We are thrilled to showcase Billy Connolly's artwork here at the Enid Hutt Gallery and to feature a stunning series of signed limited edition prints together with original mixed media pieces. His artwork has a purity and freedom to it that allows you to interpret each piece in your own way. They are simply created, not contrived.
Billy Connolly began his entertainment career as a folk singer, initially as part as a duo called The Humblebums. Gerry Rafferty later joined the group and they met with critical acclaim if not huge record sales. Connelly then went solo and adopted a comedic persona. His performances were preceded by increasingly long comic introductions. These were so impressive that the head of his record company eventually suggested that he should abandon his music career in favour of becoming a comedian.
Connolly began performing as a comedian in 1972 and impressed all who saw him with his irreverent approach. His major break came when he appeared on the Parkinson chat show in 1975 at a time when television comedy was much more restrained than it is today. He told a daringly shocking gag about a man who killed his wife and then buried her in the garden. The memorable punchline was that the man had buried her face down so he could use her posterior to park his bicycle. Billy Connolly or "The Big Yin" as he is called in Scotland was now decidedly a star.
It is impressive enough that anyone could forge such a successful career in both music and comedy but Billy Connolly didn't stop there. He has also found success as an actor appearing in several films including Indecent Proposal, Mrs Brown and The Last Samurai. Now he is taking the world of art by storm with his much admired series of sketches.
His foray into art began when he was on tour in Canada in 2007. He was holed up in his hotel room on a miserable day in Montreal and became bored of watching television. He went for a wander outside and found himself in a local art shop. Having become totally absorbed by what he saw he emerged some time later with the pens and paper he needed to get creative himself.
He found that his initial attempts at figurative art were a complete failure and turned to drawing desert islands. He was surprised that his efforts were improving rapidly and eventually he began to produce the faceless, anonymous and yet extremely expressive figures that are now garnering such high praise.
Connolly's work has been described as reminiscent of Surrealist Automatism but he is happy to admit that he doesn't even know what that is. He draws unique characters from his imagination producing simple forms that convey an amazing complexity of emotions. His work has immediate appeal but is also thought provoking with striking imagery that feels fresh and which is certainly memorable.
Connolly has explained that his art is liberating in that he can lose himself in his work and take it where he feels he wants to go. There is no immediate judgement from his audience as there is when he performs on stage.
Billy Connolly is a prodigious talent and one wonders what he will find to excel at next!