The Art of Speed Painting
Speed painting is both a painting and performance style that grows more and more popular with time. The terms “speed painting” and “speed painter”, however, fail to describe the multiple skills needed to produce quality artwork of this type.
Denny Dent is recognized as the first painter to introduce this type of painting style to the American art scene in 1981. His frenzied live performances captivated countless audiences who sat in utter amazement as they watched him produce great artwork (usually of famous people) through unique techniques known as an “Art Attack”. Although he passed away from heart complications on March 29, 2004, his flamboyant, passionate style of painting lives on.
Speed painting has a freestyle element to it that expresses an artist’s talents to the fullest extent as they produce a work of art with showmanship. Instead of just capturing a particular subject on canvas, a speed artist dares to go a step further, by giving the image personality and animation through choreographed music, constant motion and the several choices of colors–these are the principles of speed painting.
The audience’s anticipation of seeing blotches of paint slowly turn into a recognizable figure is partly why speed painting is such a great art form. The performance aspect of speed painting typically involves the use of up to six paint brushes as well as the use of the artist’s hands and elbows that aid in techniques like flipping, spattering and even throwing paint at the canvas in order to create the illusion of chaos as the image is brought to life.
More often than not, the artwork takes second stage to the actual performance. Seeing a speed painter bring Mick Jagger to life within minutes is a real showstopper. Furthermore, the impact made on an audience listening to inspirational music while watching the face of Dr. Martin Luther King being captured on canvas brings deep admiration and respect for the artist bringing this unforgettable leader to life.
I won’t argue that “speed painting” is the modern term for this style of art. In my opinion, however, this term doesn’t give the performance and the skills of an artist who holds true to the principles embodied by Denny Dent enough credit. I highly encourage you to take advantage of any chance you may have to witness this art form live to get the true sense and appreciation of what speed painting really is.
Going by the name only, most of you probably assume that speed painting only involves creating an image on canvas within a very fast period of time. To describe it more accurately, speed painting can be compared to seeing a great singer live in concert as opposed to seeing their picture on a wall. It brings life to a portrait in a way that you could never experience visiting an art gallery, since the creation of an image or portrait is accompanied by mood music as the artist splashes and spreads dynamic colors across the canvas with energetic flair.
6th Annual Adobe Digital Government Assembly: Engage, Transform, and Drive Results
The 6th Annual Adobe Digital Government Assembly, hosted by FedScoop, took place at The Ritz-Carlton, Washington DC. This full day event brought together top technology leaders, senior agency officials, and industry pioneers to discuss three core themes that serve as the foundation for agencies moving forward: engage, transform, and drive results. After morning full of general session keynotes, breakout sessions, and a networking luncheon, they had a thirty-minute window for entertainment and featured Brian Olsen. His message of creativity and his ability to engage the audience, transform a canvas, and drive results resonated with the event’s core theme.
Gene Juarez Premier: “Out Of The Box Engagement”
The Purpose of the Gene Juarez Premiere Engagement was to assemble the entire company, approximately 700 people, to re-engage them on the state of the business, introduce an array of brand new initiatives to solicit new business and to give the employees a celebratory awards program of recognition. With these objectives in mind, The GJ Co. executives decided to approach the stage presentation from a completely different perspective than they had seen before! The wanted to address the creative spirit and inspirational energy that helped build the brand from the beginning! They loved the notion of completely taking the attendees by surprise and start off the corporate presentation with a new approach. They wanted an “Out-of-the-box” style presentation with artistry, inspiration and energy. Brian was that guy! “Brian rose to the occasion and then some, remarked Charlie (event planner). “ Through a few logistical challenges we encountered with the venue space and some of the timing of presenters, Brian was asked to go a little above and beyond the initial plan. He took to it instantly and offered a few solutions he could bring to help us overcome the challenges despite the solution changing his approach a bit. He was completely professional and it truly felt like Brian was a part of the presentation team and not just a “Guest” performer. The audience gave Brian a standing ovation which has never happened for this group in their past meetings. They loved what Brian created and couldn’t have been more in tune with his artistic and creative technique!”
Rainmaker LRO Conference: “Thinking Differently”
Once a year Rainmaker LRO brings their customers together at a yearly conference to network, showcase new initiatives and recruit new customers. Brian Olsen’s art performance was appealing to Rainmaker LRO because of his uniqueness. The conference planners wanted their event to be a sensory overload and Brian helped to deliver without a doubt. “Brian was fantastic, as usual, remarked Stephanie (Meeting and Events Director) He brought a musical and visual element to the event that was outstanding. In addition, Brian helped in making our event shine by being flexible with the space we had on stage.” The clients of Rainmaker LRO couldn’t stop talking about how incredible the entertainment was. The photos didn’t stop and the chatter after each act was non-stop. The two VIP’s even bought the additional two paintings. Brian Olsen was the highlight of their evening.
Boys & Girls Club Fundraiser: “Rock The Clubs”
The Boys and Girls Club was looking for entertainment during dinner that would interest people but also allow them to enjo
y their meals and conversation with table guests. The nonprofit’s theme this year was “Rock The Clubs” and the event planners thought the painting of a rock legend would be a great fit. Brian donated his artwork to the fundraiser, which more than covered the performance fee and helped raise thousands of dollars for the Boys and Girls Club of Metro Denver.
Brian Olsen Performance Painting of Bob Marley
In this Google Hangout, learn about Brian Olsen’s painting of Bob Marley created in ten minutes with his fingers. Brian tells all about his mentor Denny Dent. Find out what happened to the speed-painters painting after it was created.
Denny Dent My Mentor – Brian Olsen Art In Action
Check out an up close glimpse into how Brian Olsen and Denny Dent shared a journey of Performance Painting and life. This Google Hangout really takes you back to where “Art In Action” was born.
Denny is accredited with creating the form of art that is known as Performance Painting or Speed Painting. To see how Brian has progressed with this art form check out the slides, videos and testimonials on the home page of this site.
“Hangout” With Performance Painter Brian Olsen
Hangout with renowned performance painter Brian Olsen. Today,he launched a new chapter of Art In Action Live google hangouts to give you a chance to get an inside look at his art, performances and inspiration behind his creative process. This is the first video in Brian’s studio. Enjoy!
Bringing Art To The Corporate World
By: Ines Min
We’re taught at a young age not to use our hands to paint, but brushes, and to shade within the lines with color pencils. For Brian Olsen, a one-man show of music and art, that’s exactly what he does — for major corporations.
Olsen brought his explosive 6-brush, hands, knees and elbow-painting style to Korea for the first time last week in Olympic Park, at the launch of Audi’s new V8 car.
At this point, many people would say: “Huh?”
Olsen, the world’s only apprentice to the ’80s name Denny Dent, specializes in a specific genre of artwork that doesn’t quite fit between the clean lines of traditional painting, performance art and speed painting.
Working with a recurring portfolio of iconic figures — his “repertoire” — the spiky-haired 37-year-old (will update Sunday) recreates the likeness of everyone from James Dean to Mohammed Ali.
Donning paint-splattered black clothing, he works on a black canvas to the beat of a rock song — furiously leaping, splashing and sliding his extremities across his medium. (While Dent’s show was the “Two-Fisted Art Attack,” Olsen goes for the alliterative “Art in Action.”)
The unique practice has evolved since the time of Olsen’s tutor, and the protege now performs predominantly for major companies.
Combining entertainment with inspirational tidbits between shows, the artist has moved from pop icons to buildings, logos and now cars.
He continues to develop his style with new levels of dimension; his newest show involves simultaneous portraits of The Beatles, painted on a rotating cube.
“In between the paintings I’ll address the audience directly and I’ll talk about my creative process, how I create artwork, and how that process can apply to someone else’s work,” Olsen told The Korea Times ahead of his Audi performance Tuesday, at the Park Hyatt Seoul.
“Whether they’re in sales, or in product development, the creative process is universal in how you approach things. And it ties into ‘How do you overcome obstacles,’ ‘How do you overcome problems,’ or ‘How do you recognize the tools that you have to work with?’
“The show is kind of motivational in that sense that I’m able to take my audience on a journey.”
A connection with his audience is what the artist seeks most, while accessibility is his best method — an important aspect considering Olsen performs 40 to 50 shows a year across the globe.
“What I do isn’t necessarily language-based, so I can create the same experience in any country that I go to,” he said.
“And it’s the excitement of art and music, in action, and kind of dance, and all these different art forms that sort of ball together into my show.”
While Olsen’s performances almost always finish without a hitch, there have been the occasional goofs such as stage lights blacking out or a CD player malfunction. Now he travels with two CD players and two CDs.
“Each show, each time I get on stage it’s an experience. Anything can happen, and that’s kind of one of the exciting (things),” said the artist-performer.
“It’s not like you hit the play button and it’s already been recorded and you can go through your track or something. It’s a moment in time.”
Reaching that stage took practice, as landscape architecture-trained Olsen worked closely with Dent to become an ambidextrous painter, create the right proportions at such a close angle, and time himself. While Dent helped his student construct his own show, an untimely death left Olsen without a mentor.
He picked himself up, however, and threw himself into the trade, learning to promote himself, create a brand and image. But through his success, it is still that desire to spread the reach of art that fuels him.
“I can go into the studio and create artwork, and sell it to a gallery, and you can go and look at it on a wall. But I think the process of creating is what’s really exciting,” he said.
“It’s not just this high-end gallery-like artwork. It’s real, it’s kind of in your face, and it happens quickly, in about eight minutes — so it fits into people’s attention spans.
“I’m able to grasp a huge population of people that aren’t interested in art because maybe they’re intimidated by it… there’s no secret. You watch it happen.”
And for all his flair on stage, Olsen isn’t just seeking the spotlight.
“Sometimes I let people in my studio, but I guess there’s still some part of me that’s this reclusive artist, and I don’t really like people to come in until it’s done,” he said with a smile.
Audience Engagement: Brillux
Brian traveled to Germany to entertain the enthusiastic folks at Brillux– a leading paint company. Using Brillux paints, Brian painted portraits of Bob Marley, Marilyn Monroe and Michael Jackson for the 4,000 guests there there to celebrate the companies 125thyear in business. Following his performance, Brian and his translator, internationally renowned German singer and entertainer Helene Fischer engaged and entertained the crowd as Brian fielded questions from the audience. Brian’s witty and insightful responses kept the conversation amongst the participants ongoing for hours.