With a BAFTA award and knighthood under his belt, Billy is a creative force to be reckoned with. The comedian, musician, presenter and actor added a new string to his bow in 2012: fine art.
After working as a welder in Glaswegian shipyards in the 1960s, Billy became a folk singer and comedian. He has also appeared in films like Indecent Proposal (1993), Mrs. Brown(1997) and Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events (2004).
Fondly known as 'The Big Yin', his 75th birthday was celebrated in 2017 with three portraits by leading artists Jack Vettriano, John Byrne and Rachel Maclean. These were later turned into part of Glasgow's official mural trail. In October the same year, he was knighted at Buckingham Palace by Prince William.
Billy’s technique is similar to that of Surrealist automatism, whereby the artist allows their hand to move freely without a concept in mind. His art has also been likened to cave paintings from the Aurignacian period (40,000-25,000 BC). While his characters are anonymous, their charming simplicity is undeniable.
Billy says: “Art, for me, bears no relation to comedy or music. My art is pure and unjudged, I am creating it for myself.”
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