OK...Six out of 18 ain't bad.


And yes, that fine canvas reproduction welcoming you to the 4th Floor portion of the GAGOSIAN GALLERY actually was painted by "Mr. Rolling Stone" himself, directly from the Okinawa Soba Photostream post seen here :


After seeing Bob Dylan's exhibition first hand, my initial reaction was that Dylan's juvenile appropriation of the works of others (including copyrighted images, without permission or due credit to source) was so sad it was laughable.


Pathetic is another word that comes to mind.


His "paint-by-numbers" approach to simply coloring in others images that were digitally projected onto his canvass (or thrown there the old fashioned way with an OHP) was so un-astounding and uninspiring that all I could do was forgive the poor guy for his total lack of conscience, and pathetic attempt to pass off the work of others as his own.


Seeing that he was, at this late stage of his life, beyond repentance, and given over to the unholy spirit of self-aggrandizement for the sake of personal profit, I no longer cared what the hell he did, and as far as I was concerned, he could help himself to as many more of my Flickr posts as he wanted. As long as he's sinking in the quicksand, let him go down self-deluded and happy.


However, keeping my pitiful impressions of Dylan to myself, I decided to dwell on the more enjoyable impressions of my day in New York, and posted my forgiving comments on the EXPECTING RAIN Website, and left it at that.


As time passed, though, my original I-could-care-less attitude gave way to the conviction that Dylan should be publicly called out for his gross immaturity in matters of civil demeanor and copyright violation (of others photos, not mine), and ended up giving a few statements to several on-line magazines, and a dubious interview in NPR which was heard 'round the world.


For this Flickr caption, allow me to set up the fine line between use of "Public Domain" images, and passing off such works as your own.


★ Of course, my old-photo Flickr posts are all made from PUBLIC DOMAIN photos in my archives, and as everyone who knows my photostream is aware, I offer Dylan and everyone else the FREE USE OF THESE IMAGES for Blogging, Websites, Arts and Craft work, and YES, EVEN CONVERTING TO PAINTINGS !


No problem !!!


However, I do not offer the freedom to cook up lies while playing in the sandbox of diddly-squat deception --- by either directly or indirectly allowing people who see your artwork to believe they were painted from photos that you took yourself, and were the result of your own eye for composition, framing, and choice of content !


Dylan was quoted in the Exhibition Catalog as saying all of these images were from his direct contact with the subjects portrayed, during his own travels around the world --- which anyone with half a brain who attended the exhibition could see was a total load of horse manure.


Again, pathetic and sad all at the same time --- especially from someone who has engendered the goodwill of so many fans for so many decades.






★ So, the issue here is not about the use of the photos, but one of "ethics" --- involving both the credit acknowledgement issues, and issues of deceit when offering the public a description of how and from where the "inspiration" for them came.


★ This is not the Gagosian Gallery's problem of faulty PR by a middle man. It is Dylan's problem. A careful reading of Dylan's own words in the Exhibition Catalog shows "plain as day" that he has no interest in crediting either his old public domain sources, or those photographers who still hold these images under copyright.


★ This is not about me. I don't post these images for the purpose of gathering "thanks", "credit", "accolades", or "praise". I didn't even take the damn pictures. Discussing Dylan's lack of proper source credit for ALL the photos (not just those from this photostream) is a discussion about artists who intentionally don't cite sources [a form of "thank you" called an "acknowledgement" or "credit"] that serves both the viewer of the art, and the evolution or history of the image upon which the art is built. Anything less is an ego-serving scam that defrauds both the person viewing the image, and the world of art in general.




By the way, you can brush up on the subject HERE :


Please note in the Wiki overview above, that PLAGIARISM IN THE ART WORLD is, even today, DEFENDED, GLORIFIED, and EXTOLLED as part of the "creative process" of Artists.


What ? Passing off straight copy-cat paintings of photos (or even other artworks) that were composed, framed, and executed by others, as scenes born from your own witness of life or fervent imagination, and conveyed to the canvass by some innate talent that supposedly resides in your inner creative soul ?


That's correct. And for most of history, that's exactly the way it has been. Depending on the historic period in question, artists (to varying degrees) would live in the BS fantasy world of plagiarizing the work others to make up for their utter lack of personal talent.


That would be OK if they were just little kiddies practicing the PAINTINGS or PIANO TUNES of others in order to limber up in the privacy of the studio. However, part of becoming an adult, and making our own contributions to the world of art, involves NOT telling people we wrote a tune that was really by MOZART, or passing off a copy of the MONA LISA as something new and fresh pulled straight from your creative muse.





Dylan titled the above painting "SHANGHAI".


However, the original photo he used was actually taken in CANTON.


Rumor has it that Bob was so excited to find some great photos in this Flickr archive (to enlarge and paint over?) that he tripped over himself, bumped his head, his mind went completely blank, and he plum forgot to copy down the actual location ! ;-)


He was also so excited, he forgot to mention the photographers of the copyrighted images he used from both MAGNUM PHOTOS, GETTY IMAGES, and OTHERS.




Of the 18 large Dylan canvasses on display, SIX were "inspired" by photos from the Flickr "Soba Archive" --- see if you can spot them by enlarging the thumbnails HERE :


BOB DYLAN -The Asian Series. The Gagosian Gallery says that these paintings are a "visual reflection on his travels in [Asia]". The Wall Street Journal says these paintings are from Dylan's "visual journal" acquired during his "face to face" time with the people of Asia.


Wow. I'm impressed !


HOWEVER....Okinawa Soba can assure you that at least a good handful are actually "visual paint-overs" of old photos sitting in a box right here in my house in the Poconos of Pennsylvania !


And...quite a few others were copy-painted directly from images still under copyright, with absolutely no credit given to the photographers whose photographs he copied via brushes and an acrylic paint palette.


OK, may now return to rolling like a stone, blowing in the wind, and writing some more music for us !





You are welcome to both agree and disagree with me !




QUESTION for Okinawa Soba : How do you know if Dylan didn't take this photo with his own camera while traveling in China back in the 1920s before he was born ? Or, How do you know he didn't find this photo somewhere else ?


ANSWER : Okinawa Soba uses certain "crop-lines" which reduce the image from the original Public Domain print, slide, or stereoview. In most cases, Except for two of his works, Dylan followed my new crop-lines and re-composed images exactly. In the case of the above view of Canal Boats, Dylan followed some key color schemes which were serendipitously applied to the original hand-colored slide, and have never been seen elsewhere else except on my Flickr post. Etc etc etc.


Note to Bob Dylan --- I'm glad you liked a few of my posted photos of old Asia. I enjoyed my visit to the Gagosian Gallery, and viewing your paintings made from the old photos. Please come back anytime, and next time DON'T FORGET TO CREDIT ALL OF YOUR SOURCES !



♫ ♦ ♫ ♦ ♫ ♦ ♫ ♦ ♫ ♦ ♫ ♦ ♫ ♦ ♫ ♦ ♫ ♦ ♫ ♦ ♫ ♦ ♫ ♦ ♫ ♦ ♫ ♦ ♫ ♦




"..........Dylan’s art exhibition "The Asia Series" -- going on this month at the Gagosian Gallery on Manhattan’s Upper East Side -- is described as "a visual journal" of his travels and experiences "in Japan, China, Vietnam and Korea," with "firsthand depictions of people, street scenes, architecture and landscape."


The iconic singer has certainly traveled the globe, so he likely has plenty of experience to draw from, right? Not so fast: The New York Times reported that several Dylan aficionados have noticed striking similarities in Dylan’s art -- like that he copied certain photographs line for line.


It’s not a coincidence -- several pieces, like one of two Asian men, are exact replicas of older photographs.


"The most striking thing is that Dylan has not merely used a photograph to inspire a painting: he has taken the photographer’s shot composition and copied it exactly. He hasn’t painted the group from any kind of different angle, or changed what he puts along the top edge, or either side edge, or the bottom edge of the picture," Dylan fan MICHAEL GRAY wrote on his blog, Bob Dylan Encyclopedia.


"He’s replicated everything as closely as possible. That may be a (very self-enriching) game he’s playing with his followers, but it’s not a very imaginative approach to painting. It may not be plagiarism but it’s surely copying rather a lot..........."






I have now expanded the PERMISSIONS statement in my Flickr Profile into this :






♥ ♥ ♥ That's right ! With just a few exceptions, almost every photo you see on this photostream is completely free to use for your Blogging, Website, and other Creative Uses ! YOU HAVE MY PERMISSION -- NO NEED TO ASK !


♥ ♥ ♥ While the PHOTOS ARE FREE TO USE --- Note that Flickr (not me) requires a link back to the Flickr page as a means of giving PROPER CREDIT and SOURCE INFORMATION.


♥ ♥ ♥ If you are using these OFF LINE for any PUBLIC DISPLAY as is, or STRAIGHT CONVERSION TO ARTWORK, please include source credit somewhere to allow others to access, understand, and appreciate the root of your graphic inspiration. This is not a legal requirement for the use of the old photos, but rather, an appeal to ethics and social courtesy in a civilized society who might falsely believe that your paintings or photocopies are born from your own experience or personal photos that you, yourself took.


♥ ♥ ♥ Also, for OFF-LINE USE, If I have identified the ORIGINAL PHOTOGRAPHER in any caption, please credit THAT PHOTOGRAPHER. In such cases, Neither "Okinawa Soba" nor "Flickr" need be mentioned, as I am not posting this stuff for my own glory. Otherwise, please credit this Flickr photostream.

  • Okinawa Soba (Rob) 4y

    Like most people here on Flickr who post old photos like this, the pics are re-worked from our own home-made scans of the old, original images in our own personal archives and collections. We own the originals, so we don't have to copy or "steal" from other sites, collections, or public archives. Please note that all "Public Archives" that hold public domain images are as strict as hell about credit lines for those that use their images. I am not some kind of fluky flake in my defense of source credit.

    If you meant where did we get these originals, or how did we build these archives or collections, the answer is pretty straightforward --- auctions, used book stores, antique shops, dedicated "Paper Show", "Postcard Fairs", "Antique Photography Conventions", and trading images with like-minded collectors in order to mutually strengthen certain parts of our respective collections. Some might have inherited their collections. But mostly, it is done with a lot of time, money, and hard work. Public archives have the added benefit of receiving donated collections to add to their existing archives already acquired by some of the same means listed above.
  • Cult_of_the_Lone_Wolf 4y

    This is hilarious! I read a Dylan interview once where he criticized those who covered his songs note for note..
  • Okinawa Soba (Rob) 4y

    Do as I say, not as I do ! ;-)
  • Badger 23 / jezevec 4y

    Shoot, just take one of your marvelous re-dos, set Photoshop to "watercolor", and voila, profits!!! I love Hiroshige prints, but I put my spin on his ideas. Its dishonest and freakin lazy to mostly copy and especially not credit the source(s).
  • Okinawa Soba (Rob) 4y

    I agree !
  • Ayilana 4y

    WOW. That's just amazing, but not really surprising. People with big names think they can do whatever. And yeah, the point is not to cite YOU for these (duh, you're not the original owner/photographer, anyway!), but to cite THESE ARE NOT HIS ORIGINALS, EITHER. I think some people are missing the point. Plagiarism is plagiarism. If Bob Dylan wants to credit these paintings as HIS OWN, he should paint them on his own. If he wants to state they were painted from old photographs, that's fine, so long as he states that. There is nothing wrong with that so long as you properly cite your sources! Everyone should know that from writing papers in literature class in HIGH SCHOOL, let alone any other schooling you would have had to do so for. =P

    I LOVE to redraw things, but I ALWAYS post the main picture/drawing I got it from! And I certainly don't sell anything for profit. The only things I make my own are the "Kyo-Maiko" drawings I have taken to doing. They are in the same style as other "Kyo-Maiko" watercolor prints and whatnot, but I have my own style of drawing them now and I certainly don't sit there and copy them from other pictures all the time. Now I make all my own! I use real pictures as inspiration for the designs on the kimono of the lovely maiko, but that's the extent to which I "copied" them. They are my own and I have full right to claim them as such. I draw and color each one of them.
  • Okinawa Soba (Rob) 4y

    AYILANA --- Thanks for the input. You could teach Bob Dylan a thing or two ~ !
  • Ayilana 4y

    Okinawa Soba (Rob) I'm sure he would disagree. lol
  • Katy Crayon 4y

    If some of these images are copyrighted by big-name companies like Getty and Magnum, then a hard rain's a gonna fall for Bob Dylan in terms of lawsuits! You would think a man that produced some very original music for his time could come up with some original artwork.
  • Okinawa Soba (Rob) 4y

    KATY --- I believe Dylan has already settle with Magnum over the issue. Don't know about Getty or the other Estates. There was never a legal issue with using my Flickr posts, as he is quite welcome to do so, just the same as everybody. It's just the ethical / moral issue of allowing his fans to believe he painted his canvasses from images in his own photo album shots, culled from his eye-witness travels in Asia.
  • Kimino Chiyo 4y

    Bob Dylan is such a weak figure...he could at least tell the truth.But this kind of people think they rule the world and can do what they want. But he can't escape to karma laws nor copyrights.Ahah you're the best,Soba ^^ This kind of thing only shows how good and talented you are,and there are people who envy your creativity and want to be you.
  • Okinawa Soba (Rob) 4y

    "......Ahah you're the best,Soba ^^ This kind of thing only shows how good and talented you are,and there are people who envy your creativity and want to be you....."

    Thank you, Kimino ! That is such a very nice, over-the-top compliment, and you get a big hug for that !

    However, I must protest ! If was really a talented and creative photographer, I would be posting more of my own photos. But, alas, I am mostly posting great old pictures taken by OTHER lost and forgotten photographers who passed away long ago.

    As for any possible crazy people who would want to be me, I would not wish such a scary thing on anybody --- just ask my wife ! ;-)
  • Kimino Chiyo 4y

    Okinawa Soba (Rob) ahah :)
    "I am mostly posting great old pictures taken by OTHER lost and forgotten photographers who passed away long ago"

    By doing that,you're giving new life to those photos,and giving them a chance to be seen by newer generations,and that's really remarkable.
  • Okinawa Soba (Rob) 4y

    Well, I'm really glad you like these old photos, Kimino-chan. Thanks.
  • CactisBoy 4y

    Heard tonight on the way home"Okinawa Soba... I know ( know..) him!"
    Interesting debate, and you have a good attitude.
  • Okinawa Soba (Rob) 4y

    I haven't heard it yet. Blithering idiots like myself should avoid radio interviews as all costs !

    I don't know how the NPR thing slipped by me. As for having a good attitude, I have no idea how that happened ! If so, it will certainly undermine my hard-ass reputation around here !

  • Nils 4y

    ... Love and Theft....
  • Okinawa Soba (Rob) 3y

    DYLAN is BACK !!! ......with more "Interpretations". Lacking his own primary originality, he prefers to be "original" by silk-screening the work of others. Perhaps he is an Andy Warhol wannabe. I am assuming he will give credit this time around....while laughing all the way to the bank.

    Cheers !
  • Badger 23 / jezevec 3y

    Okinawa Soba (Rob) I'll keep my kids drawings off the internet then.
  • Okinawa Soba (Rob) 3y

    Badger 23 / jezevec Dylan could command a million bucks for any "silk screen version" of your kids' drawings, but they wouldn't receive a cent.
14 faves
Taken on September 25, 2011
This photo is in 2 albums

Additional info

  • Viewing this photo Public
  • Safety level of this photo Safe
  • S Search
    Photo navigation
    < > Thumbnail navigation
    Z Zoom
    B Back to context