For as long as he can remember...

he was an artist, noting that being creative isn’t just what he does it’s what he is. As a child and throughout his teenage years he was consistently recognized for his inventive talents, winning numerous awards including becoming a Silver Knight Award recipient for Art while attending Cardinal Gibbons High School in Fort Lauderdale, Florida from 1988-1992.

By his late teens, Dennis’ work was already being accepted into numerous local art galleries. His paintings were featured at the then famed Wildfish Collection in Pompano Beach, Florida, where his paintings hung side by side with the likes of the world’s top marine artists. It was through this early exposure that groups such as the International Game Fish Association (IGFA), the Broward County Everglades Research Foundation, Mote Marine Laboratories and The Southern Kingfish Association took notice. Dennis produced works for these and other organizations during his young tenure. In the relationships he made through his high school job at BC Surf and Sport, Dennis also had the opportunity to create designs for a variety of surf and skate companies including Vision Street Wear. As well, he created a line of tee shirts that were sold at Publix locations throughout the region. Working as a young painter he would continue this path by creating countless murals and original painting commissions for some of the region’s top businesses and world class anglers alike, most notably Captain Tred Barta. All of this was accomplished by the young age of 18.

The decision to leave this early success...

behind and enroll into the much-respected Ringling School of Art and Design in Sarasota to study Illustration was not an easy one. However, it would eventually lead Dennis down an unexpected, yet fortunate career path. Shortly after Ringling he would briefly attend The Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale to brush up on some more digital design studies. At the time, personal computing for design was still in its infancy. It was after this stint at AiFL that the music industry called and offered him a design position that would lead him on a great adventure. Not quite leaving marine art behind, as Dennis never truly stopped drawing and painting fish, he accepted his new role as an artist working for the world’s largest music distribution business, Alliance Entertainment.

He would begin producing creative for such respected labels and studios as Universal, Sony, Warner Brothers, EMI and Capitol among a host of others and their associated prominent artists and musicians. The company’s relationships included collaborative marketing efforts with Amazon, WalMart, Best Buy, Target, Barnes & Noble and every major and independent music retailer in the nation. The work would include CD cover design, a weekly and monthly music publication, in-store music marketing displays, package design, video production, web marketing and, of course, custom illustration. His network expanded globally with the heaviest focus being on associations with those in New York and Los Angeles. Eventually Dennis would earn the title of Creative Director and was given the responsibility of captaining a staff of 20 designers and creative writers. Throughout his 15 year tenure in this industry the teams he led would garner over 25 recording industry related creative awards.

Illustration completed for Sony Music

Part of a direct-to-mail catalog that received an advertising and design award from the National Association of Recording Merchandisers.

Design and Illustration completed for EMI Music

Part of a marketing campaign that received an advertising and design award from the National Association of Recording Merchandisers.

Illustration completed for Grammy®-Nominated Blues Guitarist Joe Bonamassa

Dennis designed and illustrated every album release and more for Joe from 2004-2015.

The idea of running his own creative studio...

with a focus on fish, Florida and the marine industry never left him. Always the rigorous freelancer, Dennis would set forth a long-term plan to rekindle his previous relationships and develop new ones, primarily in the tournament scene. It was time to roll up his sleeves and get serious again about his true passion – fish and painting them. However, this time around he would have an entirely new set of skills to implement and fuse into the work.
With a client list that now includes many of the world’s top tournament teams and anglers, and much of the fishing industry overall, Dennis has successfully immersed himself in his business, Dennis Friel Art Studios (DFAS). With the unconditional assistance of his wife and fellow artist Liz Friel, he opened his South Florida based creative think tank to go full time in 2013. It has been thriving ever since and brings a fresh approach to the genre by fusing design, apparel production, illustration and fine art at its highest level into a self-publishing one-stop-shop.
Subsequently, the great and rapid success of the studio has lead him to be named featured artist to some of the world’s top tournaments such and Jimmy Johnson National Billfish Championship, Sailfish 400, Custom Shootout, Abaco Blue Marlin Tournaments and many other prestigious billfish and pelagic challenges throughout the US, the islands and Central America. His work spans the globe having completed projects and commissions for customers from Hawaii, Australia, Portugal, Dubai, the Philippines, Italy, UK, Costa Rica, Panama, Brazil, Morocco, Nicaragua, Belize and throughout the Bahamas and Caribbean. His charitable work completed for the Coastal Conservation Association (CCA), The Billfish Foundation (TBF), Grouper Grapple benefitting Freedom Alliance, Boys and Girls Club of Miami and Surfers for Autism are among his proudest pro-bono efforts to date. The benevolent projects completed for the Billfish Foundation earned him the distinction of being named their Artist of the Year for 2017, an honored shared with some of the world leading marine artists.