John Byrne

Billy Connolly, b. 1942. Entertainer (2002)

About this artwork

This celebratory portrait was painted to commemorate the comedian's sixtieth year. In his affectionate and humorous depiction, Byrne has included elements that represent the different aspects of Connolly's life and career. Wearing one of his famous 'Big Banana Feet' shoes, and with his belt buckle bearing his nickname 'Big Yin', the laughing figure of Connolly gestures towards his younger self in the background. The scene also includes smaller images of the comedian playing the banjo and running in the nude, two of the other pastimes for which he has become famous.

John Byrne

John Byrne

Byrne was born in Paisley and studied at Glasgow School of Art from 1958 to 1963. He has worked as an artist, playwright and theatre designer. Byrne uses a variety of styles and techniques as he has always tried to avoid being associated with particular styles or movements in art. In 1967, following a lack of success with London galleries, Byrne produced a series of paintings under the guise of 'Patrick', which he claimed was the name of his seventy-two year old father. These were met with interest, much to the artist's amusement.