Bob Dylan: Face Value

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Bob Dylan: Face Value
© Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan, 'Nina Felix', 2013

An unorthodox show for the NPG, known for showing portraits of British subjects, the 12 pastel portraits by the famous American musician are drawn from friends and memory to create real and fictitious characters.


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Why has no-one yet admitted that Dylan just cannot paint or draw well, even a tiny bit well! Seems like everyone treads on eggshells around him as a result of his musical status (which is justifiably well earned), but please people, look at his paintings and drawings and ask yourself - would they be given a second glance if it wasn't Dylan who created them? Of course not. Perhaps A level B grade..? It's the celebrity turned artist cliche gone mad.

Bob Dylan - not just a musician, but also an artist. Who knew? It’s hard to say whether this series of 12 pastel portraits is either quite good or staggeringly bad. Ultimately it will come down to the eye of the beholder of course, although Dylan fans will probably get more from this than those who don’t know his music. The strangest thing about the images is how consistent they are. Although each subject is different, the haphazard style and hurried application of pigment mean one is almost indistinguishable from the next. All have the word ‘face’ in the title - About Face, Slap in the Face, Face the Music. One can’t help but wonder whether the the theme came first, with the series of samey portraits churned out to fulfil the big idea. For more arts reviews, check out

Really interesting to see Dylan's portraits and his use of materials and drawing style. Well worth a visit.