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Dean Creates Harmony Between Fire and Form

"...Dean's work is now, new, contemporary and tasteful. In the past, some treatments were gaudy. He paints things I would want in my home."

—Peter Becker

In a chance encounter on an airplane, Dean struck up a conversation that led to one of the most ambitious, personally meaningful pieces in his collection.  Usually choosing to catch up on sleep while traveling, Dean instead found himself deep in conversation with Peter Becker, president of Nobel Art Pianos.  It must have been fate, because when Dean mentioned he’d always wanted to custom paint a concert piano, Becker had the perfect opportunity – and it was less than two weeks away. 

Becker arranged delivery of the Sauter Omega Semi-Concert-Grand piano and Dean and his team immediately began the painstaking process of analyzing the wood and chemical composition of the finish, and dismantling the instrument for paint.  After a meticulous design process, Dean began applying layers of paint, then reducer to the piano – working in his signature reverse style to create bursts of color and texture reminiscent of fire licking across the lid and keyboard cover. 


After ten days of hard work, applying layers of paint and reducer, tape and patterns and lines, the team buffed the pieces to the perfect finish and reassembled the piano.  “The task was daunting,” Dean says, not only of the time constraint, but of the added challenge of putting the piano back together in performance ready condition. “But it was well within our capabilities.” 

Mr. Becker took the piano to the International ArtExpo in New York City, where it was prominently featured at Center Court in Manhattan’s Pier 94 and played by Grammy-nominated pianists Allison Brewster Franzetti and Carlos Franzetti, among others. 

When asked why he chose Dean to paint the featured piano, Mr. Becker replied, “Dean’s work is now, new, contemporary and tasteful.  In the past, some treatments were gaudy.  He paints things I would want in my home.”

 The custom piano – coined “Firebird” for its energetic dance of vibrant color, never left Dean’s heart, and when he had a chance to purchase it, he jumped.  It now sits in his living room, a graceful coil of power, lighting up the periphery and burning to sing.

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