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  • Writer's pictureShea Stanfield

The Focus Becomes Painting

The great New York Yankee catcher, Yogi Berra, said, "When you come to a fork in the road, take it!" The perfect metaphor for the way local artist Dennis Desprois has approached his life and career. Growing up in Eugene, Oregon, Dennis was a quick study for things that interested him. He became known in school as "the kid that could draw better than anyone else." It wasn't long before he realized "artists" have special protection when it came to being held accountable for minor infractions during the school day. The straight and narrow path of school discipline suddenly became a bit wider, and he liked it.

Unfortunately, we are products of our times; upon graduation from high school, not wanting to be drafted or move to Canada, he enlisted in the U.S. Air Force, serving his time in Vietnam. During this time, he discovered a new way of observing and recording his environment through photography. He found photography was the perfect medium to record subjects that attracted his interest. Fortunately, a darkroom was located on the base, and he could gain access to the facility for developing his film. He stayed with photography, believing that experience with trial and error was the best teacher. This philosophy paid off for him; returning to civilian life, he had a new and very marketable skill.

"This was not an unusual move in 1970; there were plenty of 'photographers' to go around."

Dennis bought a used Nikon and headed off to be a photographer in San Francisco. He states, "This was not an unusual move in 1970; there were plenty of 'photographers' to go around." With a little help from a friend, Dennis landed a job working the parking lot during home games for the San Francisco Giants. It wasn't long before "the guy with the wider than usual straight and narrow path" was able to talk the PR guy into letting him in the field photo area when he finished parking busses. By the end of the season, Dennis presented a stack of 8 x 10 glosses to the PR manager, and the rest is history. The following season Dennis had his press pass and continued to move into middle management, creating one of the first "coaching videos systems" in the major leagues. During this time, he was able to get in with the San Francisco 49's franchise as one of their two official team photographers. Dennis's career in pro-sports photography continued for the next 30 seasons.

Through the years in professional photography, Dennis kept a canvas on an easel and paints handy. He felt before he could call himself an artist, he needed to reach a level of technical proficiency. Eventually, he hung up his spikes and moved to Scottsdale. During spring training, Dennis continued in sports photography with the Seattle Mariners and the Chicago Cubs and worked a couple of Super Bowls. Today, his painting has become his main focus.

Dennis series painter, he has produced a series of ballerinas and the "Most Interesting Man In The World" based on the Dos Equis ads campaign. Other series works weave in subjects from the Godfather, James Bond, Rick's Café, and the Maltese Falcon, all equally witty and endlessly captivating. Artist Dennis Desprois is a member of the Sonoran Arts League and his work is on display at the Finer Arts Gallery in Cave Creek, Arizona.



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