Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Denny Dent

My friend Denny Dent died three years ago today and I think about him often. Denny was an artist who could paint giant portraits (4'x6') of rock stars very quickly. Using three brushes in each hand and throwing paint, he could finish a painting in 7 or 8 minutes. When he preformed in front of audiences they were blown away. At shows he preached about following your own path and how anyone could be an artist. He was very inspiring.

Denny and I worked together on a handful of occasions. He helped me with my career and I his, and forever we will be tied together. I met Denny in the early 90s and asked if I could shoot him painting Mick Jagger. Denny looked at me- having only met me moments before- and said, "Sure, I trust you." I'll never forget it.

I think Denny thought I was going to do a little video shoot of him, but my plans were different. We found an abandoned warehouse as a location, dressed the set and shot 35mm film. The resulting 75 second film went on to get both Denny and the dumb filmmaker a lot of recognition. As I have written in previous posts, Jim Fiester encourage me to edit the 75 second piece into a 30 second tv spot. We did and the spec piece went on to become the first of a series of commercials. Later I filmed Denny painting Eric Clapton, Bono, Jimi Hendrix and a montage of finished painting. We also made the spots into a billboard and bus card campaign. My work with Denny got my career off and running, and moved his career to the next place.

For me, however, I will always remember the times working with Denny. It was more than a little crazy, but always fun. When excited, which was often, Denny was a big mumbler and many people had trouble understanding him. I never had that problem and always told Jim and others that I have an English to Denny/Denny to English dictionary in my head. I have lots of stories, maybe I'll share some later. Here are some pictures from that initial Jagger shoot.

You can see the complete Denny work in bootleg form on You Tube (of course).

You can see the original 30 second spot for KLSX in L.A. at click on film demo reel.

Denny's wife Allie Christine and I remain in contact and I hope she posts a comment.
Denny died from complications of a heart attack. He was 55 years old. I miss him.



Chuck Anthony said...


Thank you for sharing that amazing story. The loss must've been devastating. Denny certainly left his brilliant mark on this world and I'm sure it's no accident that you two became friends. After watching the videos, I can imagine how much fun you had working on these projects together. Of course, when you add that kind of passion into the equation, the art reflects the true meaning and spirit behind the work.

I also think it's great that you marked the anniversary with this tribute. Rock on!

Dwacon said...

I lost a partner and collaborator a couple years ago... it is still tough!

PeterH said...

Thank you both for reading. I had a nice personal e-mail from Denny's wife Allie. She appreciated the comments and remembering Denny.


Layla (aka Barbara) said...

That was amazing, how very sad that we lost such a talented artist...but beyond that you could tell he was a special person, full of life and love.