Michael Denning

Photo Courtesy of Lars Howlett. Michael Denning, a collage artist from Half Moon Bay, has recycled words and pictures to make statements about life, love, youth mentoring, art, politics, spirituality and personal revelations.

Photo Courtesy of Lars Howlett. Michael Denning, a collage artist from Half Moon Bay, has recycled words and pictures to make statements about life, love, youth mentoring, art, politics, spirituality and personal revelations.

Denning, now 29, wasn’t always an artist. For a decade he was simply another lost soul living from high to high. It began at age 13 with his first swig of alcohol. He quickly graduated into drugs including brief stints with LSD, cocaine and crack and eventually settled on crystal meth, which crippled his life for the next decade. When he hit rock bottom, Michael was at risk of losing everything, including his life. Somehow a shard of light managed to seep through his muddled brain and he realized that he should be dead and because he wasn’t, maybe God had a plan for him. He enrolled in a 12-step program in which “I accomplished more in 18 months than I had in 10 years.”

After two years clean, he created a 4′ by 5′ collage, which portrayed both the brutal world of addiction and the blinding clarity of sobriety. His masterpiece provided the healing process that let him bring closure to his years of addiction and begin a new life on a path of new adventures and boundless enthusiasm. The collage entitled “The Way of No Ecstasy” has found a permanent home in the Santa Clara Juvenile Hall Courtroom lobby.

Michael has also found a new home, as a teacher in the Heart of Chaos Juvenile Hall art program sponsored by Catalyst for Youth. In fact ninety-five percent of his collages are created during these weekly classes. Denning’s passion for art comes from his desire to help others. He believes that the world can be changed through the healing power of art. In his classes with at risk and incarcerated youth he teaches through the clarity of his example, creating work after work alongside the minors.

Michael is also a contributing writer/photographer for Soul Revolution. He has had the opportunity to interview the likes of The RZA (of Wu-Tang Clan), M-Eighty (A&R Think Differently Records), Adisa Banjoko (Hip Hop Chess Federation), Rakaa Iriscience (Dialated Peoples), Every Time I Die, GWAR, Chiamara, Otep, Mary Magdalan, Ill Bill (La Coka Nostra/Non-Phixion), Sabac Red (Non Phixion), iSheik (Revolution of the Mind), Slaine (La Coka Nostra), Dj Eclipse (Non Phixion/LCN/Half-Time Radio) and has made multiple contacts for further interviews. Look for Soul Revolution‘s blog and upcoming book. More information coming soon.

“In a world where we are bombarded daily by words and images, I have learned to recycle and transform those messages into statements about life, love, art, politics, spirituality and my personal experiences. My goal as an artist and a mentor to youth is to provoke thought, inspire change and invoke in others the desire to create.”

Contact Michael

EXHIBITIONS

2nd Annual Youth on Fire Juried Group Exhibit, Brooks College, Sunnyvale, CA
Jan 2005

Down the Rabbit Hole Juried Group Exhibit, Brooks College, Sunnyvale, CA
May 2005

Urban Geography Juried Group Exhibit, Brooks College, Sunnyvale, CA
Nov. 2005

Work and Play Juried Group Exhibit, Center for Training and Careers, San Jose, CA
Mar. 2006

Makeshift Metaphors Juried Group Exhibit, Brooks College, Sunnyvale, CA
Aug. 2006

Uproar Juried Group Exhibit, S. First Billiards, San Jose, CA
Nov. 2007-Jan. 2008

Uproar Group Exhibit, South First Billiards, San Jose, CA
Nov. 2008-Jan. 2009

Cut and Paste Solo Exhibit, Gardner Community Center, San Jose, CA
Dec. 2008

Collagraphy Solo Exhibit, Café Zoe, Menlo Park, CA
July 2009

Princeton Art Walk, Outland Java, Half Moon Bay, CA
Aug. 2009

Two Ways To Make Them Smile Solo Exhibit, South First Billiards, San Jose, CA
Oct. 2009

Uproar Group Exhibit, South First Billiards, San Jose, CA
Nov. 2009- Jan. 2010

Young Cannibals Group Exhibit, Citadel Art Studio 404, San Jose, CA
Mar.-April 2010

Open Studio, Citadel Art Studio 404, San Jose CA
May 2010

Coastside Town Hall Festival Group Exhibit, Ted Adcock Community Center, Half Moon Bay, CA
May 2010

SubZero/Cryptic Artistry Group Exhibit, South First Billiards, San Jose, CA
June 2010

Random Tangents Solo Exhibit, La-Di-Da Coffee, Half Moon Bay, CA
June 2010

67 Days…Collaborative Group Exhibit, Citadel Art Studio 404, San Jose, CA
July 2010

Stroke Alert! Benefit Art Show & Sale, Sarah Cole Fine Art Studio, San Jose
Aug. 2010

Project Knew Groove Festival, Cameron’s Pub & Restaurant, Half Moon Bay, CA
Aug. 2010

Los Banos Art Council Fine Art Exhibit, Los Banos, CA Sept. 2010

Impermanence/Permanence, Gallery Ten10, San Jose, CA
Oct. 2010

The Soulero’s Ballroom Revue, Juvenile Hall Fundraiser & Art Exhibit, South First Billiards, San Jose, CA
Oct. 2010

UPROAR 2010 Group Exhibit, South First Billiards, San Jose, CA

Nov. 2010

Knew Groove New Year’s, Group Exhibit, Old Princeton Landing, Half Moon Bay, CA

Jan. 2011

Moments of Zen, Solo Exhibit, M Coffee, Half Moon Bay, CA Aug. 2011

One response to “Michael Denning

  1. Amazing! I love reading about folks like Michael who have turned their demons into a healing force- Good for you Michael, very inspiring! We met briefly when I came to help install my piece for the SEED show…..I thought you were a super cool guy, and we briefly talked about our daughters as well 🙂

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