With a BAFTA award and knighthood under his belt, Billy is a creative force to be reckoned with. In 2012, the comedian, musician, presenter and actor added a new string to his bow: fine art. Recently featured in the ITV documentary Billy Connolly: It's Been a Pleasure, his Born On A Rainy Day collection includes hand-signed limited edition prints and a beautiful stainless steel sculpture.
Billy's collection of minimalistic drawings is as idiosyncratic and humorous as his own comedy, with elements of his own life unexpectedly appearing throughout. After working as a welder in Glaswegian shipyards in the 1960s, he became a folk singer and comedian. Billy has also appeared in over 50 films, including The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies (2014), Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events (2004), The Last Samurai (2003), Mrs. Brown (1997) and Indecent Proposal (1993).
It was on a rainy day in 2007 that Billy first put pen to paper. Taking refuge from the grey drizzle of Montreal, Canada, he entered an art shop with a twinkling curiosity and left with an armful of supplies and the urge to create. Back in his hotel room, his felt-tips and sketchbook formed a portal for his imagination, and over the next five years his drawings evolved into his debut fine art collection, Born On A Rainy Day.
Billy's art has been likened to the cave paintings of the Aurignacian period (40,000-25,000 BC), which are characterised by their linear, one-dimensional approach. Charmingly simplistic, his faceless figures possess an extraordinary self-awareness and humanity. Devoid of emotion or expression, their anonymity opens them up to individual interpretation, creating a unique bond with the viewer.
An admirer of artists like René Magritte and David Hockney, Billy has made an impact on the art world beyond his own creations. In 2017, the newly knighted Sir Billy Connolly was immortalised in three 50ft murals in his hometown of Glasgow to celebrate his 75th birthday, with his infamous ‘banana boots’ later displayed at the People’s Palace. In April 2020, following the headline-grabbing release of his fifth collection, he worked with an Edinburgh-based chocolatier to design a chocolate bar wrapper to raise funds for the NHS during COVID-19.
In December 2020, following his retirement from stand-up comedy, he starred in the ITV documentary Billy Connolly: It's Been a Pleasure, in which he detailed what his art means to him.
Shop Billy's latest collection here.
Now living in Florida, Billy is currently writing his autobiography and creating art in his home studio. His wife, the comedian and psychologist Pamela Stephenson, compares his style to Henri Matisse (read more about this in Fine Art Collector here). She says: "He loves to draw. He goes into his studio space and comes out with something incredible."
When he's not creating art, Billy enjoys fishing, watching television, drinking tea and eating biscuits!
Billy says: "Why do I like to make people laugh? Because it is a jolly thing. It is good for you and it is good for them. It is a dynamite thing to be able to do, to get a laugh out of someone.”
We went behind the scenes with Billy to ask him your top five questions! Watch our playlist below.
Featuring six hand-signed limited edition graphics, Billy Connolly returns with the seventh instalment from his Born On A Rainy Day Collection!
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