Bob Dylan | Train Tracks 2020

First released in 2008 to great critical acclaim as part of The Drawn Blank Series, ‘Train Tracks’ has become one of Dylan’s most iconic and engaging images to date. Upon reviewing the collection in 2008, renowned art critic, writer and broadcaster Andrew Graham-Dixon commented:

“His Train Tracks images seem particularly charged with romantic feeling. The dynamic perspective of these works, together with their varyingly dramatic skies, evoke the sense of a picaresque adventure long associated with travel through the wide open spaces of America. The paintings of railway tracks are like pictures of the feelings embodied in the itinerant folk song-writing traditions of America – the tradition of Woody Guthrie, among others – to which Dylan has always felt close.”

Dylan dates the origins of his work as a visual artist to the early 1960s, yet few drawings reached the public’s gaze before Dylan released a book of 92 drawings titled Drawn Blank in 1994, with the original Drawn Blank sketches dating from 1989 to 1992. The Kunstsammlungen Chemnitz art museum in Germany approach Dylan in 2007 about exhibiting his drawings, a request that prompted the artist to return to the images and rework them.

Single pictures emerged as sets, coloured sometimes delicately, sometimes boldly, with different elements emphasised. ‘He riffs with colour across the same simple black-and-white sketches the way he plays songs in concert, sometimes making subtle changes, other times brutally overhauling them’, commented Marisha Pessl in The New York Times [‘When I Paint My Masterpiece’, 1 June 2008]. An observation that is pivotal to the way we view, and interact with, ‘Train Tracks’.

This choice and skill in applying different colour 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.

"“I’d seen and heard trains from my earliest childhood days... The sound of trains off in the distance more or less made me feel at home, like nothing else was missing, like I was at some level place, never in any significant danger and everything was fitting together.” "

Bob Dylan

Featured Artist

From the blog

The Drawn Blank Series | 10th Anniversary

05/05/2018

Bob Dylan’s return to where it all began is a celebration of his visual poetry. Selected graphics from the 14-graphic commemorative release are still available.

The Drawn Blank Series | Bob Dylan

10/03/2017

Featuring sketches Bob Dylan created on his tours through America, Europe and Asia, this groundbreaking collection is his first foray into fine art publishing and includes the legendary ‘Train Tracks’ graphics.

Train Tracks: Bob Dylan

09/08/2017

As one of the iconic musician’s most collected artworks, ‘Train Tracks’ continues to fascinate a global audience.

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