Minneapolis’ HUGE tribute to Bob Dylan

You may notice a familiar face in the distance, if you get off the light rail at the Warehouse District stop in Minneapolis.

Bob Dylan mural

That’s Minnesota native Bob Dylan, interpreted as a five-story-tall harlequin.

Bob Dylan mural

The mural — which occupies the façade of the 15 Building at 5th Street S. and Hennepin Avenue in Minneapolis — is the work of Brazilian artist Eduardo Kobra, who also has installations in Moscow, Los Angeles, and New York.

Bob Dylan mural

Bob Dylan mural

According to MinnPost, the mural is coming to life thanks to a partnership between R2 Companies (the owner of the building), the city of Minneapolis, and the Hennepin Theatre Trust.

“We’re spending some money on this mural,” [R2 Companies’ Matt] Garrison said, “and we’re happy to do it. Normally, real estate investors want a direct return on investment, but this is more qualitative than quantitative. We’re doing it to help create a sense of community and excitement.”

When I stopped by yesterday there was indeed a sense of excitement, as dozens of passersby stopped to gawk and snap photos.

Bob Dylan mural

The mural is a triptych representing three phases of Bob Dylan’s career. My favorite so far is the youngest Dylan, I think, because of his wistful gaze.

Bob Dylan mural

Of course, I may change my mind when the middle-aged Dylan takes shape.

Bob Dylan mural

And I probably won’t have to wait long: In the half hour I spent at the site yesterday work progressed quickly, as three crews worked simultaneously.

Bob Dylan mural

The muralists used different techniques, depending on their task. One artist used a spray gun to give Bob Dylan the pompadour of his dreams …

Bob Dylan mural

… while two other painters filled in a large area with paint rollers.

Bob Dylan mural

But it was the guy at the far-right end of the mural who most caught my attention …

Bob Dylan mural

… because he kept referring to a stack of drawings and comparing it carefully to his and his colleagues’ work. “Did someone make a mistake?” I wondered.

Bob Dylan mural

At one point he saw me taking photos and turned to greet me. But it wasn’t until I got home and looked at his face that I understood: The man with the plan was muralist Eduardo Kobra himself. I hope that, even from a block away, he could see my approving smile.

Bob Dylan mural

Kobra and his crew are expected to take another two weeks to finish the mural. I’ll be back with updates.

Like this post? You may also enjoy A Minneapolis mural mozy.


  1. I enjoyed your work-in-progress photos.

    Thanks for making me think about Eduardo Kobra. When I read his biography I liked the fact that it was a judge who helped him step across the line from illegality to corporate work: “Often chased by authorities, he was arrested several times for vandalizing property. The turning point in his career occurred after one of his arrests, when the judge was so impressed by the wall paintings that Kobra’s sentence was to paint a mural on the police station wall.” (http://eduardokobra.com/sobre/)

    • Isn’t that WONDERFUL, Elaine? I was saving the story in case I’m able to catch up with him for an interview. 😉

      • Looking forward to reading your interview. I’m sure there’s much, much more to the man than his lucky encounter with the judge – though it’s the kind of change of fortune that would be in a Hollywood film.

        I bet he’d be happy to speak to you – I suppose it’s a question of finding out when he comes down from the heights – unless you hire your own cherry-picker and get into casual conversation that way 🙂

        • It hadn’t occurred to me to hire my own cherry-picker and join the artist in his aerie. You’re a genius, Elaine! 😀

  2. He was threatening you with a colour spray! 😀
    Lovely post. Art in public space is always so uplifting, isn’t it? I can imagine the warmth this wall painting will bring on cold winter days. Besos mil!

    • It’s not the first time I’ve been threatened with a can of paint, Rosa! 🙂 But you’re so right that this giant mural will add a welcome splash of color to our drab winters. (Hadn’t thought of that, actually, so excellent point! I’ll let you know if the bold reds and oranges manage to fool me into thinking I’m in the tropics. Ha ha.) ¡Besos mil!

    • I hope I’ll be able to catch up with him. Maybe I’ll take Elaine’s suggestion and rent a cherry picker so I can casually appear next to him and say hello. 🙂

    • I couldn’t agree with you more, Paula: It’s a great tribute to a great artist. I’ll try to get out this weekend and shoot the final product, now that I’m back from my own European adventure. 😉

    • Thanks, I wouldn’t have heard about these murals if I hadn’t stumbled on your blog, Yes Dylan deserves this king-sized tribute. I’ve been claiming for decades that he’s one of the top post WW II English language poets, but my European friends have always found my tastes quirky. Go Minneapolis!

      • Please tell your European friends that this blogger thinks you have *excellent* taste in poetry (and music). Thank you for stumbling by! 😉

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