The phone rang:
“Get yourself to Birmingham by 3pm” said the voice
“you have to drop everything and go” she continued
“and pick me up on the way” she finished.
Perhaps an opportunity in a lifetime or perhaps a new years resolution that was finally coming to fruition. It’s not out of the ordinary for my friend to make this type of call, after all she is an artist and they are renowned for their unpredictability. She is still working out how to travel around Scotland on a trike, which was one of her previous ideas for us both.
The urgency was because of Billy Connolly who in my opinion is an incredibly creative person, he’s a storyteller, a musician, a singer, actor and many more talents so it was with real excitement I jumped at the chance to meet him.
Billy is launching a series of drawings called ‘Born on a Rainy Day’ which started life on a rainy day in Montreal and the series was launched by the Castle Galleries on the 16th March.
But two weeks before the launch I was finally going to meet the person I had listed on my ‘top 100 things to do before you croak’ list, there was nothing that could stand in the way. What I consider creative and what others consider it to be may well be different but I have a real infinity to story tellers because of the inspiration they have brought for centuries particularly through my Irish heritage. And here I was meeting what I considered one of the greatest story tellers of our time who had now turned his hand to my other passion; Art.
On meeting Billy Connolly I was amazed at his modesty, no big ‘Hollywood ego’ in front of me, just a down to earth human being who had none of the pretention the art world is renowned for. He spoke of his gratefulness to all of us who had bothered to turn up, because he was unsure whether we would or not. After all he said, why should we, but that small group of 40 or so people were there because we wanted to be and to meet an inspirational man who has turned his very creative hand to many things. He captivated us with his many stories and shared with us the saga of a short story he had written, which was about a young boy whose best friend was a puddle and inspired us with his stories of how his drawings had come to life, he considered them his friends.
I was particularly struck by one drawing that was called the ‘Story Teller’ and Billy told me about how the aboriginal story tellers became so animated in their relaying of stories that they would dance around flailing their arms, inspiring the people around them who listened intently. Much the same as we were at that moment in time but minus the dancing and flailing, far more reserved in Birmingham!
I loved all the drawings for their intricacy so get along and see the real thing, I’m sure there are the critics amongst us that will artistically critique each and every pen stroke but think way above that, he may well be wealthy and exotic beyond our dreams but he’s been brave enough to open his heart through art to the world and let you meet his friends.
When he was asked what the meaning was behind his drawings, he said he just didn’t think like that and he just enjoyed doing them and if the viewer sees something he didn’t, then it is a connection that is made with him, to them through art. How honest in such a pretentious world.
I would encourage everyone to pick up a pencil and sketch book this month and start your own story telling; you can read why in my next blog.