Denny Dent

Denny Dent Large 6' Elton John Original Painting


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Artist: Denny Dent
Medium: Original Oil Painting on Paper
Title: Elton John
Size: 73" x 53"
Documentation: Includes Certificate of Authenticity from Denny Dent

Denny Dent's large scale, bright, and gestural portraits capture the spirit rock and roll. Dent's art is as much about his own performance as it is about the performances of the legends of pop culture he idolizes through his art. Using a method of speed painting performance art nicknamed the "Two-fisted art attack," Dent amazed crowds will his quick and physically intense performance. In a matter of minutes, he would transform a blank piece of black paper into a recognizable and stylized portrait. Because of their tremendous size, his painting performance involved his entire body in what he liked to call a "dance on canvas".

This original 73" x 53" portrait of Elton John captures the sense of energetic movement from Dent's performance. Despite his quick process, Dent was able to capture an incredible amount of specifics including the nuance of Elton John's expression. Dent often "stamped" his work with a handprint, and in this work we see him use the handprint as a method of painting itself, creating the texture of the outfit in the lower half of the piece.

This piece is currently not framed. The photo showing the frame is a mockup of a frame and what it would look like framed. If you would like the piece framed we can work with our local framer at our discounted price to pick out the perfect frame for your home.

Purchase of Denny Dent's original Elton John painting includes a Certificate of Authenticity from Denny Dent. The piece has a complete record of unbroken provenance is available on request.

About the Artist

Denny Dent is among an extraordinarily small group of artists who are as famous for how their paintings look as they are for how they paint them. His most famous subjects are his paintings of celebrities and his finished products are stunning, unique works of art with vibrant colors and a thoughtful use of negative space. His style, which has name the "Two-fisted art attack" was a method of speed painting that was as highly regarded as performance art as it was for the finished product.

Dent was born in 1948 in Oakland, California. His mother was an also an artist, but the family grew up very poor and reliant on the welfare system. Dent spent much of his youth painting and dropped out of high school while he was a sophomore. He paid the bills by selling his art, but his real artistic success did not come until he developed his own unique brand of performance art. The first time he introduced himself to the world as a performance artists was at a Nevada radio news program memorial for John Lennon. Dent convinced the program to let him show up and "express himself." He painted on a canvas using both hands and it initially looked as though he was just splashing paint around on a canvas into an abstract design. But John Lennon's face soon began to emerge. He was telling a story and communicating with the crowd through the process. The audience was stunned by the bazaar performance, but even more stunned by the beautiful work of art that emerged. From that moment, Denny Dent's art career had a calling card. He was the fast painting performance artist. He became a celebrity himself, and was hired on as the opening act for Steppenwolf and other bands. He learned that he could use music as a part of his artistic act and it developed into part of his performance art signature. He would go on to paint Mozart and other great classical artists accompanied by symphonies playing their music.

Throughout his career, he became famous for his celebrity portraits as well as his performance art. Dent painted celebrities from all walks of life, including Pope John Paul II, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, Rudy Giuliani, Elvis Presley, and many others. He would typically complete a painting in less than 10 minutes. He would choose his music carefully and typically finish in the time it took for the audience to listen to 2 to 3 songs. He would often use multiple brushed in each hand. Sometimes he would turn the canvas as he painted or paint upside down only to reveal the properly aligned canvas to the audience at the end of a performance. He could paint with his feet, although he did not often do it in public. He was also asked to paint at many major public events, including Bill Clinton's inauguration and the 1994 Woodstock concert.

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