I just met Bob Dylan 🎨
okay, not really, but kinda?
They say never to meet your heroes, but I just did!
Here’s the story of how I met one of my heroes and got more than I bargained for. Enjoy!
If this post makes sense, it’ll be an achievement. And if you take anything away from it, it’ll be an even bigger achievement.
Nonetheless, I think it’s best I start with the truth.
Here’s my story 👇
I moved to NYC last summer. And in those heady days of what felt like a heatwave, at least to my British sensibilities, was a culture and creativity that felt truly palpable. It was something I either ignored or wasn’t present in London, yet I found myself in what felt like its global epicentre — Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
Williamsburg hit me hard. It seemed to be dripping in culture, more than any place I’d visited or lived. Memes were being made of memes; clothing was torn, tailored, and remade; and graffiti was scrawled on seemingly every wall.
And in the midst of this madness, one name stood out: Blob Dylan.
Anyone who knows me well will know that Bob Dylan is perhaps my favourite artist of all. No one speaks to me quite like he does. And whilst I saw other names nearby, including the utilitarian PREU ANA ANA PERU and the bombastic NO PARKING (in hindsight, this might have been a traffic sign), only BLOB DYLAN felt like it was written for me… an inside joke, complete with a nod, wink and smile 😏
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And the more I paid attention to the world around me (see my earlier post), the more it gave back to me. And the more I saw Blob:
Blobs were around Williamsburg, Greenpoint, the Navy Yard, and even once in Manhattan. And if I was somewhere new and unfamiliar and I saw a Blob, I could immediately be at ease — because if a Blob was there, it must be a place worth going.
I took pictures of every Blob I saw. And in my quiet hours, I’d ponder over my albums and think. As I stared at the Blob, I saw its outline take shape:
thin, wiry lettering (often white tippex, and — if you’re lucky — printed on a sticker)
the O is circled, like the rings of Saturn
the A is sometimes circled, but not always
a tag AGAHg was often nearby (similar to how restorative dock leaves can usually be found near stinging nettles)
As I looked into the Blob, I started to feel a deep affinity for the art and the artist. It felt that somehow we were connected, drawn to one another.
I would see their work all around and wonder about their motive and purpose. I would spend minutes at a time, pondering about their identity. I told friends, colleagues, and shopkeepers my story, and asked if they knew more. They all listened with amazement and curiosity, but their ignorance was the same as mine.
So I asked the next best thing: the internet. And it turned out it wasn’t just me searching for Bob — everyone was! I found:
An Instagram page dedicated to his art
A website compiling sightings of his work
Blog posts (1, 2, 3, 4), with findings deeper in Brooklyn (and in Florida!)
Dead-ends on Twitter
There were even sweatpants and skateboards (you can buy them!) made with his insignia
But there was one common truth. No one knew who Bob was. It was all a mystery.
But this weekend everything changed.
I met Blob Dylan.
Walking around Williamsburg, I noticed someone scribbling something on a bike.
I asked if they were Blob. They said, no, they didn’t know what I was talking about. As I looked more closely, I saw the iconic insignia that I’d been following to dead-ends for months: the wiry, stringed lettering; the Saturn-ringed O; and the date 13/2.
This couldn’t have been an imitation. I was seeing the real thing.
And with a snap, they left.
I caught just a glimpse of their face — a nod, wink and smile, then a walk into the afternoon sunshine. Like a yeti hidden in the snow, they were gone — a grainy memory forever in the back of my mind.
They say to never meet your heroes. That doing so will only result in disappointment and sadness. And maybe they’re right.
You wonder about the energy they radiate. The focus to their craft. And you wonder if they’ll be as excited to meet you as you are to meet them (you flatter yourself, saying that you would be… if only you could keep your cool). You build them up so much that no human person could meet your expectations.
And it was the same with Blob and me.
What kind of person could write all of that? Maybe it’s two people… or a network of vigilantes. And why — why did they do it? Is there a deeper meaning? Why Blob, is it just because it sounds funny? But most importantly: what does Blob Dylan mean for society, what does it mean for me?
I met Blob, and they were right… to an extent. If you want your heroes to meet your expectations, then perhaps don’t meet them. Ultimately, Blob is just a person — skin and bone, just like you and I. No better, no worse.
But Blob saw and did things differently. They simply had a dream, an idea of how the world could be different and how they could make their mark on it. And instead of ruminating, they went out and made that world a reality.
We could all be Blob Dylan if we wanted to be. The world is malleable, and it’s ours to change. And knowing that we have that freedom at all times is as empowering a realisation as any one could have.
I don’t know where my journey will take me from here, but I know I’m going to take Blob’s uplifting lesson to heart.
So thank you Blob, and thank you reader, for making it this far.
Till next week!
Loved reading it, someone similar to Banksy 😃