Category: In The Artist's Studio, The Masters' Gallery

A Closer Look: Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan: The Drawn Blank Series

While traveling on tour between 1989 and 1992, Bob Dylan created a collection of drawings that were published in a book entitled Drawn Blank in 1994. These expressive works capture Dylan’s chance encounters and observations. The creation of these portraits, interiors, landscapes, still lifes, nudes and street scenes were done to “relax and refocus a restless mind.”

Ingrid Mössinger – the curator of the Kunstsammlungen Museum, in Chemnitz, Germany – came across Drawn Blank during a visit to New York in 2006. Instantly excited about Dylan’s work, she contacted the artist’s team and was thrilled to learn that Bob Dylan would agree to have his art exhibited in public for the first time. When Dylan had first drawn the works in this series he had intended to create paintings based upon them. Ingrid Mössinger’s proposed exhibition encouraged him to now do this using watercolour and gouache. “I was fascinated to learn of Ingrid’s interest in my work, and it gave me the impetus to realize the vision I had for these drawings many years ago,” Bob Dylan commented.

These paintings formed a collection entitled The Drawn Blank Series. Unlike the delicacy of the drawings in Drawn Blank, the paintings are expressive and vibrant. Dylan paints several versions of the same image, using different colors and tones which result in a dynamic variety of impressions, feelings and emotions. This choice and skill in applying different color arrangements to the same original drawing enables Dylan to express his feelings and perceptions of an idea or view – continually evoking different feelings and reactions, and thereby creating evolving works of art. This technique is intrinsic to Dylan in all aspects of his creative life. As Tobias Rüther (Frankfurter Allgemeine newspaper), who credited Dylan with successfully translating his songs into art, commented: “That which he’s done for years on the stage – performing new versions of his old songs in order to give a fresh interpretation – he’s now continuing on deckle-edged paper.”

Works from Bob Dylan’s The Drawn Blank Series are available to view and purchase at Merritt Gallery and Renaissance Fine Arts.