Q&A with Brian Olsen on Mentor Denny Dent

How did Denny bring out your talent?

I have always been passionate about art and the creative process. It was the time spent with Denny that I learned how powerful creating paintings in a live setting can be for an audience. Denny taught me how to find internal creativity, to really let go and to create from my heart. He taught me how to take energy from music and the audiences, internalize it, and then release it back through the performance. Of course there were many sessions in the studio and on the road where he taught me the technical elements of a live show and painting with two hands and six brushes on a huge canvas.  We used to do little drills in the studio to develop my technique. Above all, I have to say that Denny taught me to believe in myself, my talents and to never give up.

What were some struggles and challenges you had studying & working with Denny Dent ?

Over the six years I spent with Denny, there were many challenges. As his tour manager and studio manager, I was responsible for everything from arranging travel, show advancement, sales, and show set up to keeping his studio organized. The biggest challenge was juggling everything at once. I was the guy balancing the needs of Denny and the needs of the client. Every show for an event was different, and I had to really adapt to different production crews and venues while always figuring out how to make it all work seamlessly. Through this I developed a positive attitude on how people can work together to make shows and events great. Denny had this saying, “Why do today what you can put off till tomorrow”. That was a challenge, but it taught me how to really work under pressure, not only in the studio developing paintings, but also on the road where you never know what might go wrong.


What do you think about other artists following in Denny’s footsteps?

I think that is very cool that Denny was able to inspire so many people- even some that have chosen to create art just as he did. The concept of live painting, even speed painting, has become quite a trend from concerts to churches. For me, painting live is about inspiring my audience to let go and feel the creative energy that comes from the performance; it’s not about me, it is about the best experience for the audience.


Can you discuss your tribute performance to Denny Dent at Cherry Creek Arts Festival in 2004?

Paying tribute to Denny during the Cherry Creek art Festival was a true honor. It was the place he was best known for in Colorado. It was awesome to talk to so many supporters who showed up for the big night when I painted a portrait of Denny.


Would you like to perform again at the Cherry Creek Arts Festival in 2012?

Yes! When performing at the festival, we had huge crowds and lots of support; even some scouts form other festivals have hired us because of the festival. It would be fun to perform again at Cherry Creek 2012 and connect with the Colorado community that we call home.