Bob Dylan is a welder and he makes big iron gates out of scrap metal [5 pictures]

November 12, 2013 | By Abraham | 26 comments

Since he is a factually elusive storyteller, it was hard to know how seriously to take Bob Dylan when he said in his autobiography Chronicles that he keeps welding supplies at his home in Malibu where he makes “ornate iron gates out of junk scrap metal.”

But it turns out to be entirely true. An exhibition of Dylan’s art — paintings as well as his iron work — goes on display at London’s Halcyon Gallery this weekend.

Dylan and His Gates - 01

Dylan and His Gates - 02

Dylan and His Gates - 04

Dylan and His Gates - 05

Dylan and His Gates - 03

Dylan writes…

I’ve been around iron all my life ever since I was a kid. I was born and raised in iron ore country — where you could breathe it and smell it every day. And I’ve always worked with it in one form or another.

And of course he waxes poetic about his interest in gates, specifically…

Gates appeal to me because of the negative space they allow. They can be closed but at the same time they allow the seasons and breezes to enter and flow. They can shut you out or shut you in. And in some ways there is no difference.

(via John ShearerThe Daily Mail)

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26 Comments

  1. amacker says:

    Burning Man installation !!
    Karen could let him set up a studio in American Steel. Next to Flux. And Ryon Gesnick.

  2. John McLaughlin says:

    Thanks for linking this for us, Jamie – I don’t know why, but I suspected all along this tale from Dylan’s
    *Chronicles* was true – that he worked in iron [like Lisa Fedon? Like Steve Linden, with that great mural
    outside the building of “A Family of Artists” in E Stroudsburg?)and now we have photographs!!
    I’m reminded of the display outside the National Cathedral in DCa few weeks ago, of a blacksmith –
    an an actual, living, working smith – turning donated guns into agricultural implements – “swords into
    plowshares.” Was Dylan there for that ceremony? Is he “merely” waxing poetic when he points out
    that gates can enclose, but that the air passes thru them? Hah! A Hibbings childhood in the iron ore
    country of Upper Michigan apparently never leaves a poet. Always beware – never take genius lightly!

    - John.

  3. Kathy Mack says:

    He is truly an Renaissance man. I have been a fan since my dad brought home The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan in the early 60″s (when I was all of about 8-9 years old).

    I wonder what his gates sell for? I want one…

  4. lightning says:

    bob,
    you are so cool. i love the way you look at things.

    i have always wanted a mobile that was similar to the one in the movie called “twister” with helen hunt. the gates that you make are of the same crazy idea. beautiful!
    peace & love,
    lightning

  5. animoo says:

    I’d love to be let loose in that metal shop. Of course he has all the necessary equipment and can pay plenty for the supplies to make cool artwork. droooool

  6. darknforever says:

    No doubt about Dylan’s influence and brilliance. But he made one huge mistake in his life that will never be taken back. He campaigned for the Nobel Prize. No one wins the Nobel Prize who has campaigned for it. The Nobel Prize is not the Emmy or the Oscar. Even Malala was passed by for the Nobel Peace Prize, probably because she went on talk shows to promote her book. (However, in coming years she will still be awarded the prize. Dylan has used up his time in futile self-promotion, which the Nobel committee sees as the kiss of death. Think about it, how many Nobel Prize winners in literature have appeared on talk shows or keep a high profile? And how many have you ever heard of? If you’ve even heard of half of them prior to their winning, you’re well educated.)

    1. will says:

      darknforever: Source please!
      But more importantly, what does your comment have to do with anything, especially Dylan doing iron sculpture?
      Go back to your comfortable darkness.
      When you can compose a poem or song, or even build a sculpture, to rival anything Dylan has done, then you will have some cred to address his character. Not before.

  7. RWordplay says:

    Take only a little of it seriously and it won’t alter the truth. Or take it all seriously and it won’t alter the truth.

    I first met Bob Dylan when I was working at Brentano’s Book Store in the Beverly Wilshire Hotel, over Christmas/New Year 1973/74. I was standing by the back entrance to the store, which led into the hotel when a black stretch limousine pulled up.

    When out popped a handful of young long-haired men, my friend, the late Allan Roy, said, “Wouldn’t that be cool, if it were The Band and Bob Dylan” who were playing their final gig at the Fabulous Forum.

    Well, what do you know, it was The Band and Dylan. who were staying at the Beverly Wilshire. They all came into the store before checking in, or perhaps, a Roadie, was checking them into their suites. Members of The Band bought beautifully made, laptop-sized, Italian leather backgammon sets. Dylan asked me where the poetry books were and bought seven books, including “The Best of New York Puerto Rican Poets.”

    The next time I saw Mr. Dylan was when he was stopped, idling on the shoulder of the road, at the stoplight at the intersection of The Pacific Coast Highway and Malibu Canyon Road. I had pulled over to help a woman change a flat tire, while Dylan watched from his car. When I was done, I walked back to my car, the light changed, he nodded, smiled, and put the put the peddle to the metal.

    Apropos of the piece, I suspect Mr. Dylan can afford to do whatever he likes, whenever he likes, with all the assistants/assistance he requires, out of the cameras frame. One hell-of-a-life.

    1. Nena says:

      when I was about 19, I volunteered as an usher where he played in Syracuse NY at a theatre under restoration at the time and afterwards he thanked me and shook my hand.

  8. jon mosher says:

    You’d think making gates would be commissioned since gates usually need to fit somewhere. Then again, some people would hang them up on the wall or make a space around them. I doubt Dylan cares whether they fit somewhere or not. If people are willing to throw down that money they can remodel whatever

  9. chris says:

    yeah he makes some of them to be used as far as I heard he made one for Jack White. But they stand as sculptures too.. they are lovely …

  10. JOHN ROPER says:

    AMAZING……. I USED TO LISTEN TO BOB AS I WORKED ON MY SCULPTURE FROM THE SIXTIES TO 2010. I CALL HIM BOB BECAUSE WE SPENT SO MANY HOURS TOGETHER. NOW I’M RETIRES DUE TO (WELL JUST GETTING OLD) CAN’T WELD ANY MORE BUT I SPEND A LOT OF TIME SITTING AT MY COMPUTER DESIGNING SCULPTURE THAT WILL NEVER GET DONE, AND GUESS WHAT, IM STILL LISTENING TO BOB AND IT’S BEEN A GREAT RIDE

  11. Jim says:

    There is a museum for ornamental iron I visited while in Mephis, it had many different gates and other beautiful metal works. If you get a chance it is worth the look…

    thomasironworks.com/MetalMuesum/The%20Museum/museum.htm‎

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