CULTURE: Billy Connolly releases four new limited edition prints

Four new pieces will join the comedian’s “Born on a Rainy Day” collection

Sir Billy Connolly has released four limited edition art prints as part of his “Born on a Rainy Day” series.

The comedian was inspired to take up art while touring Canada in 2012 and now has an “idyllic life” drawing.

Like his comedy, the tongue-in-cheek titles of the drawings such as “Pontius Tries Pilates” and “Drunk Donkey” were inspired by his life.

Sir Billy said his Drunk Donkey piece was inspired by two pet donkeys he kept while living in Scotland. He has worked in Clydebank and lived in Bonhill and Drymen.

Sir Billy Connolly's black and white drawing titled Drunk Donkey.
Sir Billy was inspired to create Drunk Donkey by his own family pets who would escape into a nearby village

“Our donkeys used to escape over the wall of the garden, run down to the village and the villagers would bring them back,” he said.

“Donkeys always look drunk and behave drunk. This one’s a friendly looking guy and I think he’s been drunk a few times because he’s got a beer belly on him. And he’s got the drunk legs!

“Donkeys are funny animals but it’s an endearing kind of funny.

“They’re lovely, they’re friendly, they’re like dogs. They cling to you, they’ve got a real tie to human beings.”

The Glasgow-born comedian – named the UK’s most influential stand-up comedian of all time – now lives in Florida but continues to find humour and inspiration from his everyday life.

Pontius Tries Pilates
“Pontius Tries Pilates”‘ is just a guy at the gym “trying his best”, said Sir Billy

“The Big Yin” found name inspiration for his piece “Pontius Tries Pilates” when his wife, Dr Pamela Stephenson-Connolly, joined a pilates gym.

“He didn’t get a name until years after I had drawn him,” Connolly recalled

“I said it would be funny to call it Pontius Pilates, then I thought people would be offended by that, so I fiddled around and I got Pontius Tries Pilates.”

“He’s just a guy trying at the gym, trying his best. I don’t understand the whole gymnasium culture, but he’s he does and he’s good.”

Connolly said that although he goes to the gym and does Tai Chi nothing seems to change his body.

“I keep hoping that one day I’ll wake up and everything will work; I’ll be slim and muscular. I think I can forget it!”

One-Armed Juggler
“One-Armed Juggler”

The 80-year-old comedian began his artistic career while touring in Canada where he picked up paper and pens in a Montreal art shop and started drawing “weird islands”.

He said: “One-Armed Juggler is an example of the fact that most of the figures in my work are doing things that don’t matter.

“Just doing the things they do, thinking they’ll do you good – I’ve spent my life doing that.

“Nightmare” was inspired by The Big Yin’s own dreams where he sings, laughs and even directs plays.

Now a respected artist, Connolly said it “blows me sideways” that people want to buy his art.

“My manager sent them to the gallery, and now I make pictures and they’re lovely to me,” he said.

“And the fact that other people like them and want to live with them in their homes blows me sideways.

“To have somebody who wants a part of your mind in their life – I thought my wife had been the only one to fall for that, but it turns out that she’s not alone.”

The collection of prints are available through gallery Castle Fine Art, alongside art by Bob Dylan and Johnny Depp.

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