Nightmare to mural to dream

‘Starving Artist’ hopes to raise funds for Wounded Warrior Project

Dennis Holliday talks about the large mural he plans to auction to raise money for the Wounded Warrior Project. Holliday, known locally as "the starving artist,” said he felt compelled to do the project and hopes to raise several thousand dollars for the charity.

Dennis Holliday talks about the large mural he plans to auction to raise money for the Wounded Warrior Project. Holliday, known locally as "the starving artist,” said he felt compelled to do the project and hopes to raise several thousand dollars for the charity. Photo by Julie Smith.

It all started with a nightmare when Dennis Holliday was 6 years old.

It depicted the Messiah, an earthquake, alligators and snakes.

The same nightmare returned four years ago and wouldn’t go away. It became more frequent, and Holliday couldn’t avoid it.

“I thought that maybe I’m supposed to paint this,” said 60-year-old Holliday. ” I didn’t know why, but I was going to do it. I just knew I was supposed to.”

Holliday is known around town as the “Starving Artist.” He was once a teacher and owned a construction business.

His idea for the Messiah painting turned into a plan for a mural. He started building it in June 2012, and started assembling it on an outer wall of his art gallery that August. His art gallery is located at 605 Heisinger Road, visible from Missouri Boulevard, just behind Captain D’s.

“I put it up and then painted it,” he said of the installment.

He said the mural, which measures 30 feet by 35 feet, is comprised of seven panels that are 30 feet by 52 inches. Placed one above the other, they depict a scene of the Messiah walking down steps hit by an earthquake. A snake lies coiled on the steps. Lost souls hang from the wreckage.

Holliday said his goal is to sell the mural to raise funds for the Wounded Warrior Project — both the state and national organization.

“My father was in the Korean War, and my son’s a Marine,” Holliday said. “This is really important to me.”

He said he noticed that his father never wanted to talk about war when Holliday was growing up.

“I could feel it bothered him that he had to kill someone,” Holliday said. “It got me to thinking about what they go through.”

He said he has $7,000-$10,000 in the project, but the mural should sell for much more.

He said he’d like to sell it as soon as possible in order to avoid it sitting in the winter weather for a second year.

He will continue to add detail to the mural until it’s sold.

“Until it’s gone, it will never be finished,” he said. “As an artist, you keep seeing things.”

If you would like more information about the mural or know any Wounded Warriors to help market the painting, contact Holliday at 645-2734.

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