A creative mind cannot help but manifest its creativity in many ways. The Beatles were one of the greatest bands of
all time because of the limitless creativity of its four members. In this e-book I will explore the various ways each member of
The Beatles has exercised his creativity away from music.
Always an avid pop art and postcard collector, Ringo Starr began experimenting with computer art in the late
nineties. He says it gave him something to do while he was touring and staying in hotels on the road. All of Ringo’s art
proceeds go to benefit the Lotus US Foundation Charity.
George Harrison first dabbled in filmmaking by producing a film of the Concert for Bangladesh, which he organized
in 1971. Theatrical proceeds as well as sales of the DVDs and CDs of the concert continue to benefit the George Harrison
Fund for UNICEF. He later set up a British film production company called Handmade Films with business partner Denis
O’Brien. It was originally formed to produce the Monty Python film Life of Brian, and is still producing films today.
In 1982 Paul McCartney, a longtime fine art collector, decided to begin to paint. He has since been a very prolific
artist and has published a book of his paintings. Paul has also been involved in drawing characters for animated shorts and
says that it has been his dream since the sixties to do an animated feature film. Proceeds for Paul McCartney’s art sales are
currently going to New York’s Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and Britain’s Garland Appeal for Breast Cancer
Research. In the past proceeds from his work have been donated to various children’s charities and art education.
Art was John Lennon’s first love. He began drawing long before he had a guitar, then attended the Liverpool Art
Institute for three years (1957-60) before the Beatles became a full-time occupation. At the time of his death, John had
saved and preserved several hundred drawings that he considered important, including pictures he drew for his son,
Sean. I had the great opportunity to view an exhibit of John & Yoko’s work at the Peace Museum in Chicago (of which
Yoko is a board member) in 1984. In 1986 Yoko Ono, acting for the John Lennon Estate, began releasing some of the most
meaningful drawings for limited editions and merchandising, with the goal of re-establishing John Lennon as an important
artist of his time. All of Lennon’s drawings were in black and white: many have had color added to them by Yoko for
merchandising purposes. A part of all proceeds are donated to Feed the Children and various smaller children’s charities
around the world.
“I’ve actually been painting for the last, well, since about 1990 really, but
that was with acrylic . . . But this is just purely computer . . . it started on tour,
when I was on tour with nothing better to do, sitting in all those different hotel
rooms and (I) got the computer out and found this program, a painting program,
and that’s how it started. I started actually just doing sort of design, you know,
and then I did the first set with the mouse. It’s very hard to draw with the mouse.
And then I got a drawing pad, you know, a slate . . . an electronic one.”
“They’re called my people
actually. They’re all heads.”
Hold Me Whot 50
Face and Flowers
Help Night Boy OOO ManTwo
No, No, No
Chef Alamode Krayzee
As East Pakistan struggled to become the separate state of Bangladesh during
the Bangladesh Liberation War, the tremendous political and military turmoil and the
1971 Bangladesh atrocities led to a massive refugee problem in India. This problem
was compounded by the 1970 Bhola cyclone, bringing torrential rains causing
devastating floods and threatening a humanitarian disaster.
Bengali musician Ravi Shankar consulted his friend George Harrison on providing
help to the situation. Within 6 weeks George had persuaded his friends to join him in
a large concert at Madison Square Garden. The film, released in 1972, and re-issued
in 2005 on DVD with new material, combined images from both shows with George
Harrison’s preference of the performances of the songs.
The opening of the film features
footage from a press conference to
announce the concert with Harrison
and Shankar. Harrison is asked by
a reporter: “With all the enormous
problems in the world, how did you
happen to choose this one to do
“Because I was asked by a friend
if I would help, you know, that’s all,”
was George’s reply.
Producer George Harrison with Bob Dylan
Monty Python’s The Life of Brian would not have been made without George Harrison, who set up Handmade Films to help fund it
after the subject matter scared off the original backers, EMI Films, and particularly the infamous Lord Bernard Delfont.
Terry Gilliam later said, “They pulled out on the Thursday. The crew was supposed to be leaving on the Saturday. Disastrous. It
was because they read the script... finally.”
As a result, the very last words in the film are: “We’ll never make our money
back on this one, Bernard”, teasing Delfont for his lack of faith in the project.
Executive Producer George Harrison shown with John
Cleese in a cameo appearance in The Life of Brian.
Some of the other films executive-produced
by George Harrison...
“ I don’t think there is any great heroic
act in going in slavishly every day and
saying, ‘I must do this.’ So what I find is that
I do it when I am inspired. And that’s how I
can combine it with music. Some days the
inspiration is a musical one and other days it
has just got to be painting.”
— Paul McCartney
Paul posing in front of Big
Heart, a brightly coloured
painting of a heart he
created in 1999, after
meeting Heather Mills.
“I’d been itching to apply paint to a surface, and I decided life begins at 40, so let’s do something’’ — Paul McCartney
“A couple of people who have looked at my
book singled this one out, a couple of women
who said that is the picture they would like, and I
am not sure why but I like it. This is Linda relax-
ing in my room at home where I have the piano,
and she is sitting on the couch and she was in
yellow. So I made everything yellow. The piano
isn’t really yellow, but I just thought it would be
nice. Her hair was yellow, her blouse was yellow,
so I made them all yellow. So it became a very
yellow picture. It didn’t need brown or any of
their real colors. This is interesting because this
little stool here, this little piece here, was Rene
Magritte’s. That was in a sale of the contents of
his studio, and in this little thing here are his
charcoals and his drawing pens and pencils
exactly as he left them, including his spectacles.
Maybe it was the atmosphere they liked. It’s very
peaceful. I enjoyed making it. It is a very typical
pose of Linda’s: the legs — this foot is slightly
strange, but I like it — this shoe.”
Yellow Linda With Piano
The Queen getting a joke
Sherlock Lennon, mid-1960’s
Biggest Fan. Power to the People
“If art were to redeem man, it could do so only
by saving him from the seriousness of life, and
restoring him to an unexpected boyishness.”
“Bag One” was a series of fourteen drawings given to Yoko Ono as a wedding gift in 1969. A London gallery
that showed the “Bag One” lithographs, including Lennon’s suggestive drawings of himself with Yoko, was
raided and charged with obscenity in 1970.
“Bed-In For Peace,” 1969.
“Every now and then, I discover a drawing in the pages of a book that he was
reading, kind of like a quick ad-lib.
“I have no idea how many drawings there are. I’ve never done a definite
catalog. Sketching was like John’s security blanket. The guitar was as well. He
was always strumming, but when he wasn’t playing the guitar, he was drawing.
Guitar and pen.”
— Yoko Ono Lennon
Baby Grand, 1974
In Greenwich Village in 1972.
All images contained in this e-book are available on the following public websites:
This e-book is solely intended for use in LSC 431 at the University of Illinois at
Springfield. All pages contain an invisible watermark prohibiting printing or copying in