The iconic musician and poet Bob Dylan has been painting for years. His paintings are on exhibit at one of London's most prestigious galleries.
An exhibition of Bob Dylan's paintings went on show in London on Monday, revealing the artistic talents of the legendary singer long revered for his musical and poetic output.
The Drawn Blank Series, unveiled at one of London's most prestigious galleries, comprises some 300 colourful canvases ranging from nudes and portraits to interiors and street scenes.
They are based on drawings and sketches done on the road between 1989-1992, brought to life with colour in a style with echos of impressionist or post-impressionist masters like Vincent van Gogh.
The 67-year-old himself denies any conscious influences. "I haven't trained in any academy where you learn how to do something in the style of Degas or Van Gogh, or how to copy Da Vinci," he told The Times newspaper.
"I don't have that facility to copy note for note. Influenced by? If I had the ability to paint like any of those guys I might see the similarity, but I don't. If there is anything it's just by accident and instinctive."
The pieces have already been shown in the eastern German city of Chemnitz, where a museum director discovered Dylan's 1994 book of drawings and persuaded the singer to update them, adding colour, and show them there.
But the London show is their first public exposure in a major venue, the Halycon Gallery, where they will go on public display next weekend after a press showing on Monday.
Dylan, who penned era-defining songs such as "The Times They are-a-Changin'" and "Like a Rolling Stone", described his introduction to art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, when he was a young folk singer in the 1960s.
"It was overwhelming for me at the time, the immensity and sheer variety of stuff on display," he told The Times.
"The first exhibition I saw there was of Gauguin paintings and I found I could stand in front of any one of them for as long as I'd sit at the movies, yet not get tired on my feet. I'd lose all sense of time," he said.
He was philosophical about what critics or ordinary exhibition-goers will think of his work. "If it pleases the eye of the beholder... There's no more to it than that, to my mind. Or even if it repels the eye. Either one is fine."
Each painting is signed. Asked if he had to practise this, Dylan replied: "I did, because it's tricky getting it just right. Finally you think, 'Oh, to hell...' and just go for it, like you're writing a cheque or something."
The Drawn Blank Series opens to the public on June 14 at the Halycon Gallery, London, whose website is http://www.halcyongallery.com.
Date created : 2008-06-10