The Fine Line Between Art and Comedy

‘The Descent of Chris Tarrant Into Hellby Harry Hill, oil on board

Who knew TV Burp host Harry Hill is a bit of a don with a paint brush? His colourful oil painting are very much in tune with the comedian’s sense of humour, picking upon figures in popular culture such as Jedwood, Susan Boyle and Chris Tarrant. Of course the Royal family are prime targets too. In a recent interview with TATE ETC. Magazine, Harry revealed all about his lesser know talent as a painter.

“Painting is a hobby for me. My wife is a proper artist and tells me I’m not supposed to say that, but I’m not afraid of being looked down on. I’d love to do it for a living, but I know deep down I’m not good enough. I tend to paint on the kitchen table in front of the TV or listening to the radio late at night. That’s why my paintings are all quite small; it’s also governed by the size of the piece of wood and the table, as I usually use bits of wood that I have found. Plywood’s my favourite.

I was given a set of oil paints years ago and it took me a long time to work out how to use them. I found it frustrating how long the paint took to dry. Having never had a lesson, I was using them like watercolours – watering them down with turpentine, which gives you a very dull finish. About ten years ago I was a guest on Frank Skinner’s chat show and my reward was a box of quick-drying oil paints, which changed the whole thing.

Now I can do a bit of painting, leave it on the radiator overnight and it’s dry by the morning. I tried acrylics, but I like the smell of the oil paint. I use art as a form of occupational therapy. You can switch off when you’re painting, all you think about is the job in hand. I’d recommend it to workaholics everywhere.”

Read the rest of this interview on TATE ETC.

‘The Battling Wild Stallions of UK’, by Harry Hill, oil on board

‘Parker Bowles-Windsor’s Birthday Treat’ by Harry Hill, oil on board

‘Susan Boyle’ by Harry Hill, oil on board

See more work by Harry Hill


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