Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Like Dylan, Artist Daniel Botkin Reconfigures American Classics

Dylan Crossing His Delaware (Detail A)
One of the speakers at this year's Duluth Dylan Fest was Harvard Classics professor Richard Thomas, author of Why Bob Dylan Matters. One of the features of his lecture, extensively expanded upon in his book, was the concept of intertextuality as a response to the accusations of plagiarism in Dylan's work. According to Wikipedia, "Intertextuality is the shaping of a text's meaning by another text. It is the interconnection between similar or related works of literature that reflect and influence an audience's interpretation of the text. Intertextual figures include: allusion, quotation, calque, plagiarism, translation, pastiche and parody. Intertextuality is a literary device that creates an 'interrelationship between texts' and generates related understanding in separate works."

North Country Gothic
Intertextuality has to do with texts, so I don't know what the word would be to describe artists who draw upon the works of other artists. A number of years ago the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art hosted a exhibition of painters whose paintings were influenced by Picasso. Each room would have a Picasso painting with two or three paintings by others that were echoes of what Picasso had done. I specifically recall one piece by Jasper Johns in this show.

All this is by way of introduction to the four paintings Daniel Botkin contributed to this year's Duluth Dylan Fest art show. What follows are his artist statement and descriptions of the four pieces he shared with us in late May.

Bob Dylan borrowed elements of American folk music and wove those elements together to create brand new songs. Following Dylan's method, I have borrowed pieces of popular American folk art and used those compositions to create brand new paintings that blend Dylan and Americana.
-Daniel Botkin

Dylan Crossing His Delaware, full painting
When the Ship Comes In: Dylan Crossing His Delaware
Dylan crossing over from all-acoustic to electric. "Another Side" was his last all-acoustic album. "Bringing It All Back Home," his transitional album, was acoustic on one side and electric on the other. It was followed by "Highway 61 Revisited," his first all-electric album. Some fans considered him a traitor for going electric, one of them famously yelling "Judas!" at a concert. That fellow is in the lower left corner of my painting.
Oil on canvas, $778.

Forever Young
Patterned after Norman Rockwell's Triple Self Portrait. The small pictures on the easel are from Dylan's early career and his childhood home in Duluth.
Oil on canvas $678.

Bobby's World: Stuck Inside of Duluth and Hibbing With the Freight Train Blues Again
Patterned after Andrew Wyeth's Christina's World. The yellow house is the Dylan home in Duluth and the blue house is the Dylan home in Hibbing. The title of my painting is a tweaking of Wyeth's title, followed by a blending of two Dylan song titles, "Stuck Inside of Mobile With the Memphis Blues Again" and "Freight Train Blues."
Oil on canvas, $578

North Country Gothic
Patterned after Grant Wood's American Gothic. Young Bob Dylan with Echo Helstrom, his high school sweetheart, with the Dylan home in the background. Echo died in January 2018, just about a month before this painting was completed as a tribute to her for being the inspiration for Dylan's song "Girl From the North Country."
Oil on canvas, $578

Dylan Crossing His Delaware (Detail B)
Dylan Crossing His Delaware (Detail C)
Related Lnks
Until death it is all life. Embrace it.

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