Denzil Hurley (1949-2021)
In memoriam: Denzil represents to me the rare combination of having a deep compassion for people while holding a high standard for his students. He believed in them; so, he had to push them.
I never posted this video as it shows me at a low point in my life, not taking care of myself; nonetheless, 15 years later, it shows Denzil at his best. I had been living in Brooklyn for 6 years and returned to Seattle for a show that contained many of Denzil's students. I learned to paint at UW much to his thanks who, understanding my situation as an employee taking courses on the side, allowed me to pursue a series of independent studies with him.
During my performance at Soil Gallery, this video captures him walking through the crowd who, pushed back as far away from the stage as possible, was deciding what to do. The music was intense especially for a small gallery. He walks up to me and just starts asking me questions - while I am performing! You can see the awkwardness in my smile. However, now I get it. He wanted to close the gap between me and the audience. He cared for both and from that moment on there were listeners sitting comfortably on the floor just in front of me. I got into it and performed as best I could.
Thank you, Denzil. I will miss your sprit; yet, it lives on as it can.