Can Bob Dylan paint?

Just In… Bob Dylan’s done it all; some would even say that America’s preeminent songwriter and “song-and-dance man,” as he once called himself, has done too much. Dylan’s recorded some of the finest popular songs in America’s songbook, written unreadable poetry collections, such as the Allen Ginsberg-inspired Tarantula , toured relentlessly for the better part of the last 30 years, and if it that isn’t enough, he’s also dabbled in the visual arts since the early ‘70s. Dylan’s creativity is only matched by his pathological impulse to follow the creative sparks wherever they lead him, which is why he’s written some of the greatest as well as quixotically atrocious songs ever recorded. So much of the pleasure of being a Dylan fan is the musical whiplash his massive catalog induces; one minute, you’ll be cold-cocked by the beauty and tenderness of “Boots of Spanish Leather,” convinced that Dylan is the master of all masters. But then, three songs later, a curiosity like “Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum” comes around, and, like the haters and even some elitist Dylan obsessives, you think the man has indeed overstretched. In my early days of Dylan fandom, when I was enamored with the idea of artistic perfection, I thought that Bob did indeed do too much and that he was ruining his legacy with an imperfect hit-to-miss ratio. But as I enter my second decade as an unabashed Dylanologist, I’m convinced that the man still has more to give. There are many facets to Dylan’s brilliance, but what separates him from mere mortals, and what makes being a fan so enriching, is his willingness to experiment in full view of the public. Dylan is notoriously private in his personal life, but with his music and other creative endeavors, he lets it all hang […]

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