Billy Connolly unveils four new artworks in gallery sale

The Big Yin unveiled the new artworks inspired by creative sense of humour and personal philosophy.

Billy Connolly has swapped stand-up for fine art as he is set to sell four new original pieces.

The Big Yin, 80, has been a keen artist since 2012 after being inspired to start drawing while on tour.

His new witty works have been unveiled through gallery Castle Fine Art and mark the 11th instalment of his Born on a Rainy Day collection.

The pieces have been launched through his Born on a Rainy Day art series and are being sold for £1,250 each – though they can be bought as a set for £4,500 framed or £3,300 unframed.

The pieces are named Pontius Tries Pilates, One Armed Juggler, Nightmare and Drunk Donkey.

He said he always wanted to give Pontius Pilate a “keep-fit name”, adding the idea came to him when his wife joined a pilates gym.

He added: “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.

Two of the artworks from Billy Connolly: One-Armed Juggler and Pontius Tries Pilates.Castle Fine Art

“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.”

On his One Armed Juggler drawing, the comedian said: “He’s 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. You see guys in their 60s out running in the evening and you think: ‘Get a chair. Get a chair and a bottle of beer and switch on the telly; who are you kidding?’.

“But all my guys are doing that, they’re trying to be part of it wherever ‘it’ is.”

The Nightmare piece is inspired by Connolly’s own bad dreams, which he says he never really remembers upon waking up.

He said: “But I’m famous for shouting in the night and singing and laughing; my daughter has seen me; I’ve never remembered it.

“And I was directing a play in my sleep. I was talking to the actors and then I would become the actors, singing songs.”

His Drunk Donkey piece hearkens back to his earlier days when he lived in Scotland.

He owned two donkeys who he says he would let “wander about the place eating grass”.

The comedian says the animals are “lovely” and “friendly”, comparing them to dogs.

He added: “They cling to you, they’ve got a real tie to human beings. Donkeys are funny animals but it’s an endearing kind of funny.

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

“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.”

Connolly was first inspired to start drawing while on tour in Canada.

He picked up paper and pens in a Montreal art store after he’d tired of looking at the animals in the window of a local pet shop.

He said: “I’d never drawn in my life until this point, but I just started drawing weird islands and carried on drawing.

“I asked my wife to tell me if they were getting better and she said ‘definitely’.

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

“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.”

To see The Big Yin’s drawings, visit

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