Bob Dylan and the musicians who paint

by Samantha Clayton
August 23, 2013

Many musicians have decided to lay down their instruments and pick up the paintbrush. As Bob Dylan's latest display, Face Value, launches on Saturday, Samantha Clayton showcases musicians who have pursued an artistic career.

On Saturday, a new show of portraits by Bob Dylan will go on display at the National Portrait Gallery and will feature 12 enigmatic pastel portraits. The pieces have been described by art historian John Elderfield as the "products of the same extraordinary, inventive imagination" behind Dylan's influential music and poetry. Dylan is not the first musician to have dabbled in art, however, with some beginning their careers as painters. Internationally famous singer songwriter, Joni Mitchell, demonstrates genuine talent in her artwork. However, artistic and musical talent don't always collide. Take a look at these rock and pop stars with their artistic efforts.

Ian Dury
The late Ian Dury, lead singer of punk rock band The Blockheads, studied painting at The Royal College of Art from 1963 to 1966. After graduating he participated in a group exhibition, Fantasy and Figuration, at the Institute of Contemporary Arts. The RCA is hosting the first solo show of his Pop Art until September.

Paul Simonon
Paul Simonon, who achieved his fame as bass guitarist for punk rock band The Clash, began painting in 1986. The prices for his artwork range from £5,000 to £30,000, not a bad extra income for the musician.

Graham Coxon
Blur's lead guitarist, Graham Coxon, creates visual art and has designed the cover art for all of his solo albums. In 2009 a fan commented on the artwork for his album, The Spinning Top; saying "I get the feeling it was knocked up in MS Paint or something."

Ringo Starr
Beatles drummer Ringo Starr began experimenting with digital art in the late Nineties. His first exhibition went on show in the Pop International Galleries in 2005 and has become a source of funding for his charity, The Lotus Foundation. Starr's pieces include the curiously named: Elephant Foot, Bad Finger and Man in Blue Hat.

Ronnie Wood
Ronnie Wood is best known for being a member of The Rolling Stones. However, he also has a sideline in painting. His most recent exhibition featured never-before-seen portraits of bandmates Mick Jagger, Charlie Watts and Keith Richard. He's even impressed certain parts of the art world, with pop artist Sir Peter Blake commenting: "he draws well and he's a good painter".

Paul Stanley
He may rock out in flamboyant outfits in heavy metal band Kiss, but Paul Stanley moonlights as a sensitive artist. The Starchild creates emotionally charged portraits and abstract paintings. In 2007 The Wentworth Gallery held two exhibitions of Stanley's work, with sales results exceeding $2 million.

Joni Mitchell
Joni Mitchell once said "I sing my sorrow and I paint my joy" and her artwork is predominantly visualist and she has explained that it is "intricately linked with her music and songwriting."

Marilyn Manson
With its dark and disturbing images, unsurprising is the most suitable word to describe goth rocker Marilyn Manson's watercolour paintings. Exhibitions which have taken place so far include: The Golden Age of Grotesque [2002], Hell [2010] and Genealogies Of Pain [2010].

Printed from the official Joni Mitchell website. Permanent link:

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