Many classic Bob Dylan records tell tales of unnamed characters whose wretched stories are so raw they feel real. Their lyrics paint portraits of people as Dylan sees and imagines them, such as in his 1975 classic Tangled Up in Blue: ‘I seen a lot of women / but she never escaped my mind’. His 12 pastel artworks on display in a new exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery were not drawn from life but, like his songs, from his mind’s eye. Both die-hard Dylan fans and those who can strum along to Blowin’ in the Wind can ponder over the faces of the fictional characters, such as ‘Nina Felix’ above, to imagine what their stories might be.
Bob Dylan’s exhibition ‘Face Value’ is on at the National Portrait Gallery until January 5. Admission is free.