Denny Dent, American (1948-2004)

Denny Dent is an American speed painter who was known for his frenetic performances as he painted large portraits of celebrities. Dent was born in Oakland, California and graduated from Oakland High School. His style emerged after he painted a spontaneous portrait of John Lennon at a 1980 vigil. Dent married Ali Christina Flores.

A Denny Dent performance, which he referred to as a “Two-Fisted Art Attack,” consisted of him rapidly painting on a 6-foot-tall (1.8 m) black canvas with multiple brushes in both hands, as well as painting with his bare hands, to a musical accompaniment. Over the course of just a few short songs, he would complete a portrait. His subjects were most often musicians, but also included other entertainers, sports figures and political leaders. One of his most famous performances was at the Woodstock ’94 concert.

Dent died in Denver of complications from a heart attack.