The iconic Manchester singer is remembered in art form

A new portrait of legendary Mancunian, famed vocalist and much-loved human being Denise Johnson is being unveiled this Thursday (7 October) at SUP bar in Urmston.

Denise passed away last year and was lauded and applauded world wide for her talent, her contribution to Manchester’s rich musical heritage. Her family, friends and fans knew her as a strong, fiercely loyal, individual woman and a valued and loved inspiration to aspiring musicians. 

She was a beautiful person with a huge talent

As well as pursuing her solo career as a singer, Denise also worked with several bands, including The Pet Shop Boys, Electronic and Manchester post-punk band A Certain Ratio. Perhaps most famously she brought depth and grit to Primal Scream’s landmark album Screamadelica. Denise continued to work with the band for much of the 90s.

The news of Denise’s passing prompted many of the bands and artists who worked with her to pay tribute. New Order issued a statement saying, “She was a beautiful person with a huge talent. Her voice graced many of our albums and live shows and that of our friends. We will miss her dearly.”

Portrait of Denise

The portrait is by Simon Mound, a Manchester-based artist working primarily with stencils and spray paint to create portraits of famous performers and musical legends.

The artist said the purpose of the artwork was "to celebrate to life, talent and illuminating smile of Manchester’s lioness Denise Johnson."

Simon has previous created a portrait of Mark E Smith, also at the request of SUP owner John Locke. The painting of the famed Fall frontman graced the walls of The Northern pub for many years, but sadly disappeared when the pub changed owners.

When John wanted a portrait of his beloved friend Denise, he knew that Simon would be able to transform a photograph of the singer into an iconic image. At 7 feet by 4 feet it will be the largest individual portrait Simon has painted in his career.

Denise Johnson
'Manchester's lioness' Denise Johnson

The unveiling of the portrait will take place at SUP in Urmston, at an event attended by Denise’s family, friends and former band members. The event is also raising funds by sales of very limited prints of the painting signed by Simon. The prints will be available to on the night and also online, with all profits going to Forever Manchester, a charity Denise was closely associated with. The event starts at 6.30pm on Thursday 7 October. Further details and prints for sale are available for the SUP website.

SUP, 46 Flixton Road, Manchester M41 5AB

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