What Bob Dylan Teaches Us About Artwork
February 10, 2015
I just read the transcript of Bob Dylan’s speech last week at MusiCares, when he was honored as their Person of the Year. It’s part of the annual Grammys events. I wish I could have watched him, but it wasn’t broadcast on television. However one reporter, Randall Roberts, thought to transcribe it, and the LA Times published it. Its a hell of a good read.
“Fuchsias” ©Jill Rosoff 2011, 6″ x 17.5″
I think it’s important to remember that creativity doesn’t happen in a vacuum. It is almost as if its a redistribution of wealth, that everything that we take in, visually, aurally, emotionally, spiritually, through taste, through feel, through smell, all of it can come back out of us in the art we make, if its painting, cooking, making music, writing, or any other creative endeavor, all of it reflects what we have learned so far. My artwork is influenced by so many things, by what I learned growing up, what my parents taught me, what I saw in museums, what I tasted. Anyone who knows me knows I’ve usually got a cup of coffee with me while I’m making art. I’m influenced by a great latte. Yup, I said that.
Dylan talks about the music he listens to, how he hears the songs and then writes something that reflect them. Read especially the part about the “Come all ye” songs, and what he wrote after that. You’ll have a V-8 slap-your-forehead moment. I look at Van Gogh, and Thiebaud, and Klimt and Diebenkorn, and so many more, and then I indulge in them as I paint my paintings. Going to museums to see the actual work of these artist heroes of mine is like plugging me in, I get all excited and fascinated and wish I could paint right then and there. Thank goodness for my iPhone, I can now take notes on it. But I still often take a notebook into a show with me to jot down things. Musically I try to channel Gabby Pahinui as I struggle to get my fingers, which are ingrained in American folk music rhythms and patterns, into playing Hawaiian slack key guitar. Its my new, great struggle.
Read the transcript here, even if you don’t subscribe to the LA Times online, you can read up to 10 articles a month there for free. I’ve downloaded it so I can go reread it now and then. So can you.
And if you live in or near Orange County, CA, come take one of my watercolor workshops!