Thursday, October 9, 2008

The Evolution of Denman's Dream: Past and Present

Alright, to begin this post I have to admit one thing. believe it or not, deep down inside, I am a nerd. It took a while for me to come to this realization. there was the obvious reason that as I was growing up I wanted to be liked and I wanted to be popular, at least with the culture of kids i grew up with, the punks. Even more so this culture breeds the ideas of being tough and cool. consequently, I buried this idea of enjoying fantasy related things hidden (at least to most people). And about the time I went into high school it so happened that the Lord of the Rings trilogy started. this was and still is one of my favorite movies for better or for worse. and incidentally caused more hype in my life towards fantasy, dwarves, and elf related things.

High School brought about the best in me in a few different ways. first of it encouraged me to bridge out and meet new people and also experience the world of public school as i had been brought up first home schooled and then christian private school. Yough high school was a new place to me, the real world. and with this real world came real opportunity. which in my case knocked and then opened up to many art classes with a now personal hero of mine Bob Weaver. In Mr. Weaver class he inspired me to be creative and think simply about art. kids would say things like "Mr. Weaver! how do i draw hair. i can't quite get it?" and he would reply simply "make it look hairy." Some might say this was an idiotic response, but others say the line between idiocy and genius are very thin. and in this way they're right. Most questions were answered with a response very similar to, or precisely "draw what you see." It was a way of him simplifying the idea that we, as humans, relate memory to objects in front of us. and so instead of drawing exactly whats in front of us we draw what we think, or remember a hand (for example) looks like. Anyway, it's this sort of inspiration that encouraged me to be inventive and start sketching things that excited me, like dwarves and elves at the time. here are a few sketches from that time, pulled straight from some old sketchbooks.

It's sketches like these that evolved and grew into a stronger desire to paint them and as i was learning how to oil paint at the time i figured this would be a perfect way to inspire myself to learn better and be creative at the same time. So in turn I started this painting which has been masterly named "Denman's Dream" by my friends and is currently and probably will forever remain unfinished.

There are a couple of reasons this painting remains unfinished. the first reason was I had started it in the spring, so sadly what you see now is what I had finished at the end of that school year, which I believe was 10th grade. And as a youthful teen, 16 at the time, I didn't want to do anything related to school, or plainly anything that didn't involve skateboarding 24/7. I had got my license that summer so my twin brother and I would be out anytime we had a chance. which left no time for art. I believe it was this freedom, this release of myself from my isolated house to the open streets gave me a reason not to indulge in the ideas of fantasy and other geeky things. I dived head first into skateboarding. something so much more cool, acceptable, normal possibly. It was this freedom that when we came back to school in the fall, I took one look at that unfinished painting, and with the aching span of 3 months, i simply had loss the drive. So there it lay unfinished. dormant on the desk, longing for me to return. but I abandoned it.

Many years later after I had tried the college thing, dropped out, joined a band and moved to the Steel City, I had somehow brought that unfinished painting with me. It was accompanied by various other half finished projects. I had possibly brought it along to eventually paint over it and then re-paint something else to use the beautiful canvas. This would have been a great idea, and very resourceful, until this painting for some reason became immortalized in a song.

It started when my good friend and brother Justin "Skull" Miller saw it standing up in my closet amongst other various abandoned canvases and art supplies. He said, "I remember that from high school! why don't you finish it?". I laughed and said something about how he had to be kidding due to the fact of the obviously nerdy content and time-span that it had last been worked on. He was humored at the idea and since he had just recently started up a side project called "Wrestling Secrets" in which he sang and played guitar, he told me that he had just decided to write lyrics based on the very idea behind the painting. The songs obvious title "Denman's Dream". the lyrics to this band have been described as very unimportant. usually something funny or just plain weird (as in the lyrics to Denman's Dream). the words are pretty incomprehensible while played due to the fact that they are joined by loud guitars, blasting bass, powerful drums and overall dirty, raw, garage sound. Here are the lyrics he wrote.

Denman's Dream by Wrestling Secrets
no one ever understood why he never came out to play.
the boy just stayed inside and painted his days away.
they thought he was crazed,
that sterling was insane,
but no one ever took the time to aynalize his dreams!

he can't escape his dreams they're his reality.
the land of elves and dwarves is where he wants to be.
at nite he rules the land with a sword and a shield.
but when he awakes a paint brush is what he wields.

and here is the link to the song itself
feel free to read along.

As that was the past and i find myself maturing and caring less of what people think about me. I've come to the realization that it's ok to be a little nerdy it's ok to embrace some sort of 14 year old Denman that's in love with elves and wizards and Mordor and the like. I've come to terms that deep down there's that desire to paint and create that kind of world. Do I let it consume my life? no. But it's ok to be existent. So Denman's Dream is still apparent in my life, and it's aloud to flourish and grow if it wants. So consequently, as I allow myself to embrace such ideas I'm fine with joining fan art contests. And that's just what I did with this next piece. I joined this contest mainly for the money aspect (as the winners receive cash prizes up to $500), but also for that desire inside to join with Frank Frezetta and paint the Sci-Fi and Fantasy worlds that lay in all of us somewhere. Anyway here it is, titled "The White Wolf and His Prey"

So in Conclusion, is Denman's Dream alive today? Yes. Perhaps it's not just my dream though. Maybe it's a dream of all of yours. maybe it's trying to get out and express itself. Needless to say if it's a dream deep down in you or not, it was in me. and so let the jury stand. Somewhere in between my efforts of being a cool, masculine man, I'm a nerd.


Morgan J. Smith said...

denman i really enjoyed reading this. it makes me remember the old days, both the bad and good. i think we were all pretending to be something we werent, as we probably are all still in a smaller amount. thanks for posting this. i really like the new painting too and hope it does well in the contest. i love the background of the soft whites turning into blue. the white haired guy looks awesome. i love his clothing and things on him. im glad you are caring less about what people think, we all need to do that.

love you brother, and will see you soon.

Denman Rooke said...

thanks Morgan, appreciate it. those good ol' days were something.