From the Flybridge Episode #6 – Dennis Friel
HMY Yachts “From the Flybridge” is back with podcast episode number six. Listen in as we talk with world-renowned marine artist, Dennis Friel, who walks us through the process of bringing his fishing experiences to life - from the cockpit to the canvas.
Hear about how his passion for life on the water translates to his paintings. It’s not just about art. We are all connected by water.
Here is a preview of the podcast below. For the whole episode, click here.
Alexie Creary: Okay, and how did you pursue art from that point?
Dennis Friel: When I was 17, I was in my first ever art gallery. It happened to be a marine art gallery in Pompano. Actually, that place is located about a hundred yards from where my current studio is now. So, to say that came full circle is absolutely true.
Alexie Creary: That has to have serious, meaningful value when you look out the windows of your studio.
Dennis Friel: 100 percent. To know that it's kind of like...am I really going to quote John Bon Jovi right now?
Alexie Creary: Of course you are!
Dennis Friel: I am because I heard this on a radio interview with him, but it always stuck with me. Now say what you want about John Bon Jovi, but he is known within the music industry, as one of the hardest working guys that there is. He really is. He does have that reputation. I can say that he couldn't wait to get out of New Jersey and become successful. And once he did it took him his entire life to work to just get right back there. Meaning, you can try to strive and become this big thing. But then at the end of the day, you just always want to come back home. Right.
Alexie Creary: And Pompano is home, right?
Dennis Friel: Pompano is home, and that's where we are. We could have set up our shop in a bunch of places, but we chose to be down-home and open it up. It's where we belong.
Alexie Creary: Talking about your journey as an artist, tell me when you decided to become a marine artist and specialize in that talent.
Dennis Friel: Alright, So I went to high school at Cardinal Gibbons.
And... is he good?
Alexie Creary: Our Podcast director, Yiannis, is very excited right now we just got double fist pumps in the air. Cardinal Gibbons represent in the house.
Dennis Friel: You a chief or a redskin?
Alright. So I came from the other side of the tracks originally. Now, if anyone understands that the people that didn't come from the other side of the tracks and just naturally went to Gibbons probably don't have this perspective. I went to that school knowing one person. And I did not grow up in that. I don't want to say money scene, but that's the truth.
Alexie Creary: There's a tight circle there.
Dennis Friel: I didn't grow up in that money. Actually very, very far from it. But I did grow up a pier rat. And I did grow up a fisherman with that passion. And I did grow up with little make-up.
Alexie Creary: You were salty.
Dennis Friel: Yeah. And that was my way of getting through to those guys was the fact that I could out fish them.
Alexie Creary: You know, I love that.
Dennis Friel: Yeah, so that got me in with the big boys, right. My air quotes right now. But the big boys.
Alexie Creary: They needed you to teach them how to fish.
Dennis Friel: Yeah. Well, a lot of them already knew, too.
Alexie Creary: I mean, that you actually had the spots.
Dennis Friel: Yes. Right.
Alexie Creary: And the skills.
Dennis Friel: Exactly. Right.
So that's kind of when, I would say I didn't have a boat so, listen, take me offshore whatever we catch, I'll draw it for you.
Alexie Creary: Wow.
Dennis Friel: And that was my ticket in. So I was doing a bunch of these little Mahi and little sailfish and stuff like that for these guys. They take me fishing and, like, Oh, Yeah, bring Dennis along. Bring Dennis along. Whatever we catch, I'll draw for you. And that's it. So I started getting a passion for marine life, art. And that's how I started drawing fish. Now I always drew fish, but not consistently like that. And then when everyone's like, Oh, you could be like, whatever. It's like, okay, whatever. But this is why I'm doing it. And I just love it. I did love fishing. Once I started drawing them, I really started loving it.
Alexie Creary: Could you feel something in your soul when you are doing this regularly to go fishing? So you love to fish and you're doing these drawings for fishing trips? Was there a click moment where you were just like, this is what I love.This is different than drawing or painting something else. Was there a significant difference where you just, like, the light bulb went off?
Dennis Friel: The light bulb went off because I realized that forced implementation of, what we discussed earlier started making me happy. Oh, that's something I like to do, not just spaces, not just pots and plants or what? I mean, I did comic book art, like, characters when I was a kid. But it wasn't really until I started painting fish that I really didn't love the other art. And that's probably when that passion kicked in. Actually, I can't even say probably it's definitely when that passion kicked in.
Alexie Creary: And then you went to art school, correct?
Dennis Friel: I Did.