Comedian Red Skelton (1913-1997) always considered himself a clown rather than a comic. He believed his life’s work was to make people laugh so he wanted to be known as a clown because he defined it as being able to do everything.
In 1943, Skelton began producing artwork but did it privately for many years. He said he was inspired to try his hand at painting after visiting a large Chicago department store that had various paintings on display.
Skelton’s artwork of clowns remained a hobby until 1964 when his second wife Georgia, a former art student, persuaded him to have his first public showing of his work at the Sands hotel in Las Vegas where he was performing.
Skelton believed painting was an asset to his comedy work as it helped him to better visualize the imaginary props he used in his pantomime routines.
When asked why his artwork focused on clowns, he first said, “I don’t know why it’s always clowns.” After thinking a moment he continued by saying. “No, that’s not true. I do know why. I just don’t feel like thinking about it.”