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Ronnie Goodman – RIP

Cartoonist – artist – homeless advocate Ronnie Goodman has passed away.


Ronnie Goodman
(Ronald Lamont Goodman July 25, 1960 – August 7, 2020) 

 


above: “Woman at Work”

Well-known San Francisco street artist and social warrior for the homeless died on the streets where he lived. From the Mission Local:

Ronnie Goodman, a homeless artist and distance runner who has lived on the streets of the Mission District for years, died this morning at his encampment on Capp and 16th Streets. 

Goodman, who has shown his art locally for years, said he had been in and out of jail for many years. 

Kerry Rodgers, a longtime friend of Goodman’s who also created and managed the artist’s website, wrote in after we published the news of Goodman’s death that the artist will be included in a show in New York at MOMA PS1 in Queens called“Marking Time: Art in the Age of Mass Incarceration.” The pandemic delayed the show’s April opening. No new date has yet been set. 

“Ronnie’s artwork is featured in a recent article published in the New York Review of Books about a book for the exhibit: Creation in Confinement: Art in the Age of Mass Incarceration,” wrote Rodgers.“Both the exhibit at PS1 and the review of the book are both extraordinary achievements, and Ronnie was so proud these last few months of his life about this.”

From the Art Forum notice:

Born in Los Angeles, Goodman took up drawing from an early age, inspired by comic books and the artists who lived and worked in San Francisco’s Lower Haight area, where he grew up. He returned to artmaking while incarcerated in San Quentin State Prison, where he became known for his compassionate portraits of fellow imprisoned people. “I am inspired by the beauty of this city and its diversity, balanced with the struggles of human despair,” he once said. “With my brush, I try to capture these raw emotions in painted images.”

Born in Los Angeles, Goodman took up drawing from an early age, inspired by comic books and the artists who lived and worked in San Francisco’s Lower Haight area, where he grew up. He returned to artmaking while incarcerated in San Quentin State Prison, where he became known for his compassionate portraits of fellow imprisoned people. “I am inspired by the beauty of this city and its diversity, balanced with the struggles of human despair,” he once said. “With my brush, I try to capture these raw emotions in painted images.”

 


above: “Hard Bricks” by Ronnie Goodman April 5, 1996

As a cartoonist Ronnie contributed the comic strip Hard Bricks to the New Bayview/San Francisco Bay View, a weekly newspaper aimed at the Black community.

Hard Bricks comic strip (later J-Cat and Bootzilla) was written and drawn by Ronnie Goodman, then a prisoner himself in San Quentin and now the most famous homeless artist in San Francisco, who’s been featured on the front page of the Chronicle and whose work is a popular feature of many exhibits. The Bay View is proud of all the people who’ve written or been written about in our paper over the years and have gone on to higher heights.

The closest I can get to the dates the strip ran is:

Ronnie Goodman drew a wonderful, wildly popular comic strip for the Bay View through much of the 1990s [emphasis added], mailing a strip from San Quentin for every paper. Hard Bricks starred J-Cat and Bootzilla and their prison adventures.

By 1997 the strip had been retitled J-Cat and Bootzilla.

Rest in peace Ronnie.

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