30"x40" acrylics on canvas.
Updated image -- prints now available!
Here's a fella I pieced together rapidly over the course of the past two days! He wasn't really jiving with me for a long while so I decided to take matters into my own hands and add a different element to my creative process ....
I painted the majority of this at home, but when things became stagnant and my noon class was cancelled two days in a row, I set up an easel near the college entrance and painted for several hours straight. It's a process comparable to mural painting as far as social exposure goes -- though, I feel like I roused a lot more curious bystanders than I typically do when I paint walls.
Ultimately, there's two messages I want to get across with this piece. The first relates, as usual, to the process -- I'm admittedly not a devout Dylan fan and the inorganic structure of his guitar really put me off in the beginning. However, when I changed my environment, it transformed the experience to something I never would have expected. I had a lot of fascinating conversations and got to hear what people thought as I worked ... I got to hear about their interest in his music and activism and the memories that his image evoked. People asked me a lot of questions regarding my painting method as well (this took about ~45 hours, in case you were wondering).
The second meaning has a more literal surface, to say the least. I wanted to capture the essence of folk with warmer tones ... then I thought of the iconic Aerial Lift Bridge in Duluth, Minnesota .... the ultramarine bliss of Lake Superior at night. Once more, I reflected on the occipital seizure experience I had a few years back ... "Tambourine Man" was the song I heard while witnessing these colors flashing in and out of my vision. If I was going to paint Bob Dylan, there had to be a reason -- a personal attachment I could relate back to.
In all honesty, my own procrastination took its toll on some areas of this piece; yet, I'm content. He's by no means my idol ... before all else, he was a guy who played guitar and who shares my birthplace. I'd be lying if I said I had a profound affinity for his music ... BUT GOODNESS, as a spectator...outsider, or even as an empathetic interpreter of other people's idea of Bob Dylan, this is probably some of the best I could do. Worrying not so much about technicality, I instead focused on cultivating a sort of social experience with others. It looks good to a fan, and for me, personally, the various details bring me back to different conversations and points in time.
One thing that struck me as odd this time around was the amount of pictures people took of me as I worked! Across Instagram and the internet world, I became an uncredited side attraction, the closest thing my town has to a street artist to draw in small crowds throughout the course of a day. At various points, I offered my paintbrush out to friends and strangers who approached the piece ... I'm fascinated by how fast it turned bold spectators into relatively timid entities. People are afraid to break the art! We have this unconditional fear of making permanent mistakes ... I have it too, possibly to an even greater degree (and in other areas of life, haha) ... but at some point we've got to stop looking at things as dire mistakes and realize that most things can be remedied with a little creativity. I'm learning more and more that creativity lies in redefining normality. It lies in epiphanies and associating connections between things that are seemingly "unrelated". If an image wants to be seen, it will find a way to be seen.
So with all that being said, I don't want people to be afraid of touching or wrecking my art. What was created once and can be created again, with an even better story if it was truly "damaged". I think it's the story that makes it worthwhile!
Artists who get anxious about that sort of thing appear to isolate themselves from truly connecting with their audience....Perhaps that's their goal? Isolation? It seems so stingy ... .. unabalanced, maybe? I'm not sure of the word I'm looking for.
Bottom line, this is going to be on display/for sale in Wisconsin all month long at an exhibit commemorating Bob Dylan,.... woo!