Billy Connolly’s 75th to be celebrated in Glasgow murals

Artist Rachel Maclean's digital print 'Big Yin' of Billy Connolly.
Artist Rachel Maclean's digital print 'Big Yin' of Billy Connolly.
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Three large-scale murals of comedian Billy Connolly commissioned by leading Scottish artists are to be displayed on walls in Glasgow city centre to celebrate the comedian’s 75th birthday this year.

The works, all more than 50-feet high, by John Byrne, Jack Vettriano and Rachel Maclean who is currently representing Scotland in the Venice Biennale, were commissioned by BBC Scotland.

Byrne’s portrait features Connolly as he is now, will go on a wall end in Osborne Street, while Vettriano’s painting from the comedian’s World Tour of Scotland series in 1994, featuring a windblown Billy on a storm-lashed coast near John O’Groats, will be showcased in Dixon Street.

Maclean’s digital print of Connolly - in a specially created outfit, with motifs from his career such as ‘mini bike parked in bum’ epaulettes, make-up reflecting his famous ‘pale blue Scotsman’ joke - will go up in the Gallowgate.

Connolly who sat for all three portraits, said he was delighted with the tribute.

“I’m probably more famous for being a Glaswegian than anything else I’ve actually done. It’s been great to have been home to take part in this and a real privilege to be part of these artists’ work.”

A specially-commissioned BBC Scotland programme ‘Billy Connolly: Portrait of a Lifetime’ will be transmitted in June.