Debbie Fox said she was honored and challenged by the request from the family of late Navy SEAL Danny Dietz to do an entry for Denver Hospice’s …
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Debbie Fox said she was honored and challenged by the request
from the family of late Navy SEAL Danny Dietz to do an entry for
Denver Hospice’s annual mask project.
“I am always emotional about requests like this because I am
creating artwork in memory of someone who died in the service of
our country,” the Englewood air brush artist said. “In this case
Danny’s mother was very specific about what she wanted on the mask.
My challenge was to create the artwork to convey the message they
wanted the mask to represent.”
Danny Dietz, a Heritage High School graduate, was part of a
10-member SEAL team sent into action in Afghanistan. He was fatally
wounded June 28, 2005. The Navy posthumously awarded him the Navy
Cross in 2006. It is the Navy’s second-highest medal for valor.
A memorial in his honor has been erected in Littleton and a
section of South Santa Fe Drive is now Danny Dietz Memorial
His mother commissioned the artist to create the mask she calls
“Honoring a Fallen Soldier.”
The mask is small but Debbie Fox was able to use a scene from a
SEAL video, with the light of an evening sky illuminating
footprints emerging from the ocean. At his mother’s request, she
also included the trident, the SEAL emblem and Danny’s flippers,
belt and knife as well as his name.
“The concept was pretty clear but the mask is small so the
challenge is to try to capture the spirit of Danny and his
sacrifice,” the artist said. “I can’t think of anything I would
want to change if I were asked to do it again.”
The mask in memory of Danny Dietz is in the Wall of Heroes
section of the gallery. All 407 masks are on display at the
gallery, which is located in the Cherry Creek Shopping Center and
there is no charge for the public to view the artworks.
This is the 12th year Denver Hospice has held the mask project
as a major fundraiser that has generated thousands of dollars for
the organization that provides end-of-life care for terminally ill
Artists, sports figures, celebrities and others are asked to
create masks for the project that are put on display and then
auctioned off with the money going to Denver Hospice.
Debbie and her husband Mel own and operate Rat Art in unit B-5
at 1952 W. Union Ave., where they create artworks and help scores
of students learn how to use the airbrush to create artworks of
“We were asked to do a special paint job on the motorcycle of
Armyu SFC Lawrence Ezell who was killed in Iraq in 2008. We met
Danny’s mother when we were down at Fort Carson for the
presentation of a motorcycle to his family,” Mel said. “I helped
seven of our students do the motorcycle and I guess Cindy liked our
art because she asked us to do the mask.”
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