I’m writing in the hope that you’re listening from a realm where we will exist after our earthly light is snuffed out. A place that is green with no need to rage. In one respect you do, your work and biography ripples through time ebbing and flowing. Academics, schoolkids, the bloke down the corner shop even artists hold aloft or close to their heart some truth found in your pages. This is where I believe you are still to be found, in beautiful ugly truths, a real human bringing enlightenment where philosophers fail.
Being a teenager in Wales it is inevitable that I went through a jingoistic phase, ‘Wales is best’. You come in the canon of work that informs such a hunger, here is our boyo a face on the international totem. Then the world rounds off the sharp corners and the green fuse develops a golden hue dissipating such notions. Yet you’re still there with a knowing look, saving me a space on the park bench, a cosmopolitan with farmer’s locks. With every meeting amongst your pages the picture develops greater interest, a world that envelops us with the greatest of convictions.
I don’t profess to know every line, have the ability to recite my favourite verse or understand every nuance, in truth it isn’t necessary. A truly great artist whisks you away before you are aware of it only to drop you home a richer person. As you may know I created a coin to celebrate your life and works. It was somewhat controversial in it’s approach; the easy option was a shallow beautified semblance that would reduce you to a two dimensional ‘greatest quote’. I chose to depict an artist in the fugue state of creation, where struggle and brutal honesty with oneself results in the depth found in your work. No suggestion of the mythic bon viveur and raconteur that reduces you to a figure of fun finding inspiration in a boozy haze. Creation is scary as it reveals so much of the creator and in turn the reader who identifies.
Some time later Hannah (you obviously know your grand daughter!) asked me to produce artwork and the logo for her Dylan initiative. It gave me the chance to depict the much younger you, full of energy and prospect , lighting up the world with your sea change work. During the process I learned more about you and more importantly myself. My process relies on a dialogue with my subject corporeal or not, as previously established you still exist in another form. Then there’s honesty, show it as it is because we can all smell the truth, it’s having the courage to admit to it. Finally my patron’s input, revealing what tracks I’ve not trodden. It’s a great responsibility to represent in one image the vision held by many. Although Hannah was my seal of approval for obvious reasons, who could argue with genetics! I believe we achieved our goal together.
So thank you for opening doors to worlds and ways of seeing. We artists hunger for such things more than we do bread and milk.
Lee R Jones