Glasgow & West Scotland

Huge Billy Connolly mural unveiled in Anderston

Billy Connolly mural
Image caption The mural has been created in the area where Connolly was born

A huge steel mural of Billy Connolly has been unveiled on a wall in Glasgow as part of a £50m regeneration project.

The 20ft (6m) by 16ft (4.8m) mural has been created by artist Andy Scott.

It is near the comedian's birthplace, overlooks the shipyards where he once worked as a welder and can be seen from the Kingston Bridge.

Connolly said he was "humbled" by the artwork. "It is an unexpected honour for which I am extremely grateful," he said.

Sanctuary Scotland Housing Association commissioned the 500kg (79st) mural which formally completes phase 1 of the regeneration project.

Connolly, 68, said: "I consider myself a citizen of the world, but I was born and raised in Glasgow - it is where my first children were born - where I learnt to play the banjo - where I served my apprenticeship as a welder, and where I first performed in public.

"My heart beats to the rhythm of Glasgow - it is in my blood.

"I am happy and humbled that Sanctuary Scotland Housing Association commissioned a mural of me, to be erected in my home city, and thrilled that it was so skillfully created by artist and master craftsman Andy Scott."

Mr Scott said: "We're delighted Mr Connolly likes the mural as it's been a long and challenging commission.

"It's been interesting capturing a living legend but Mr Connolly never interfered and very quickly gave the finished artwork his blessing."

He said he had tried to capture the comedian in his early days to reflect his roots in the city.

Mr Scott's early sketches were hand-drawn in pencil on a giant timber wall in his workshop, which replicated the gable end in Anderston.

Once he was happy with the drawing, it became the template for the steel mural.

'Celebrated son'

It is made from about 1.5 miles (2.4km) of 6mm (0.24in) steel, chopped into thousands of pieces.

Each piece was individually placed and welded to create the image.

If the pieces were laid end-to-end, they would stretch from Billy's birthplace in Anderston beyond Glasgow City Chambers.

Image caption Artist Andy Scott said it had been a challenging commission

Mr Scott's other works include the heavy horse sculpture on the M8 and the 33ft mermaid on the A80 at Cumbernauld.

"The method used was different to my previous works but it befits Billy's unique character," he said.

Sanctuary Scotland director Gordon Laurie said: "We are excited to unveil Andy's excellent mural after his many months of hard work.

"We feel regeneration is about more than creating high quality, affordable housing and believe it should have a social and cultural impact as well.

"This mural honours one of Glasgow's most celebrated sons. We hope the artwork inspires others and brings attention to Anderston's regeneration."

Lord Provost of Glasgow, Councillor Bob Winter, who unveiled the mural, said: "This iconic mural looking out across the shipyards where Billy worked is a fitting tribute to one of the world's most recognised, living Glaswegians.

"I know it will be a great source of pride for Billy and Glaswegians everywhere."

The fifth and final phase of Sanctuary Scotland's construction of around 430 new Anderston homes is due to be completed in 2015.

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