Artist: Denny Dent
Ttile: Hendrix Portrait
Medium: Oil on paper
Size: framed 71.5 x 58.5"
Size: 66 x 53"
One of the most famous speed painters in history, Denny Dent combined painting, performance, and music to create powerful portraits of strong personalities that marked our times. “What comes from the heart, lands on the heart creatively,” he once said.
Dent painted a range of celebrities, including John Lennon, Jim Morrison, Madonna, Dr. King, Bob Marley and Albert Einstein. Jimi Hendrix was a frequent subject of his work. A true rock legend, Hendrix revolutionized how people both listen to and create rock music with his awe-inspiring skill and boundless creativity. Despite his tragically short career, he has left an indelible legacy that continues to live.
Exceptionally rare, this large-scale portrait on offer is highly sought-after among collectors. The work is a result of what Dent described as an “art attack”, comprised of frenzied motion and seemingly random splashes of paint. This raw energy the artist invested in this work is palpable. Wearing his recognizable bandana, Hendrix is depicted singing in what seems to be a state of trance. The portrait is created in vivid colors with energetic, coarse brushstrokes that were subsequently smeared with fingertips. The subject is placed against a contrasting purple background and embellished with dribbles of yellow paint.
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About Denny Dent
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.