Billy Connolly

Born: Glasgow
Lives and works: Florida, USA
Awards: CBE (2017), BAFTA Scotland (2012), Freedom of Glasgow (2010)
Exhibitions: Castle Fine Art (2019), People's Palace (2015)
“Drawing has given me a new lease of life. I managed to get pictures together and people like them, which surprises me and amazes and delights me.”

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. 

Inspiration

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

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Inside the world of Billy Connolly

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. 

 

From the blog

Billy Connolly | Born On A Rainy Day | 2021

He's back and bolder than ever! With six brand-new graphics from his fine art series now available to pre-order, the much-loved comedian reveals why colour has given his work a "totally different attitude".

Fine Art Collector | Autumn 2020

Download the newest issue of our magazine for exclusive launch sneak peeks, video content and art news. Plus in this special 25th anniversary edition, we reveal our best moments so far.

Magazines and brochures

Billy Connolly | Born On A Rainy Day (2021)

Featuring six hand-signed limited edition graphics, Billy Connolly returns with the seventh instalment from his Born On A Rainy Day Collection!

Billy Connolly | Born On A Rainy Day (2020)

We can always count on Billy Connolly to make us smile during challenging times! The much-loved comedian released this sixth release from his Born On A Rainy Day collection in October 2020. 

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© Copyright Washington Green Retail Limited trading as Castle Fine Art. First published 2012, last updated 2021. Washington Green Retail Limited acts as a credit broker and offers credit products from Secure Trust Bank PLC trading as V12 Retail Finance.

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