he also self-published an illustrated book as part of a solo show called “Bacon,” which explored how consumerism can go too far.
In 2004, Francis moved to New York City to further his art career. He died in 2005 at age 34. Since then, his family has held several shows of work, mostly in the Midwest.
Francis left a wealth of work, much of which is in private collections with family members, as well as on loan to the University of Wisconsin-Platteville and Goodman Community Center in Madison, Wisconsin. Select works are available for purchase. Please contact the Johansen family if you are interested in exploring purchasing a piece.
Francis Johansen 1971 – 2005
BFA in Design, Minneapolis College of Art and Design
1999 Self-published Bacon, a wordless graphic novel composed of pen-and-ink drawings
2014 Assorted works, Goodman Community Center, Madison, Wis.
2010 Assorted works, Warehouse Gallery, Dubuque, Iowa
2009 Assorted works, Harry Nohr Gallery, Platteville, Wis.
2008 Assorted works, Edgewood College, Madison, Wis.
2008 Assorted works, Jackie Macauley Gallery, Social Justice Center, Madison, Wis.
2006 Drawings and Paintings, H. Pelham Curtis Gallery, New Canaan Library, New Canaan, Conn.
2005 Memorial Show, Highlands Event Center, Denver
2005 Memorial Show, MoveLab Boutique, New York City
2002 New Works, Ron Judish Fine Arts, Denver
2000 What is Drawing Now? national exhibition, Weber State University, Ogden, Utah
1999 Bacon, Ron Judish Fine Arts, Denver, one-artist exhibition
1999 Four Large Drawings, CORE New Art Space, Denver, one-artist exhibition
1998 Heavy Industry, CORE New Art Space, Denver, one-artist exhibition
1998 Rountree Gallery, Platteville, Wis., one-artist exhibition
1998 I Saw the Figure Five in Gold, Ron Judish Fine Arts, Denver, inaugural show
1997 St. Mark’s Coffeehouse, Denver, one-artist exhibition
1994 Espresso Royale Cafe, Madison, Wis., one-artist exhibition
1993 Caputo House Gallery, Madison, Wis.