There are few more iconic moments in music history than an impossibly young, incredibly cool, and wildly swoon-worthy Bob Dylan standing in a London alleyway dropping lyric-laden cue cards to the jangle of his Subterranean Homesick Blues. If it’s been a while since you’ve seen the original that opened up D.A. Pennebaker’s Don’t Look Back, here’s a refresher.
After reading Dylan’s epic memoir Chronicles: Volume One a few years ago, packaging designer Leandro Senna became increasingly interested in the legend and his influence. "I don’t understand all that he wants to say—maybe no one knows—and as I’m a 27-year-old, Portuguese-speaking Brazilian, for sure I’ve missed some of the inside jokes, puns, and context," Senna tells Co.Design. "But his lyrics are timeless and we can use them as inspiration anytime."
Inspiration indeed. After an intensive summer program at Parsons, Senna decided to do his own interpretation of the words; he started the personal project as a creative exercise to keep him busy in his downtime, and he had no initial intention of sharing it with the world. "I wanted to make something just for pleasure, without pressure for results," he says. The month-long endeavor resulted in almost 70 individual sheets featuring lyrics from the song; it also represents his (very highly impressive!) first foray into typography, hand-lettering, and iMovie. "I drew with pencil, then pen after that, and can’t say I planned what I was doing—that’s why you can find stupid mistakes, wrong words, and misspellings, and why I scanned all of them to be better centered on the page," he explains. "But I had a rule that I would never redo anything or use any digital retouching, because with 66 cards I would lose much time worrying."
There’s something hugely refreshing about Senna’s unabashed enthusiasm for what was, ultimately, a total experiment. I’m jazzed, and imagine that just a glimpse of this work will get many hearts pumping and ready to pursue a wealth of artistic whims. If nothing else, it should be enough to encourage a few spins of Bringing It All Back Home on the turntable.