The drawings offer not just visuals to the songs, but reflect another part of Dylan too. Because while Dylan is famous and celebrated for his music, any fan knows that he’s not just a musical artist, but he also paints and sculpts (and draws) too. His paintings were exhibited at the Halcyon Gallery back in 2016, paintings of the American landscape and Americana that he soaked up on his Never Ending Tour.
But there’s something extra special about seeing his most famous songs hand-scrawled by His Bobness in pen on paper. Written, Dylan says, “Mostly after hours. Summer evenings, winter evenings. Usually one a week, sometimes three or four.”
That quote comes from an interview with Dylan about the exhibition, undertaken by the gallery’s president Paul Green. In it Dylan also notes why he made the pictures so literal. “In Mary Jo Bang’s translation of Dante’s Inferno, there are corresponding drawings by Henrik Drescher and they are very realistic and literal, and I took that as a guide." Dylan explains. "There’s others as well. The Reginald Marsh drawings for John Dos Passos’ USA Trilogy were a big influence.”
Dylan also notes artists whose drawings he admires, like "Rembrandt, especially his drawings of St Alban’s Cathedral. Albrecht Dürer’s Knight, Death and the Devil, Rubens, Charles Le Brun. I like van Gogh’s drawings as well."