Charlie Welch cwelch at tecschange.org
Fri Mar 15 12:51:17 PDT 2019

Thanks to Bruce Sylvester for announcing this on his Troubadour radio 
show on Thursdays from 2 to 4 PM on WMBR 88.1 FM

I especially enjoyed one of Magnus's shows called Mecca on WZBC which 
was my introduction to music from the Arab world.

Unfortunately the reception was last Sunday, but there is still time to 
catch his paintings until the 17th.  The link at the bottoms gives you a 
taste of his work.

Charlie Welch

Magnus Johnstone was known to many Bostonians from his tenure in town 
from the late ‘70s through the late ‘90s as a trailblazing radio DJ – on 
WZBC 90.3 FM and WMBR 88.1 FM – as well as a visual artist. He passed 
away on February 22, 2013, at the age of 60, after a vibrant life filled 
with art, music and community.


“LARGER WORKS & MORE,” MARCH 9 - 17, 2019

Opening Reception: SUNDAY, MARCH 10, 3:30 pm

The Sunday, March 10 Reception will be preceded by a 1:30 pm panel 
discussion about Magnus’s life in Boston from the 70s – 90s, hosted by 
friends Mark Flynn, Margaret Bailey Rosenbaum, Michael Shores and Chris 
Guttmacher. The panel will also explore Johnstone’s associations with 
the Punkt/Data Gallery, Skunk Piss Magazine and Gallery East.

Upon his departure from this terrestrial sphere, he left behind over 80 
large canvases [most 72” by 55”] as well as dozens of medium and smaller 
sized works. Following the very successful “Soaring Through The Matrix” 
show in August 2018 – one of Nave Gallery’s most popular shows in recent 
years – “Magnus Johnstone: Larger Works” is the second of what his 
family and friends hope will be ongoing local and national exhibits that 
will display and sell his remaining work.

This time, most of the featured work will be Johnstone’s larger, 
oil-on-stretched-canvas paintings, and it will mark the first time these 
have been seen in Boston since the early 1990s. There will also be a 
selection of Johnstone’s remaining medium-sized, oil-on-stretched-canvas 
pieces [between 30” wide and 50” tall], with some selected smaller works 
[oil-on-cardboard, approximately 12” by 14”].

For more information on Magnus Johnstone and his visual art, visit: 
www.MagnusJohnstoneArt.com and on Facebook at 

Facebook Event Page

Magnus Johnstone was born in 1952 in Chicago. By the 1970s, his family 
had relocated to the East Coast, settling in Duxbury, MA.

He began painting in his 20s and was, at first, self-taught. He 
completed his first larger canvases (70” tall x 50” wide) by the 
mid-1970s working in oil paint. Throughout his life worked with a 
variety of sizes and materials, and attended the Boston Museum School of 
Fine Arts for a year during his early career.

His fantastical and psychedelic artwork was influenced by sources as 
diverse as Renaissance art; German expressionism; surrealist painting; 
writers like H. P. Lovecraft, Philip K. Dick and Harlan Ellison; graphic 
and comic art of the 1960s; Mayan art; and music. Always music.

A lifelong music fanatic, his taste was as diverse and selective as it 
was in all of his creative domains. Indeed, his lifelong work as a DJ 
provided the evolving soundtrack to his unique artistic vision. By the 
very early 1980s, Magnus was a college radio host in Boston and was 
producing popular and forward-thinking African and Reggae shows on MIT’s 
WMBR 88.1 FM in Cambridge, “Aliens’ Corner” and “Reggae Mukasa” – years 
before “world music” became a popular term and genre.

Throughout the ‘80s and ‘90s, Magnus’s two loves burned passionately and 
brightly – painting and music. An immediate acolyte of hip-hop, by 1985 
Magnus started the now-legendary “rap and electro” radio program called 
“Lecco’s Lemma,” on WMBR. A year later he moved the show to Boston 
College’s WZBC 90.3 FM, where it ran until 1988.

He will forever be known as the first person in Boston to truly give 
local hip-hop artists a chance to be heard regularly on the radio – 
Guru, Edo G and The Almighty RSO, among dozens of others – playing their 
demos and interviewing them in-studio. As The Noise magazine said in 
1987: “Magnus Johnstone is a DJ at the front of a movement, in it for 
sheer love of its excitement and possibilities.”

In the early 1990s, he was producing two weekly radio shows, “Mecca,” 
which was “an exploration of music of the Arab world” as well as a new 
version of the “Aliens’ Corner” show which featured “pan-African music.” 
After a brief hiatus from radio as he dealt with several health issues – 
which he battled with vigor and determination, beating leukemia in the 
mid-‘90s – Magnus returned to the airwaves by the late ‘90s on WZBC with 
the “Dub Hop” show. Relocating to Maine in 2000 with his life partner 
Mango, he continued to paint and work in radio. He hosted weekly shows 
including “The Matrix” and “Da Vibes” on WERU, a community station in 
Orland, ME.

Magnus Johnstone passed away on February 22, 2013, after a vibrant life 
filled with art, music and community. His friends and family will always 
remember him as compassionate and creative soul, a visionary artist and 
a music fan who was constantly in search of his next muse.

When he passed, he left behind over 80 large canvases, dozens of medium 
sized works and just as many smaller pieces, most of which are currently 
for sale and located near Boston.

Proceeds from these sales will go to the Johnstone family, to help 
store, maintain and market his work.

For more information, contact

James Petcoff

smersh1 at verizon.net


Brian Coleman

Brian at Good-Road.net


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