What Ricky Gervais does out of The Office: Comedian donates own art for auction to help Scots cancer charity
HE IS best known for The Office, Extras and rather risqué stand-up comedy but now comedian Ricky Gervais has revealed a hidden passion – for art.
The 51-year-old’s secret emerged after he decided to donate one of his paintings to an auction raising money for a charity in Scotland.
His painting, called Sunset Cityscape, is being shown in an exhibition by artists who have been affected by cancer. Gervais’ mother died of lung cancer in 2000.
The canvas, which portrays his interpretation of the New York skyline, is on display at Inverness’s Inchmore Gallery. All the works in The Big See exhibition are being sold in a silent auction to raise essential funds for Maggie’s Cancer Caring Centres.
Gervais, whose painting is expected to fetch more than £1,000, talked of his thoughts on his art in an interview posted on YouTube. He admitted: “My secret passion, secret until now, is that I like to paint.”
Gallery owner Jane Owen Inglis said: “Since the exhibition opened, people have been surprised to see a painting by Ricky Gervais.
“We are delighted to be able to show a piece of his artwork and, although it won’t be to everybody’s taste, there is no doubt it is an interesting and well-executed piece.
“Personally I love the way he has painted the sky and I hope by auctioning the painting we can raise a good sum for Maggie’s.
“It is certainly a fantastic opportunity for someone to own a unique piece of art painted by a celebrity comedian whose work as an artist is rarely available for sale.”
In his YouTube interview, Gervais said: “I have the spirit of an artist but not quite the skill. I just see what happens. I have never formally learnt anything. I just pick out bits I like. I make things up a little bit.
“I paint very quickly. Every canvas is like a work in progress.
“I also paint quickly because I have an attention span of a five-year-old. I have to be doing loads of things at once for a few minutes each.”
Describing a similar painting to the one being sold for Maggie’s, he said: “I combine two of my favourite things, New York and the TV show Heroes. It is a bit of comic-book art.”
He added: “It is really quite therapeutic.”
The exhibition and auction for Gervais’s painting end on Saturday.
Though best known for his comedy, Gervais has been involved and supported various charity projects over the years. In 2002, he took part in the a charity boxing match against Grant Bovey, partner of Anthea Turner. Winning the three-round fight, he donated the £5,000 prize money to Macmillan Cancer Support.
He also participated in charity concerts, including the Concert for Diana, in memory of the Princess of Wales, and Live Earth, both of which raised money for poverty-relief projects.
He is said to be a fervent supporter of animal rights, having spoken out against fox-hunting and bull-fighting, and lobbied the then prime minister Gordon Brown to stop the use of black bear fur as caps for the Foot Guards.
Maggie’s offers free practical, emotional and psychological support to people with cancer, their families, friends and carers.
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