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Denny Dent decided what he wanted to do with the rest of his life at a memorial for John Lennon on the 1st anniversary of his death in 1981. The unknown street painter brought an easel onto the stage and, while Lennon’s music played in the backround, Dent passionately painted his portrait. The crowd went nuts and Dent went on to performance art (literally) fame.

It’s almost impossible to describe Dent’s performance style. The Christian Science Montior has called it “attack dance with paint.” Denny would paint to a single piece of music. With three brushes in each fist, sometimes lightly stroking and other times aggressively slashing the canvas, he’d create a masterpiece in about four to five minutes. His energy and passion were contagious.

Over the course of his career he painted likenesses of Lennon, Jimi Hendrix, Elton John, Mick Jagger and many others. He thus became known as the, “Rock and Roll Painter.” Sadly, Dent died last year at the age of 55.

Yesterday was the 25th anniversary of John Lennon’s death and I think of him and the dreamers he’s inspired, like Denny Dent:

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