Scotland Day 6 – Glasgow Street Art

The itinerary had the afternoon as our leisure time – when we could do our own thing. I had previously booked a walking tour of the murals and street art of Glasgow. The city is famous for its street art. The tour was led by an artist who not only talked about the artists but explained how the culture evolved. It’s a long post because we covered a lot of art.

I had some time to sight see and have lunch before the tour. I had seen the Glasgow Central Train station sign from the bus earlier. I made my way to it to see the inside. You can see how eye catching this is – steel and glass. The same for the interior.

Built in 1879, it soon became too small. Rebuilt between 1901 and 1905 with it crossing over Argyle Street as seen today. It is a protected historic building.

Over 38 million people use it annually making it the 12th busiest station in the United Kingdom. On Glasgow’s “Doors Open Day” there are tours that take you to the roof, catacombs and vaults.

The station connects to the Glasgow Central Hotel. Here is the roof of the station attached to the hotel. I asked one of the security guys about the Champagne Bar. He shook his head and said very expensive.

I made my way to this magnificent building for my lunch. I decided to go Italian at Sugo Pasta. A salad, spinach/Ricotta ravioli and Chianti. I was ready for my tour.

Across the street was another SMUG mural titled “Wind Power”

As I left the restaurant, in front of me were all these dogs lined up. The line went from Sugo Pasta up to a restaurant called Revolution.

I met our tour guide and asked him about the line up of dogs. He said the once a month, Revolution has a dog day where you can bring your dog in for lunch. I can only imagine what the atmosphere was like. They probably only let a few in at a time which is why there is a line up.

Our first mural on the tour was another SMUG, aka Sam Bates. You can see the signature in the jewelry around her neck. SMUG is very popular and has a number of commissions around the city. The tour guide did offer for someone to stand under the fingers, as if she is lifting you up. I should have taken him up on it. Would have been a keeper photo.

SMUG paints in a realism style. The spot on her leg is where the sun was shining when he came to scope out the surface. He sketches the drawing out then fills in one colour at a time. The painting is based on the move “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids”.

Next up is a mural from 2013 so it’s a bit worn. The artist is Rogue One entitled “Floating Taxi”. It’s on a very narrow cobble street so you have to watch your footing and cars. Also it’s been tagged by other artists. Rogue One, whose name is Bobby McNamara, is famous all over Europe. Floating Taxi was recreated for London’s Heathrow Airport, one of only 4 artists.

One thing our guide pointed out about official street art are the two “Ps” – permission and paid for it. One artist who may or may not have permission is Bansky. We were led under the Glasgow Central Station to this wall of brick to an old Bansky. Just the name remains of this 20 year old mural. The faint image is a man with two pistols.

Across the street from the Bansky is a Tribute to The Arches nightclub – by James Klinge or Klingatron. He’s often referred to as Glasgow’s Bansky. The traffic going by was creating echoes which made it difficult to hear. These are different music artists that are attributed to the club. I gather The Arches nightclub was an iconic venue.

You can see the detail of the denim and tattoos. They were done from stencils from 2019 to 2020.

The dribbles coming down his shoulder are deliberate. Gives is a bit on an edge.

Disrespect for other’s work or the culture can result in a reprimand. Below Blue tagged the stone. He was mouthing off online. Another artist, instead of tagging over, simply put a line through it. It’s the ultimate disrespect on another’s work.

The red and white tag of Mole. But another artist has incorporated a soother into the tag, effectively calling Mole a baby. The communication of street artists is subtle – NOT.

We headed down to the River Clyde. On the way there was one of three Sir Billy Connolly murals. Connolly is a Scottish actor, comic, artist and musician. For his 75th birthday, the city commissioned 3 – 50 foot murals. The murals were done by Rogue One and Art Pistol from portraits already done. Below is the portrait “Dr. Connolly, I Presume” by Jack Vettriano

The original portraits can be seen in the People’s Palace which I posted about earlier. This one, entitled Billy Connolly, has the marker 75BC-2017AD, which is 75 Billy Connolly and the year he turned 75. The quote around the frame is – “Fling a chucky in the watter see the baggy minnies scatter“. The quote is from an old song that Billy used to sing.

We were now standing on the Custom House Quay by the River Clyde. Saw my first and only Scottish pug. Needless to say, had to stop her and say hello. Told her I was from Canada and missed my 3 pugs. She totally understood.

Down here there is a “free wall”. Artists can paint without fear of legal repercussions. Also, people come down to meet the artists, ask questions and comment on their work. Usually the artist is working late at night or early in the morning. Works by OBE and DBA. Don’t know what either OBE or DBA stands for. They worked in tandem to create the cat and dog image.

The Plaque Mask by CROZE aka mackcolours. Later I would see another Mack Colours of an eagle. He has a website for his artwork https://mackcolours.uk/

Someone tagged this one by incorporating the Irish flag into Sponge Bob.

MUL is Alex Mulholland, based in Newcastle Upon Tyne. He used the heart and legs for a Free Brittney art piece. His website https://www.mul-draws.com/

DBA is a female artist. There are fewer woman street artists in Glasgow than male artists. According to the guide, DBA has started working with eyes.

The jellyfish is by an artist called Negative Destination. It is an old piece by him. He started out doing cacti then progressed to fruits. As our guide pointed out, the free wall and other street locations allow you to see the early works of an artist and watch how they develop. https://www.instagram.com/negativedestination/

The candle was a one off creation by Negative Destination and was well aware of the its phallic nature

We came to an important place in the street art scene – The Cultha Bar or Cultha Vaults. In 2013, a police helicopter crashed into the pub killing all three pilots and 7 patrons in the pub. It reopened in 2015. The construction wall was used to paint murals. Below is the current selection with a Ukrainian flag painted on the side of the building. On the COVID mask is the Cultha Trust logo which was setup to help the families of the victims of the helicopter crash.

The first mural was after the crash and focused on people who had been associated with the Cultha pub.

The top mural is a tribute to Scottish architect Charles Rennie Macintosh, to mark the 150th birthday. It was done by Rogue One.

Coll Hamilton’s self-portrait. He is an artist who explores the people and places of Glasgow.https://www.artpistol.co.uk/artists/coll-hamilton

The Cultha murals focus on portraits. The faces are in keeping with the new Glasgow tagline – People Make Glasgow. The woman with the shiny glasses was done by Rogue one. It is supposed to give the illusion that she is sitting there having a pint with you.

The one on the right is The Pixelated Man by Michelle Campbell. Each pixel is made of a different colour. Although the naked eye blends the colours and you can see a man, if you try to take a photo it turns out like you see here.

There was a lot of traffic going by and missed what the guide was saying about these.

I told the two guys on the right that I would Photoshop them out of the picture.

There was a closed driveway with a wall covering the entrance. However a hole had been punched in the centre. Our guide told us to peak through the hole. There was a space cactus by Negative Destination

We looked down at a sidewalk curb and there were some tiles set in the concrete. In one was a tiny, Bansky like man.

Just off Argyle Street is the Spaceman. What stands out is the blending of colours on the space helmet.

The older version without the tag and with the landscape included.

Here is a piece called “Falling In Love” by The Rebel Bear. No one knows who The Rebel Bear is but our guide did find out it is a man. Also, you can see it is on the side of an apartment building yet no one recalls it being painted there. When he spoke with the media, he would wear a bear costume.

He has been called Scotland’s Bansky because of his mysterious ways. One of his famous ones is this

This mural was created for the Climate Change Conference in Glasgow. Realizing there were many indigenous cultures that were not invited, this mural was to honour their absence. Along the boards at sidewalk level is a poem that goes with the piece.

After the tour I stopped for a pint at Brewdog. I watched the seagull help himself for a meal. He bumped into a glass which rolled off the table and smashed on the patio. This scared him a bit so he took his sandwich down to the sidewalk. Next thing you know, another gull comes down and a vicious battle ensued.

I headed back to the hotel. On my way I noticed a cat mural. Turns out it is another by Rogue Oner called “Crazy Cat Lady”. You can see the cat lady’s feet and slippers.

Well I was certainly ready for dinner. We had a pre-defined menu and I chose the braised beef. The name of the hotel restaurant was called Brisket so that was a good sign. Sure enough, unlike the rocks that were served at the Scottish show, this beef was perfection.

2 comments

  1. What gorgeous art! This is exactly what I’d eat up too when travelling. Thank you so much for sharing, Larry!

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