Bob and Brett


🎶🎵Ain’t it just like the night to play tricks
when you’re tryin’ to be so quiet?
We sit here stranded,
though we’re all doin’ our best to deny it🎵🎶

The amazing Bob Dylan has been an inspiration to many artists for decades, one of whom is Australia’s most iconic artists Brett Whiteley.

“Whiteley disliked working in silence and music – from classical and folk to rock and pop – was his constant companion in the studio.” – a quote from the exhibition Brett Whiteley: Drawing is everything.

Dylan’s music had played an important part in the artist’s career. It was said that Whiteley often played Dylan’s records in the studio while working on his art. As a lifelong fan, Whiteley had made a number of portraits of him over the years. In fact, Dylan is one of the major figures in Whiteley’s artworks.

Feeling inspired, Whiteley created this drawing “Visions of Johanna” after attending Dylan’s concert in Sydney in 1966. It is his earliest known artwork to feature Dylan.

Just like Dylan, Whiteley was also once a resident in the famous Chelsea Hotel in New York during the 60s. Coincidentally, it was also in there where Dylan wrote the album Blonde on Blonde on which “Visions of Johanna” was featured.



In 1989, at a press conference in Sydney, Whiteley posed the following question to Dylan, “How much of your music is brought up from your subconscious? And how much do you feel that you’re the medium or a vessel for god?”

“…I feel that way about most of the stuff I do. I might not know it at the time that’s what’s happening or that might be the process, but when I see it later it seems to me that that’s the way it happened.” said Dylan.

I suppose, for Whiteley, he probably felt the same about making art too. Just as he said, “The purpose of drawing is to make freshness permanent…”




Brett Whiteley: Drawing is everything. The Art Gallery of NSW.

P.s. When you walk into the exhibition room, don’t be surprised if you hear the music of Bob Dylan playing in the background. 😉






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