April 15, 2004 by

Denny Dent

50 comments

Categories: Artists

ddent.jpgWearing a paint-splattered tuxedo and holding up to three brushes in each hand, Denny Dent would attack the canvas. In a frenzied motion, he’d outline faces, blend colors and dance in front of crowds who gathered to watch him paint.

From a sidewalk or stage, Dent would turn on some music and create instant masterpieces of Tina Turner, Jimi Hendrix, Bruce Springsteen, Aerosmith and Miles Davis on 6-foot-high canvases. He performed his trademark “two-fisted art attack” in front of 300,000 people at Woodstock ’94 and painted a portrait of Beethoven during a Colorado Symphony Orchestra concert.

Born in Oakland, Calif., Dent dropped out of high school and spent his early adulthood mired in drugs and alcohol. A year after John Lennon was murdered, Dent brought an easel to a memorial and began to paint an image of the singer. A few nights later, he was hired to open for Steppenwolf in Los Angeles.

Dent spent the 1980s entertaining college students with his artistic performances, and the 1990s working the art festival circuit. Despite his speed and obvious skill, he turned down an offer to be listed as the world’s fastest painter in the Guinness Book of World Records.

Dent died on March 29 of multiple organ failure. He was 55.

Watch Dent Work

50 Responses to Denny Dent

  1. David Garibaldi

    Dent has inspired artist like myself to never give up. I do what I do now to continue his message and never be forgotten. I am only 21 and never had the honor to see him perform live, but his messege meant enough to me that I still understood. I respected him for what he did and who he was. Best wishes to his family.

  2. Bonnie Burke Hulse

    My love and sympathies to his wife, Ali. Denny was a good friend, and a great person. I looked for him for many years,not even realizing he was famous. He really found his niche in the world, and the world was lucky to have him. I’m just happy we got to re-grow our friendship from high school. The world won’t be the same.

  3. julie monterrubio

    One of the many blessings in my life was to have had the opportunity to have Denny and Ali as friends. Two truly exceptional spirits who joined mine for a short time and left me with things I will carry with me for a lifetime. They belonged together. Denny was far ahead of his time, and his talent was literally out of this world. It was a special opportunity to get to witness his inspirations in progress.I thank him for all the things he left with me. Onward and upward,creatively yours.

  4. JOHN & DARLENE LEWIS

    WE ARE VERY SAD TO HEAR ABOUT DENNY. MY WIFE AND I MET DENNY ON LONG ISLAND WHERE HE WAS PERFORMING AT HOFSTRA COLLEGE 1995.MY WIFE WORKED AT THE MARRIOTT HOTEL WHERE DENNY WAS STAYING. WE HUNG OUT WITH HIM ALL NIGHT,WE HAD DRINKS AT THE BAR,WENT TO HIS SHOW AND WAS VERY IMPRESSED.LATER ON WE WENT BACK TO THE MARRIOTT AND HUNG OUT TIL 2,3AM,BUT BEFORE THE NIGHT ENDED HE GAVE MY WIFE AND I THE JOHN LENNON PAINTING FROM HIS SHOW WE WERE IN SHOCK.. BUT THAT DID NOT MATTER BECAUSE WE WERE HAVING A GREAT TIME WITH A REALLY DOWN TO EARTH PERSON.WHEN DENNY LEFT HE GAVE US HIS PHONE NUMBER IN COLORADO AND WE TOLD WE WILL SEE YOU AGAIN SOON,WE NEVER DID. WE WILL MISS YOU AND MISS YOUR INSPIRATION. WHEN WE SEE RAINBOWS WE WILL KNOW THAT YOU PAINTED THEM. JOHN & DARLENE

  5. debra jackson

    I have treasured my painting of hendrix for many years almost 20. When I bought it from him as i handed him a hundred dollar bill under the stall in the mens room at Beach Bum Burts in Hermosa Beach. I was pregnant with my daughter pauline and that painting along with a lennon , bowie morrison and another Hendrix, which still hang in her family resteruant California beach Rockin Sushi in Newport Bch. He will to us always be a part of our lives. Thank you and my children thank you. Our deepest sympathy to all whom he left behind , you are in our prayers.
    Debra J.Anderson Miyama Forrest Jackson

  6. Lyn & Dave

    We first saw Denny Dent perform in 1991 at the very first, CHERRY CREEK ARTS FESTIVAL in Denver CO! We did not miss one of his performances the entire Festival! Denny’s Passion and Talent were Exilerating! Denny created the Excitement and Energy and set the first CCA Festival in motion! Over the years it was out great privalege to attend about 90% of all of his performances, each one unique and each one amazing. Many times over the years we had the opportunity to chat with Denny Dent, a kind, energetic, amazing human being!
    Last night we attended the “Tribute to Denny Dent”, Brian indeed, learned from the “Master”, his portrait of Denny Dent brought cheers and tears from all in attendance. This would be, according to Brian, the one and only time that he would ever paint a portrait of Denny Dent, when he signed this painting with Denny’s signature (the painted hand!!) The crowd stood a cheered! We were all grateful that this painting was given to Denny’s charming wife Ali.
    Bill Charney, the Master that created the CCAF gave a warm, personal, tribute to the “Magic of Denny Dent” and his enourmous contribution in “Creating Art Lovers” in Denver and every where that he traveled.
    We will hold all that Denny Dent gave to us in our hearts, he will be missed!

  7. Harry Jameson

    I first met Denny at a local hang-out called Poncho & Wongs near the Redondo Beach Pier in 1985. I was just having a drink when the staff started putting up sheets of plastic all over the walls in a corner of the bar. I learned that an artist was going to perform but couldn’t figure out the need for all the plastic. I soon found out. With paint brushes flying in both hands, a guy wearing a shirtless, white paint-splattered tuxedo was finishing a larger that life size painting of Michael Jackson. Denny finished the painting by the end of just two songs,in about 5 minutes! I was really impressed. After his performance I bought Denny a drink and the Jackson painting for my 11 year old daughter Maria. Denny invited me to his apartmnet a few days later to see some of his other works. I remenber how he painted an entire wall of his music Idles, the Beatles. Over a beer, he asked me what personality I admired most? I told him “Muhammad Ali” without hesitation. The next day he called me at my office to inform me that he did a painting of Ali for me. I was thrilled and could’nt wait to see it the next day over lunch. Today a large air-brush painting of Denny’s “Ali” hangs in my family room. Denny told me that it was the “art of the air brush” he first mastered. Many years have passed since meeting Denny, he told me of a special lady in his life. I did’nt have the background but pondered becoming a talent promoter for Denny at the time. I still have a promotional video he gave me, which I will rewatch in a differnt way now. Harry Jameson

  8. Heather Myers

    I never met Denny….It was in the 80’s when I was watching The Donahue Show, and saw this dude come on stage and painted a picture of Hendrix, I was in shock, I was impressed. I am not a artist, but when I seen that… I was his biggest fan. But how was I to tell him this. I was lost on trying to locate people *no computer then*, I was a kid. Then Pepsi had a commercial of him painting on the side of the barn, promoting the Woodstock ’94. I had to contact him, tell him I remembered who he was and that is was awesome, and to tell him I am his biggest fan, all the way from the sticks in Kentucky. . I still didn’t know his name. I called pepsi for like a name, address or something. I did get a name, but not a address. I wanted to see him paint live. No one can understand how I felt about Denny Dent. Except u fans. I would of done anything to seen him perform live. I never will forget my vision of what little I did see of him. And after the years He still in my thoughts.. To all of his family, friends, and many other fans…You are in my prayers.
    Thanks Denny, for being u.

  9. Chris Sullivan

    There goes one of the great ones. Talent like his is God given. I’ve been a fan for almost 15 years, when I first saw his work at a friends house. As soon as I could afford one,I purchased a Morrison. I still have it and will until the day I die. Then, hopefully, my children will fight over it. To his family and those of you whom he touched. . . God Bless.

  10. Karen

    I first saw Denny Dent perform at the Colorscape Chenango Festival in Norwich, NY. The festival is once again being held this weekend and I was mentioning to a friend how much I really enjoyed Denny Dent. I went online to find out what he’s been doing and was shocked to learn of his passing. He was an amazing talent and a man of great passion, which really shined when he was performing. He will be missed.

  11. Bob

    Only today did I learn of the death of Deny Dent. I was saddened by the news of his passing.
    Deny and I were acquainted and ‘pals’ in ’81-’82 in LV when he first conceived of the two-fisted art attack and made his first attempts into the act. I did follow his career from a distance as I left LV in ’82 and we only had a couple of phone calls after that. I did visit a year later (or so) and he showed me his experiments of expanding from monotone (black paint on butcher paper) into the use of colors.
    The last I saw of him was the article in People magazine about the John Travolta birthday party where he put on his show. I sure wish I had been better at keeping up with him as it’s too late now.

  12. Chef Ray

    About 7 years ago. I saw Denny’s Show in Providence, RI. It inspired me in ways that I can not explain. I was in complete awe from the first minute to the last. He was truly a gifted man. He painted like no one I have ever seen before. At the end of his show he told the Crowd. “Don’t let anyone in your life tell you can’t achieve your dreams.” I wish his family my deepest sympathy. May his spirit live on.

  13. Matt Kramer

    In the 1980’s I was the talent coordinator for a nightclub in Santa Monica called, “At My Place”. Whenever possible, I would book musicians who composed original, innovative music. When Denny first contacted me and told me about his perfomance creating a work of art on stage in nine minutes, I had to give him a chance. I don’t know how many times he performed – I think more than ten – the audiences were always amazed. Denny brought an extra dimension to the concept of music, art and performance – it was always a joy to have him on my stage. I still have the John Lennon painting from one of those magic nights.

  14. Taylor Crystal

    I will always remember is kindness and great art. I met Denny and Ali at the Milwaukee Art Festival. There I gave Ali a necklace I was wearing that she just loved. In return Denny gave me one of his paintings, it was of Albert Einstein.
    My love and prays go out to his family and freinds. Thanks for that special weekends and memories I will always share.

  15. Big Fan

    I saw Denny perform live and in person at the University of Missouri-St. Louis back in the early 1990’s. I was instantly amazed at his talent, passion, and energy.
    I thought about that performance the other day and logged on to his website this evening only to be saddened to learn of his passing. He was one of a kind- is there anything else YOU’D rather be?
    Thanks Denny for a show I’ll never forget

  16. Donna

    Twenty-three years ago in 1981 I was mourning the one year anniversary of John Lennon’s death. I wanted to give something back to his memory for all the happiness John and the Beatles brought to my life through their music. I pictured a day at a park, Lennon’s music playing, thousands of people sending their love vibes up to the heavens. I contacted one of our local radio stations with my idea, and with their help my dream became a reality. It was a free concert at Sunset Park here in Las Vegas, where thousands of people showed up for the event. What happened that day I will never forget. As I was walking off stage I was approached by a shy young man, with sad brown eyes who asked me for a few minutes of my time. He told me he was an artist who could paint portraits with both hands at the same time while music played. He asked me if I would give him the opportunity to bring his canvas on stage to show the crowd that he could paint a picture of John Lennon, and be done by the time the song was finished. Needless to say, I was intrigued, and thought this would be perfect for the show. I asked him his name then introduced “Denny Dent” to what I recently found out came to be his first appearance on stage painting to music. When the music started playing and Denny began painting it was an experience of a lifetime! Everyone could see that he literally poured his heart and soul into what he was doing. He painted two 3′ by 4′ portraits of John Lennon while his music was blasting. He was on fire! The audience went WILD! Denny truly made the show one of the most memorable experiences of my life. When the show was over he gave me those two paintings that I still have to this day. One is Lennon in his early years as he looked in the 60’s, and the other as he looked in the 70’s. Denny and I met a few times after that show, and then he went on his was to California. He told me of the hard life he had with his problems so I wished him nothing but the best. Over the years I lost contact with what he was doing up until March of this year. I rarely read the newspaper. As I was passing by someones desk at work I saw the name Denny Dent in the newpaper. Sadley the article told of his death. Just for the heck of it I put Denny’s name in a search engine on Google. It was unbelievable the sites I saw dedicated to his art, and the icon he became. I had no idea! It is such an honor to read that the show I did 23-years ago was Denny’s first experience on stage painting to music. I can’t believe I have the very first portraits he painted to music on stage. I’ll never forget those sad brown eyes with so much hope, his gifted soul and a heart of gold. Paint brushes have been replaced with Angels wings~ cacci24@msn.com

  17. Briana Ross

    Denny Dent what can i say…… Gee maybe we should start with the fact that all i wanted was a FATHER that would be in my life and not ignore me, or just make me feel like i was important in his life…. But no, for the last 24 years we have had an off an on relationship.. The only problem was is when we would fight he would not talk to me for a good 2 years at a time.. NOT COOL… He knew how to hold a grudge, that’s for shore. The sad part is, is that when we did talk that meant more to me than anything in the world, but he never really wanted a kid so if you are wondering why you don’t know anything about me, taht is why.. Go ahead ask Ali she’ll tell ya.. Me and her got along so good and i loved her so much also, but we only talked when me and my dad talked.. She was good for him, she stuck by him through the good and bad, and in some ways I believe she made him a better person all around.. All i ever wanted was a full time father, but hey you get whaT YOU GET AND I GOT A PART TIME ONE, but i loved him anyway.. He defenitley should have been around more, but you know what,… I tried… For the last two years we have not talked over a dumb arguement, although i tried repeatedly to call his cell phone to try to make up but like I said earlier he can hold a grudge… I got pregnant and one week before I had my daughter I decided i would leave a message and let him know that he would be a grandpa and maybe that would break the ice for him and I, well I was right, he called but unfortunatly I was not home and i tried for months to call him back, but once again no response. A few months after that I get a call from a friend of mine, not even his wife, but a friend of mine that he died a week ago.. I was devastated, but what hurt the most is that I should have been the first to know, Ali should have called me.. I am his daughter for god sakes.. Just because the world doesn’t know about me, I still do exist, and that really hurt that when I called there home she answered and told me that she is so sorry, but she didn’t know how to tell me.. I accepted her apology at that time cause I know that she was hurting but god that really hurt… Just because I didn’t seem all that important in his life except when he decided that he wanted to be in my life doesn’t make me go away, and he’ll never really know how much any of this really hurt me.. The fighting for the past two years was ridiculous, but I tried my ass off to make it right and now the worst part about everything is that he never got to apologize to me and we never got to fix everthing between us, I never got to hear that last I love you before he died, because of his stubbornish ways and now I never will…AND the biggest thing is that he never got to see his beautiful granddaughter who is now 16 months old..Ali if you read this, we still have our chance to make right what should have been made right a long time ago, and you get to see your granddaughter.. afterall you are her grandma…Well, I guess I could be mad forever for all of this crap that my dad has done to me over the years and the fact that I will always feel a certain part of emptyness in my heart for not having that closure with him, but I know in my heart that I tried and I do Love him, part of me will always be angry at him, but i will always love him…. As for everone else this will seem strange because there is very few of you who even knew about me….But just because he didn’t make me a bigger part of his life that I would like to have been, I am still here……….. His daughter, Lecia, Briana Ross

  18. Jay Weitz

    It was 1983 in Laguna beach I had the privledge of meeting Denny and his soul mate Ali.He came to perform at my art gallery and paint he did.All as I were awestruck as this genius created images beyond belief.We bonded instantly and became friends.We (Denny,Ali and myself)spent some wild times on the west coast and the east coast.All through the years we always kept in touch and those who knew Denny know how his phone calls could be.I regret not seeing him much the past few years but our phone calls always kept us in check.The memories we shared will always remain in my heart and soul.Denny I love you and miss you.It”s too hard to say goodbye so lets just say ” I”ll see you on the other side” YOUR FRIEND JAY

  19. ray peretti

    Denny was my cousin, we grew up together in oakland, Ca.I just want to say I loved and admired
    him. We used to draw and paint together, although
    he was a couple of years older than me and far more talanted than I.He was as much a showman as an artist, both sinner and a saint. He spoke to me of his Daugther, please if contact me, I have been looking for you.

  20. Cindy Pearson Lewis

    I had the honor and pleasure of knowing Denny and Ali when they lived in Hermosa Beach Calif. I am proud to have 3 of his awesome portraits.One he gave me for my birthday, one I won at a bar in Hermosa, and one my brother gave me. (My brother worked for Denny setting up his canvas and cleaning up. Denny paid him in art!) I have cherished them for over 20 years. His energy was unstoppable and his art-form will never be duplicated. I just found out today that almost a year ago he passed away. My prayers are with Ali and everyone who knew and loved Denny.

  21. Joe

    I am from NJ and went to Montclair State University. Hanging in the Student Center is a Denny “John Lennon” from his visit at Winter carnivale in the 80’s… I have always loved it

  22. Christinedeepher

    I had the pleasure of seeing Denny Dent in the early 1990’s at Johnson & Wales Univ in Prov, RI. I remember one particular painting to the sound of Jimmy Hendrix where, as he painted, I wondered what the h*ll it was. He had just performed a few others that we were all amazed with, but this particular one just did not seem to be recongnizable. When it appeared he was finished and stepped back to survey his master piece, he asked the crowd what we thought. I didn’t know what to think…. it didn’t look like anyone. Just then he flipped the picure upside down and my mouth dropped… there was Jimmy Hendrix!! He covered up what appeared to be a cartoon character with black for his afro, and colored in the bandana,and there was Jimmy. I was completely amazed…. it was awesome actually!! The last time I visited JWU, I saw in their student activities building, a few of Denny Dents great works. He was an amazing artist, and genuinely seemed to enjoy entertaining people,he will surely be missed. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends.

  23. mscott

    So last night I’m watching the dvd of the D.A. Pennebaker film “Jimi Plays Monterey” and the opening is this amazing artist madly attacking a brick wall with seemingly random paint splotches as Hendix music wails away. As the classic profile of Jimi emerges, I suddenly realize that I have see this before! Back in 1985 my fiance and I went to see The Roches at the Beverly Theater in Beverly Hills California. Denny was the opening act and we were blown away. He did at least three canvases, including his iconic Hendrix. So this morning I check the internet and learn of his passing. It sounds as if he lived a troubled life but that he certainly brought joy to many, including me, with his passionate art. I hope his daughter finds peace in that and best to his family.

  24. Debbi

    I was thinking of the Colorscape Festival in Norwich, NY and I remember the first year when it began. Denny Dent was there and the year after. I enjoyed watching him paint everything by music. I even got him to sign my Colorscape tshirt that I had bought. So today I did a search on Denny to see what he was up to and I came across that he had passed away and I am very saddened by that. He was such a creative and talented man. He will be missed by many especially from the art community.

  25. Lou Shapiro

    I am just today learning of Denny’s death. I am very sad. I went to elementary school with Denny in Oakland and also attended Oakland High School with him.
    Denny performed his famous “art attack” at the Oakland High 30-year reunion in 1996. I video taped that performance and made copies for all my fellow students that wanted one. I am so glad that I have that tape as a lasting memory.
    Denny was an extraordinary talent and a brilliant artist. His art was unique and one of a kind. I will miss him because he was a friend.

  26. Kong Wu

    It was late 1994 when I had the honor to serve Denny and Ali at a Chinese restaurant in Las Vegas, Nevada, where they once lived. At the time I was 24 years old with no directions, no ambition or self-esteem to do what I really wanted to do, caused by mistakes and “setbacks” that had been discouraging me. At first, I chatted with them about how hard America was to adapt to, especially when one is young and can’t communicate. “I drew a lot ever since I was a little boy back in Hong Kong,” I told Denny without knowing who he was. “With my art drawings, I was known as the Chinese kid that could draw but couldn’t speak. I even earned a scholarship award in fine arts at my junior high school, but I did not pursue art or education any further, due to financial situations and family problems at the time.” For some reason I felt that I could open myself to them, like long-time friends. In return, Denny had told me that he was also a high school dropout and did all the things that his Mama wouldn’t approve of. But he never gave up his passion for arts or himself. After knowing where he came from and what he was about, Denny said to me “not to give up and follow your heart” and that we’d continue our conversation as soon as he returned from doing a show in Tokyo. I guess he felt that I didn’t want to be just a waiter and wanted more out of life. Not only did he keep his word, he gave me a one of his “Art Attack” flyers on the second visit. On it he wrote, “To Kong, From the Heart to the Heart, Denny Dent.” He also showed me videos on some of work. “It’s not always about the money or what you do, it’s the way you do it. If you do it out of your heart, it will be felt by other hearts. It will take time and hard effort, just don’t give up. And this is the end for us, I WILL NOT WASTE ANYMORE TIME SEEING YOU HERE.” I did not get the MESSAGE at the time until Ali came in for take-out a few months after. She explained to me that it was the strange way of him to get his students to go after their dreams and not to have any hard feelings over it. Now, I’m working for a well-known graphic designer.This extraordinary man gave me an opportunity to work for him and taught me skills to help me become a computer graphic artist. I have been giving my heart and soul for the past decade chasing after the dream of one day being able to prove to Denny that his words of wisdom from just our few hours together made a big impact to my life. It’s been almost two years, and I just found out about his untimely passing from talking to a friend about Denny, who inspired me to focus on my art and how I got my start. I’m very sad that I won’t get to chat with Denny, or show him some of my work to earn a spot as one of his students and more than anything else…as a FRIEND. As much as he wished to be kept at a distance, I will cherish the “Art Attack” flyer and his inspiration. To refine my art skills and be creative as I can be will prove he will always be remembered. FROM MY HEART TO THE GREATEST HEART I HAVE EVER KNOWN, FOREVER HE WILL MISSED BUT NEVER BE FORGOTTEN.
    Sincerely, Kong Wu.

  27. Frank Ozaki

    wow — i was cleaning out my rolodex today and came across denny’s card, and i figured i’d google him and see if i could find any info about him. i’m sad to hear that he has left the world.
    i saw him perform while in college at southeast missouri state university in cape girardeau around 1990. he blew us all away. at the end of the show, he had a raffle in which he gave away one of the paintings he did that day, and i won — being a huge lennon fan, i chose that one. i guess he wasn’t too happy that i chose that one, because he said it was the best one he’d done, but he was very gracious and let me have it any way. i was an art major, and i had a long trench coat that on a whim i asked him to paint, dent-style, and he did that for me, too. i wore it for years. he gave me his business card and his phone number and said that if i ever was in the area, to look him up (this was back when he worked in vegas). as fate would have it i ended up moving to reno, and have only been to vegas once in the 14+ years i’ve lived in nevada. i still have both the lennon painting and the coat he did for me.
    i wish his wife and family all the best. he was a gentle, creative soul, and i also hope his estranged daughter (from the above post) finds some peace and comfort in the fact that he was well admired when he was with us.

  28. amy

    i happened to be browsing the website of a henna tattoo artist barbee cain when i came across denny’s name as a link on her website. after reading about his very untimely death i am filled with sadness that such an awesome sprit and wonderful wonderful man is no longer with us. it has been quite some time since ive lived in colorado but i go back to visit oten. when i did live there i was a waitress at what was then called “jackson’s hole bar and grill” denny had his studio in the same little strip mall there on leetsdale and would come down often and visit.he always managed to put a smile on my face even when i had a dark cloud over my head…and to see him perform…well…words can hardly do it justice and it is something i will never forget! although he is gone, he will certainly never be forgotten and i will forever hold his memory close to my heart. thanks for the endless inspiration denny….

  29. Mark Sargeaunt

    I worked with Denny when I was living in Hermosa Bch in southern California. I was setting up and cleaning up afterwards but more importantly I was a friend. I helped him in several places including Pancho and Wong’s, Pier 54 (?) and some other places, names which escape me.
    There was one other place that was really special for me. I was at the Santa Barbara outdoor place when Denny opened for for Herb Alpert.
    I will always have a large warm spot for my very good friend and although I haven’t seen him in quite a few years this news of his passing brings a very deep sense of sadness. I loved him as a brother and have often wondered what happened to him. The last I had heard he was living in Los Vegas with wonderful Ali and the 2 of them were very happy. I hope she is doing well.

  30. adam reinstein

    I had the honor of creating a trade show event for, of all things, the Oncologist and Hematologist show in San Diego in 2004. The client liked Denny so much that they ordered two shows a day for 4 days. Denny was sick by then, but he never let on and never showed it. While off stage he was pale and reserved, when he was on stage he truly came alive. His art was his passion, ant the world now glows a little less brightly for his passing. He was an artist, an impressario, and first and foremost a gentleman. I hope that Brian can hold up under the heavy mantle that has been passed to him. Godspeed, Denny

  31. Tom Music

    Denny Dent ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,!,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
    an exclaimation point in a world of commas!

  32. Natalie Speth

    READ THIS!!
    I never heard of denny dent until about two months ago.
    I left my house in oakland california.. walked about 1 block before a man stopped me and asked if i lived in the house i just came out of… i reply yes..
    he proceedes to tell me denny was his best friend growing up and he spent alot of time in the house with him and his family.. we talked for half an hour or so..
    denny’s bedroom is my bedroom..
    im an artist.
    denny died three days after i moved to oakland california, very spontaiouslly from chicago.
    i love denny, his spirit lives strong.
    -natalie
    namonox@hotmail.com

  33. Tom Alexander

    In 1983 I saw Denny perform in Miami and for the last two decades I’ve looked to see him again. In life you are left with some vivid memories, somehow Mr. Dent’s performance over two decades ago will remain one of my life’s vivid memories.

  34. Antti

    For those who have never seen what Denny did, check this clip of Denny painting Jimi Hendrix :

    Man I hope I had found out about Denny 15 years sooner. An amazing artist.

  35. Mike Scardina

    I saw Denny paint at Virginia Tech in the early 90’s when I was a student. I remember being just blown away by his talent and showmanship. I didn’t think much about his work in the intervening years was until recently when I had a dream about that spring day when I saw him create something really magical. It sparked my interest in him again and I started surfing the web. Of course, I was greatly saddened to hear of his passing. As I’ve become somewhat of an art collector in the last few years, I hope that I can get one of his works to place proudly in my home – I know just the perfect spot. God Bless Denny and his family and loved ones.

    • Alice Weaver

      We have a Denny Dent of Beathoven painted at the Denver Symphony. We don’t really have the space for such a large painting. We may sell and then again we may not. Get in touch and we will see.

  36. Rock Demarco

    Denny’s performance art has inspired my self as a performance painter.
    I have tailord my own style of performance to my show just as the other performance painters have also done but in the end we must all admit that if it wasn’t for Denny we would not have gone down this road and been able to entertain thousands of people with our art.
    Rock Demarco

  37. Rosie

    Just wanted to ask if this is the same person that painted John Lennons Portrait on stage to Lennon’s songs. I’m not sure but maybe it was on the Phil Donahue show.
    He mostly if I remeber right he used his hands not so much on the brushes.

  38. Caroline Martin Garrett

    I can’t believe it has been over three years since I recieved the news from Ali that our dear friend had died. I remember the 1st time I met Denny…it was 1983, Las Vegas…we both got a gig in the same show, LEGENDS IN CONCERT, he was the opening act and I was a back-up singer to all the look-a-likes. He was doing something that no one had ever experienced before.I thought he was
    Magic! We continued our friendship ’till the day he died. He always spoke of Ali as his reason for living and after meeting her, I could see why. They both had so much love to give, always there to inspire people and constantly encouraging you to be the best you can be. Later on in life, Denny spoke often of his daughter. He was so happy when they were communicating. One day he asked me if he could send me another painting since it had been 20 years since I got an Elvis from him. I asked him to pick out one that he loved and that would be the one I put in our new home. He had my husband send him a few photos of me without me knowing and as a surprise, sent me a portrait of ME! Wow…what an honor!!! I have so many stories and so many memories of him. I really hope someone does something with the screenplay about his life that he had been working on. We talked all the time… I miss his crazy phone calls late at night…I miss hearing him say “See ya See ya! I miss talking to Ali and would love to find her! I miss watching him paint! I miss his positive spirit and his belief in humanity. I know that it was his dream to meet Oprah because he believed she was one of the true angels on earth. He got the opportunity a month before he died when she hired him to paint John Travolta for his 50th B.day bash in Cabo San Lucas. He left us too soon, but he had a full life and more importantly….a true soul mate!
    I love you both!
    Caroline

  39. Vic

    I was very sad to hear of Denny”s passing. Although I didn’t get the chance to meet him, I knew Ali pretty well in the 1970’s. She was a co worker and good friend of my wife. She also was a brides maid in our wedding. The one time we visited them in Vegas, Denny was away for a show.
    I was looking forward to meeting him. That was the last time we saw Ali and I’ll never forget how happy she was. I truely believe they were soul mates. I wish the best for Ali and Denny’s family

  40. tim piper

    I saw Deny perform about 16 years ago in Las Vegas. I was naturaly blown away…what an amazing inspiration Deny has been on my life. I have a Jim Morrison I bought in 1992 and when my little world crumbled 7 years ago, his painting is one of the “things” I was able to hold on to. At the bottom of my little pity pit I decided to pick up a brush and learn to become an artist. What I learned along the way is that for one to become a great artist, you must first become a great human being(some great artist said that). I hope they are sitting around in the great artist area of heaven sending down great inspiration to those of us who yearn to become great human beings. Thank you Deny….I’m workin on it

  41. John Hackl

    He was a great performer and friend of mine in 84 to 86
    I did not know he passed. I started out with him before he was at your place. ( At my place ) Santa Monica… I rodied with him before that when he didn’t even know he had the talent. I know what you mean because we use to clean up paint off the bar floors where he first started in Hermosa Beach. I was there with him… Setting up canvas and cleaning up.
    I was there when he put up his very first canvas in Hermosa beach and we got yelled at for the mess it made and we scrubbed the floors and walls.
    This was before we got the idea of the tarps LOL
    John Hackl

  42. kat ball

    I myself never met Denny.My Grandmother lived across the hall from Denny in Las Vegas.One day he knocked onher door,knowing she sews well. He needed something sewn in a hurry. He was soo thankful, he gave her a painting of “David Bowie”.This was back in the 80’s & Im sure she didnt even know who David Bowie was,but she held on to that poster till her death. Now Im in possession of it. Although I love it I need to sell it.I have no one to leave it to..

  43. Caroline Martin Garrett

    Still thinking about the 2 of you so much…I look at the picture hanging in our entryway everyday and find myself telling your story every time someone new comes through that door.
    Miss you..See ya See ya
    Caroline

  44. Kim McGinnis

    I used to work as a bartender in a nightclub about 25 years ago in Santa Monica, CA. It’s no longer there, but it was called ‘At My Place.’ They had some of the best live music I have had the pleasure (and privilege) to listen to. Denny Dent appeared there on a semi-regular basis, always to a packed house. I had the good fortune to meet him. His act was awe-inspiring and I can remember vividly watching him from behind the bar as if it were yesterday. I recently started a project that involves local artists where I live now in Boulder, Colorado. My partner and I are making video documentaries on these talented artists and one of them that we are working with mentioned that I should look up Denny Dent. I smiled and blurted out – ‘I know him!’ I did look him up tonight, curious to see what he was up to and if (by some miracle) he would remember me. To my great surprise I learned that he has passed on. What a loss of an extraordinary talent. I thank him for all the hours I got to know him by watching him do what he loves – he has inspired me in ways I don’t think I totally realize. Rest in peace Denny, you will be missed.

  45. Robin K

    Now, so many decades later and rehabbing from cancer surgery, I give pause to review my childhood. As much as it was full of challenge and turmoil, possibly dampening the spirits of others, my perception of life was one of richness, inspiration, and enthusiasm. I immediately visualize the following: Riding my bike near Oakland’s Lake Merritt toward the Grand Lake Theater. Behind the theater and down the block, I would park my bike in front of the little home of DENNY DENT. Somedays Denny’s home was a rendezvous point for us boys, many of whom attended Our Lady of Lourdes School. I remember the Winslow brothers who lived next door. Frequently I was accompanied by Billy
    Schwartz, who continues to be my closest friend, a Soul Brother. We were a group of innocent little boys, much like the TV characters of the Little Rascals. At that time, our priorities were sandlot baseball at Lakeside Park, movies at the Grand Lake, comparing baseball cards, and just having fun being with one another. Denny was integral to our joy. He mentored mentoring me. He was the most enthusiastic person I have ever met. We played on the same Little League team. He played shortstop and I was 3rd. Talk about “talking it up”, forever I will remember overhearing our coaches thankful to have Denny as a player who exemplified Hustle and the Love for the Game. Such a perfect role model as a player. And although we had a great local MLB team in the San Francisco Giants with heroes like Willie Mays, Denny
    was a zealous disciple of the New York Yankees. He was
    current on every stat about the team and each player. Don’t even think about comparing Mickey Mantle as less than Christlike.
    Speaking of Christ, Denny Dent drove the Nuns nuts. I
    acknowledge that I am ADHD. Denny was ADHD times 10. Playing with a friend possessing an electric spirit and extraordinary talent was an amazing adventure.
    As mentioned, Denny lived in a cozy little house with his Swiss mother and grandmother. His grandma was a plump
    little woman who was bossy. I remember high pitched chatter
    , ” Denny this and Denny that”. All that I can recall of his mother was that she was a slim, dark haired attractive woman . Her facial features were “different”. She was kind, quiet, and meek. Both women loved their Denny dearly.
    Denny’s room was a tiny hangout. A very large art easel dominated the space. Though even as a little boy Denny was
    passionate about life in general, his devotion to art was the transcendent priority in life. He was like the character in, “the man who fell to earth”.
    I now pause to quench my senses in this warm emerald setting, giving thanks to Denny Dent for heightening my sensitivity
    Ps. A few years before his death, Denny found me. As if tying up loose ends because of an unconscious premonition of his death, Denny wanted to gift me something, anything. At the time I had absolutely NO Knowledge that he had manifested and was acknowledged for his inspirational greatness in the art world. In response to Denny, I asked for a little pencil sketch, a draft. What I received was this large painting of my favorite rock singer, Jim Morrison of the Doors.
    Now that was Heavy.
    Thanks Denny
    Robin Kristiansen

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