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Rolf Harris

November 2010

What are the pieces you’ll are bringing to Nottingham tomorrow?
It’s a selection of prints and originals. One of them is called Mending The Nets, which is from a photograph I took of a guy mending a fishing net, sitting cross-legged on the deck of a boat in Greece. There’s a print of Elvis entertaining, a tiger escaping across a river from a fire, a garden across the Thames...

You paint more than anything else these days?
Yes, I’m painting all the time. I started at half past six this morning. I’m working on a huge one of a tiger and a couple of row boats on a lovely flat, blue chunk of water. They’re all from photographs that I’ve taken or that I’ve seen in magazines.

Five years ago you painted a portrait of the Queen. What was she likes as a model?
Wonderful. She chatted away to me as if I was an old friend. She was delightful.

Were you worried she wouldn’t like it?
The worry was, could I do a likeness? If you don’t get the likeness you’re dead in the water. I only had two sittings with her and as she left the second one she said ‘It’s a very friendly painting.’ I took that as a pat on the back.

I saw you years ago at Rock City and last summer you played Glastonbury. You still enjoy being a rock star even at the age of 80?
I bloody do, yeah. It’s magic. It keeps you young. Glastonbury was amazing. I now have the record for the highest number of people seeing an opening show on the main stage. That was 130,000 and they sang every word of every song with me.
It was those early shows, like the one at Rock City, that gave me the confidence to approach Glastonbury and say ‘how about putting me on?’

Are you much of a rock star?
I’m totally non-rock. The closest I get to rock ‘n’ roll is when I do Stairway To Heaven, which was a spoof I was asked to do for a television show in Australia.

Has The Queen ever turned up at one of your gigs?
I don’t think so, no (laughs). It would be nice, wouldn’t it?

There’s no sign of you retiring.
No. I equate retiring with lying down and dying. Why would you stop doing something that you love so much?

Rolf Harris will be at the Whitewall Gallery, Flying Horse Walk, tomorrow from 12 to 1.30pm. His collection of limited edition prints, called A Life In Art, can be viewed at

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