Sometimes referred to as “the only rock and roll painter”, and sometimes as the “kid playing in the mud”, Denny Dent was certainly one of the most famous speed painters in history.
His act called “Two-Fisted Art Attack” was, in fact, a performance involving music, dancing, and painting with both hands, three brushes in each. The skill this inimitable artist showed on each of his speed painting sessions complemented his energy, while the audience was often left mesmerized. Because of the uniqueness of his performance, Dent enjoyed great popularity, while the portraits he painted were sold for rather high prices for speed art.
Denny Dent’s humble origins included his mother, also an artist and his grandfather, an ambidextrous cabinetmaker, who bestowed the initial talent upon him. Although he did not finish school, the artistic drive and the need to express himself were always present and the first time he got a chance to do so is during a 1981 John Lennon vigil. His act proved to be so different from anything else and so interesting, that he started to get calls from all over the country, painting as an opening act for bands and in other occasions. He was brought to spotlight with his legendary performance at Woodstock in 1994, where he painted in front of 300,000 people.
As his popularity grew, so did the range of his subjects, which included renowned musicians such as John Lennon, Jimi Hendrix or Tina Turner, NHL and NASCAR sportsmen, and politicians such as former U.S. President Bill Clinton and New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, among others.
Born in 1948, Denny Dent lived in Denver, Colorado and died in 2004 of complications related to a heart attack.