Great Clown Portraits Are Just The Beginning!!!!

Posts tagged ‘Be-Real-Son’

The Many Faces of the Great Bill Gillespie (Repost)

2013-03-03 20.50.10

I am reposting this interview with The Great Bill Gillespie which I posted back in July 2013.  I have since had the pleasure of painting his image as “Be-Real-Son” as Watercolor Clown #15 in my series and will post a follow up post to this blog post with the progression of his painting.

Today I have the pleasure of introducing you to a great clown from the Jacksonville Florida area.  He has many different faces of which he has provided photos for us to see. So let’s get to know Mr. Bill  Gillespie – A.K.A. “Toe-Knee” the Italian Clown, “Dr. OH-NO”, “The Honorable Be-Real-Son”, “Box Car Billy” and “Flowers” the clown.

Box Car Billy

1. How long have you been a clown?



I have been a clown since 1991

2. Who inspired you to become a clown?

I was inspired by a clown by the name of “Rainbow the Clown”.  I was in the navy at the time, Cecil Field Fl., and Rainbow entertained at our Squadron Christmas party.  When I found out how much she was paid … and the rest is history.  Really, I was looking for a vocation because in 1994 I would be retiring from the Navy, and since I could do magic and balloons already and there was a bigger call for clowns than there was for magicians, here I am today!

3. Where did you receive training?

I first received training from books, on how to put makeup on and do balloons, in 1991 I went to Gator Clown School here in Jacksonville, FL.  I also went to Advanced Studies put on by “Buttons” McBride , and Advanced Studies on the Road.  I also attended conventions that taught me a lot and other clown schools.  The main school that launched my money making was “Comedy College” in Norfolk VA – it was more about marketing and it taught me an enormous amount.

4.  What people do you give credit to in helping you advance your art in clowning? 

I was helped by “Bubba” the Clown of Orange Park FL, “Freckles” of Jacksonville, Mr. “G” (Jim Green) of Orange Park, FL, “Mama” clown of Ft. Lauderdale, “Blumbo” of Orlando FL, and “Buttons” as you already mentioned – these were my mentors.  There were many others that helped at the South East Clown Convention also that helped shape my characters, and to anyone I have forgot, forgive me, I Love You and keep on Bumping a Nose!

I owe the most to my wife Cindy, without our spouses we wouldn’t even be able to thrive in our art!  Perhaps not as a Mentor but as my biggest supporter!

5. Are you involved with any clown organizations?

I am mainly involved with the Gator Clowns of Jacksonville,( I am the President.

Also, I am involved with Wolfson Childrens hospital, we have a clown group there, I have been going there for 17 years.

I am also a member of World Clown Association( (

Clowns of America International  ( (

6. How do you feel your clown has evolved over time? How did you settle on the particular style and design of your clown or the personality you try to project as a clown?

I have developed my many characters over time, through a “feeling.”  My birthday party clown “Toe-Knee” was developed as a big 9 year old kid, kid friendly and silly.  My Chinese character “Be-Real-Son” because I have always since a child loved oriental things… the art, the people, the food, everything.  Be-Real-Son being without a doubt the funniest, drove me to continue to develop it to the point of everyone loving the character.  My other characters I have, Dr. Oh-No was developed when I first started with Wolfson Childrens Hospital, as a hospital clown, looking somewhat like a doctor, with a lab coat and “SCRUBS” hair cover.  I settled on Toe-Knee as a birthday party clown because he is definitely loved by the kids, children don’t really think Be-Real-Son is as funny as do adults.  I settled on Be-Real-Son for clown competition and adults because he wins because he is so funny, and unique.   Also, with Be-Real-Son, once I am in face I become a different person, my inner Chinese takes over.

7. I have learned a little more about clowns and I know there are different types of clowns, What kind of clown are you and what do you feel is your clowns most interesting characteristic?

Two Typestoe_knee_itallian_clown

1st – European Auguste – Just a fun loving jolly happy clown “Toe-Knee”

2nd – Character Clown – My Chinese character “Be-Real-Son.”  Most interesting is everything about him, his looks- Funny, his actions – Funny, just a funny funny goofy looking clown.



8. Have you ever worked in a Circus and if so which ones?

Worked in a Circus – NO, worked at a circus Yes.  I was vacationing in Budapest.  They have the largest in door circus in Europe there.  I was with a friend who was also a clown and we got permission to entertain with balloons, (pre-show) .  It was an experience to entertain somewhere where we didn’t speak the language and they didn’t speak ours.  We met the main character of the circus, a clown from Italy who lived there during the season and then went home to Italy in the off season.  It was fun.

9. What kind of functions are you hired for example: conventions, parties…

100_0942Mainly birthday parties for children, that is the bread and butter in my area.  I do also get hired for conventions and other events. The highest paying event was an event I did for CXS railroad.  They wanted 15 clowns to do face painting and balloons.  The event was in Waycross GA, they were christening a new locomotive and there was a Congressman and other dignitaries there.  Alot of people were there.  All 15 clowns were there for 5 hours – they paid 12 thousand dollars for us to be there – a nice pay day!

10. Do you have bits that are standard in the clown world or do you create your own acts?  

308518_272880542731087_100000274304348_1078261_1050387961_n[1]My acts with Toe-Knee are a mix of different magic performed in a way that is unique to me.  Now, Be-Real-Son – everything he does is unique because he is unique.  I get ideas when I am in character that I don’t get when I’m not.  It is very weird, I become a complete different person as a Chinese Clown.

11. Do you use props?  Yes

11A. If so did you make them yourself?  

I don’t make them, I may change them to fit my character tho.

12. If you are in a parade do you ride anything? Bike, Unicycle, Clown car?

I ride a bike.  I sent you a photo of me on one of my bikes.  I also bring my daschund dog with me, the people love her.  Once they see my dog, they take photos of her, not me.  Again, Be-Real-Son does parades, everyone loves the silly Chinese Clown.

Riding the bike in the parade

Riding the bike in the parade

13. Is there video we can watch of you on the web acting as a clown for us to enjoy?  yes

Toe Knee the Clown making a reindeer out of balloon

Toe Knee

Mr. Bill  the magician video

Here are Bill Gillespies Web sites

If you happen to be in the Jacksonville area and you need a great clown – call Bill Gillespie!

Art Prints

I hope you have enjoyed this post about another wonderful clown.  Please follow his links and read more about him on his web page.

Until next time. Happy Clowning!

Thanks to Bill for all his help in creating this blog.

Patty Sue O’Hair – Vicknair Clown artist to the world

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Watercolor Clown #15 – Bill Gillespie

2013-03-03 20.50.10

Hello Fellow Clown Lovers,

Clowns – I love them!  I love to paint bright, colorful, happy images and clowns fit right in with that.

Info about myself and the clown portrayed here in this blog will be at the bottom for not let’s get to the painting….

Watercolor Clown #15 –

 Bill Gillespie AKA “Be-Real-Son”

Original SOLD

I have made a great friend in Bill  and it was a joy to work on this painting. Bill has also been kind enough to allow me the pleasure of interviewing him for this blog.   So look for the post to get to know more about this amazing clown!

I like to take pictures along the way as I paint so you can see the creation from start to finish.  Enjoy!  Leave me a note if you like the painting.












Bill Finished

Watercolor Clown #15 lrg_PreSharpen_1
Art Prints

About the Artist:

I have painted clowns for several years.  Until recently I focused on painting them in Acrylics on canvas, but I have renewed my love of Watercolor and I am currently working on a series of paintings that incorporates great clowns (most of whom I have made friends with on Facebook) and watercolor on small affordable 9 x 12 watercolor paintings. My goal is to create 75 watercolor clowns in the 9 X 12 size.  I hope to sell thru Facebook or directly to the buyer and hopefully sell a few to the proud clown collectors out in  the world.

Each image will be on Canson 140 LB  Watercolor paper 9 X 12.  Each image will be mailed in a document mailer with a certificate of authenticity. Let me know if your interested or if you have a clown image for me to consider for the series.

Why I paint Clowns: For the record I do paint other things besides clowns but I have a passion and a love for clowns.  I paint my clown images with pride.  Many of the clowns I have met in person, or I am friends with on Facebook.  Some I have sought out because I came across a photo I liked. Others have found out about my work through their friends and came to me.  Each image is personally vetted.  I am looking for a certain look or feel from my paintings.  Not every image presented to me is right for a painting.

I am a skilled artist. I paint both in acrylic and watercolor. Neither of these mediums are easy or forgiving (especially watercolor). I have spent 40 years perfecting my skill. The fact that, I as an artist choose to paint some of the sweetest, funniest, most colorful, and always happy portraits you will ever find anywhere, is a matter of personal choice.

I realize that not everyone will get it or be on board with what I do. I realize there is a select market for my work. I am ok with this. I have faith that the clown and circus industry will surround me with love and laughter and purchase my paintings and prints. This is a very select market to sell to – I get it. You either love clowns or you don’t. I have been working for years to earn the trust of my clown friends and I will do my best to depict their clown persona, so that those who have had the pleasure of interacting with that clown in the past can remember and cherish those memories every time they look at one of my prints or paintings.

I am striving to be the best artist who paints clowns, I am following on the heels of Jim Howle (whom I have met and truly love) and Red Skelton (whom I wish I had met) I am not comparing my skill to theirs, but those are who I relate to.  … It is an honor to truly depict the magic of a clown, to catch the sparkle in the eye that has delighted thousands of children. If you’re good to the clown world they will be good to you.  Sincerely Patty Sue O’Hair – Vicknair.

Not for Commercial Use

Copyright 2014 Patty Sue O’Hair- Vicknair Artist PSOVART

Click below for the direct Zazzle link to Bill’s page to buy this painting on various products.

Click her to be taken to a great merchandise page featuring Bill’s image on Zazzle

Prints are available direct from the artist.

For those of you interested in any of the clown watercolor painting prints. There are 2 ways to get prints.
1. I will post the image on several sites, with links found on my page associated with the clown image. Also there are links from my page directly to the pages where all my art can be found for prints. All you do is choose the one you want, the size, how you want it printed (canvas, paper, etc.) and pay for it they will ship it to you. Here are some sites I am on. (fine art prints, cards, phone cases) (posters, t-shirts, mugs, mouse pads, etc…) and you can order originals or prints from here. Email me direct at or call me direct at 479-601-5277

2. You can buy direct from me. I will order a print from my printer and provide a signed Certificate of Authenticity along with signing the painting. Your cost will be determined by the size you want + shipping to your location.
9 X 12 = $45.00
11 x 14 = $65.00
16 X 20 = $116.00
Each clown I paint receives a share of the proceeds, so rest assured I am selling these images with their blessing. If interested either message me on Facebook or email me at we can handle the transaction by Paypal

Until next time. Happy Clowning!

Patty Sue O’Hair – Vicknair Clown artist to the world

Across the top of this blog you will find pages dedicated to my art.  Please take a few minutes to look them over.

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Copyright on all images of this painting and the painting itself belong to the artist PSOVART Patty Sue O’Hair – Vicknair 2015

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Follow me on Facebook to watch each clown being created.

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