. . Dennis was born on April 20, 1952 in Woonsocket, South Dakota. His family moved to Massachusetts during his youth. A year of living in Istanbul, Turkey imbued him with a sense of universal harmony. There he started painting and developed an original style using complex geometric patterns to represent natural objects. Dennis worked primarily in gouache, but paints with acrylics on canvas for larger works. He also draws portraits in pencil.


photo by Major Morrie

. .. He received his education at the Museum School of Fine Arts, Boston and exhibited in several one-person, invitational, and juried exhibitions both locally and nationally.

. .. In February of 1976 Dennis noticed a "Lapidary Journal" with a commesso (intarsia) on the cover. He immediately saw a style similar to his own and realized that stone was an ideal media for him. He then left Boston and moved to San Diego, California where coincidently both his family and the "Lapidary Journal" were located.


. .. For 18 years while working as a commercial artist Dennis collected articles on commessi. He got to meet William Grundke in 1984 at the Pacifica Gem Show in Long Beach, California, where he saw his first commesso; William's magnificent "Silent Night". In 1994 at the local Vista Gem Show Dennis met William's son, Conrad Grundke and saw his beautiful artwork. Conrad invited him to attend the Saddleback Community College Emeritus Lapidary class where he taught Dennis how to make commessi.


. .. His paintings have been sold to many national and international collectors in Boston, New York, Los Angeles, San Diego, New Haven, Providence, San Francisco, Chicago, Istanbul, etc. Now Dennis has added the Commesso di pietre dure e tenere to his repertoire. ..

. .. With the assistance of hundreds of lapidaries and their families, Dennis created a comprehensive database of stone-to-stone artwork called "American Masters of Stone." The work was published on a CD and distributed to hundreds of Art Libraries throughout the continent. The purpose of this work is to introduce lapidary as a fine art. A few years later, with the help of Conrad Grundke, this project evolved into a new website featuring hundreds of artists and thousands of images, biographies, how-to articles, and commentary. The site is also called American Masters of Stone. In 2005 Dennis was inducted into the National Rockhound & Lapidary Hall of Fame in the Lapidary division.

. photos by Stathis Orphanos

. .. Dennis is a Past-President of the San Diego Museum of Art Artists Guild and a former trustee of the San Diego Museum of Art (2000-2002). As Guild President he developed the first democratically juried art exhibition for the organization at the Boehm Gallery in Palomar College and by changing outdated policies, helped grow the Guild membership from 140 to over 600 artists during a two year period. During his tenure with SDMA he started a policy of sharing with other institutions. The Guild joined the Oceanside Museum of Art as a circle member and he worked with the California Center for the Arts, Escondido Museum on a strategic planning committee to help reopen the museum after it was closed by the city. He is also the author of "The Living History of the Guild" and was the creator of and contributor to a cutting-edge online magazine called the Artists Ezine.

. .. Now a long-term resident of Carlsbad, California, he is the co-founder and co-managing trustee of the Outdoor Art Foundation. He serves on the board of the Synergy Art Foundation and works with the committee of the San Diego Visual Arts Network. He also served on the board of COFAC (Consejo Fronterizo de Arte y Cultura - Border Council of Arts & Culture) and worked with the committee of the Oceanside Museum of Art Artists Alliance. He is the founder and web-person for the San Diego Visual Artists Guild, and aided in the creation of a cooperative artist gallery in downtown San Diego (1098 9th Ave.) called the SDVAG Fine Art Gallery.

. .. Dennis was the founder and the executive director of a charitable organization called, the Museum Artists Foundation (MAF). As director of MAF, in accordance with its policy of sharing with other organizations, he presented an elegant fundraiser called "Façade" in conjunction with the Small Opera of San Diego on May 21, 2005. He helped create and designed a multi-phased curated Wildlife Art Exhibition & Sale, which was open to all regional artists, in the San Diego Natural History Museum, Balboa Park, dates August 12, 2005 - January 1, 2006. He assisted in the creation of two Carlsbad Masquerades, held on February 25, 2006 and February 24, 2007, to benefit the Outdoor Art Foundation's Outdoor Art Initiative. He also partnered with Doctors Offering Charitable Services (DOCS) to create "The Unveiling" an Art and Opera fundraiser held on May 19, 2007. He created and keeps current a comprehensive database of over 2,900 regional visual artists including 2,000 email addresses. This database has been shared with several organizations looking for artists to donate work or enter exhibitions. It is growing, kept current, and is made available on request for museums and qualified art organizations.

. .. In January 2007 Dennis launched a new business venture called Virtual Fine Art. He was the owner and President of the company, which features a 3D Interactive Virtual Art Museum. Dennis was a member of the executive steering committee for a local think tank, Imagine Carlsbad. In May, 2007 Dennis was invited to join the San Diego Group Leaders, a multi-organizational networking group of professionals and leaders of various charitable organizations. He was then put on the Campbell Networks with his own events list, which provides information on events for artists, fans of art and those who wish to support the arts, primarily those with an interest in the visual arts.

. .. Since then, Dennis assisted Martin E. Petersen, curator emeritus of the San Diego Museum of Art, to publish his manuscript called "Alice Klauber" online. He was also the curator of a new art gallery, part of the New Village Arts Theater, in Carlsbad. He created the website for San Diego's Movers & Shakers in the art world.

. .. Dennis was the artist/curator for an exhibition in the Parker Gallery of the Oceanside Museum of Art called Commesso: Made in America "Gemstone Fine Art." The show ran from March 2 - May 1, 2009. This is the first art museum exhibition of commesso di pietre dure e tenere created by American artists. He talked about the exhibition to a standing room only audience on April 25, 2009. In 2009 he joined the Pink Party team and became their art curator and webmaster. In 2010 and 2011 he was the art curator for the Crime Victims Fund annual benefit.

. .. Recently Dennis joined with the House of the Future to create and promote incredible art happenings. He is assisting the Oceanside Museum of Art, and Art San Diego Contemporary Art Fair with promotion of their events. Dennis is also working with the San Diego Botanic Gardens Sculpture in the Garden program.



. .. Dennis logged onto Second Life, a 3D interactive site, which consists of an entire simulated online world, complete with all sorts of wonderful creations. He named his avatar Schmonson Dalglish and has been able to showcase his art and other artists in spectacular fashion. He set up, with the help of several residents of the site, over a dozen separate art exhibitions including a retrospective of his own artwork and two featuring American Masters of Stone. He also curated three new exhibitions, Dynamic Sculpture of SL, Women Photographers of SL, both featuring artists who inhabit this virtual world, and a new SDVAG Gallery exhibition. Many of these current exhibits are sponsored by Crossworlds Gallery in SL.

. .. His most recent virtual project was a collaboration with AV Concepts bringing virtual world avatars from SL onto a 3D holographic stage. This occurred on November 5, 2010 and was the first time in history avatars appeared live on a stage. View proof of concept 1st video. View 2nd video with live guitarist.