“One of the most multifaceted visionary talents alive,” is how the London Literature Festival organisers described one of the most, if not the most multifaceted visionary talents alive, the one and only Terrance Vance Gilliam, who appeared for the one-off Inside The Head Of Terry Gilliam evening at the Royal Festival Hall this week. The man, who apparently has the nickname ‘Captain Chaos’ and first found fame as a member of the surreal cult comedy troupe Monty Python before creating 12 memorable feature films has also been labelled ‘half genius, half madman.’ Jeff Bridges, who has appeared in several of Terry’s films has described him as “an ‘ancient child’…’child’ because he has retained the optimism, playfullness and bewilderment of a kid and ‘ancient’ because there is a timeless, wizard vibe about him.”
I did this quick portrait of Terry, but it’s a bit daunting giving a fellow artist a drawing, especially one of his stature. Anyway I do have one thing in common, we are both the same height, physically that is. He once said he used to have this reoccurring dream that he was flying – not a high flyer, but darting about, close to the ground, ‘below the radar’ as he put it. I know all about keeping low. When he eventually exited through the stage door, or as The Royal Festival Hall people call it, the ‘Artist’s Entrance’, there were a few loyal disciples left to greet him. When I showed him my sketch, he asked “Did you do that?” A number of possible answers in anticipation of a number of possible responses flashed through my head, so I simply, almost apologitically said “guilty”…I mean, “yes.” To which he said, ” I look pretty good, thank you,” and duely signed it.