Glasgow Mural Trail. February 2018
Helen Rose Outdoor Diary
Every two weeks I am out walking with the Wednesday Wanderers, a part of the Bearsden and Milngavie Ramblers. Usually we are out in the country but recently we did an urban walk to look at the Glasgow City Centre Mural Trail. Their website: www.glasgowcitycentrestrategy.com/project/city-centre-murals is well worth a visit as it gives information on the murals and a short video. The Mural Trail features a diverse range of arts set within one easy walking area. The huge range of artwork on display has something to suit all tastes – conservative to radical, quirky to bizarre. The murals have been produced on buildings, vacant shop units, and on hoardings around vacant land. The first art work was produced in 2008 and this portfolio of completed works has expanded since. We only toured the City Centre and walked a distance of five miles. There are also murals further out and many depict the sports in the Commonwealth Games that were held in Glasgow in 2014.
Spearheaded by the City Centre Regeneration team within Glasgow City Council as part of its City Centre Strategy, local artists are encouraged to get involved in the project to help generate local art activity. The artworks have more recently become unique pieces of art in their own right and have generated positive public and business feedback while creating a striking area feature that enhances the city Centre environment. Some of the artworks are temporary and are installed to alleviate against the economic downturn and environmental degradation. Glasgow is proud of its local artists and their inspirational, colourful, installations. There is a printed booklet available in Public Buildings but they disappear quickly so popular is this trail.
As usual, we met at a coffee shop, this time in Argyle Street which is one of the main shopping areas in the City Centre and during the tour we saw around 18 murals. I had two favourites and I will highlight these during our virtual walk around the trail. The first mural we saw was Hip Hop Marionettes on a gable end wall near George Square. This was on brick so had a different textual look to it. The artist Rogue-One took his inspiration from a Beastie Boys cover and Run DMC picture. I was amazed at these murals given their size, with some over 50 feet high and working with spray can paint from scaffolding.
We walked along George Street past the Wonder Wall at Strathclyde University. This mural includes many scientific achievements including the Dansken Equatorial Telescope once used to teach nautical Astronomy. We continued along to High Street to see the St. Mungo mural painted by Smug, one of my favourites. It was originally untitled but called St. Mungo after the patron saint of Glasgow Mungo’s four religious miracles represented in the city’s coat of arms.
We continued through the old part of the city seeing various smaller murals and reached the River Clyde where there is a mural by Rogue-One and Ejek called Clutha at the side of the Clutha Vaults. On 29 November 2013, a police helicopter crashed into the Clutha Vaults, crewed by a civilian pilot and two police officers. Ten people died as a result of the accident: all three who were on board the helicopter, six on the ground, and another person who died two weeks later. The Clutha Vaults remained closed until July 2015. The mural pays homage to the history of the area, as well as celebrating a variety of personalities who visited this iconic location, famous for its atmosphere and live music.
Glasgow School of Art.
Along the Clyde Walkway and into town where we saw the Jack Vettriano mural of Sir Billy Connolly titled Dr. Connolly, I Presume. Crossing Argyle Street, we came to another of my favourite murals, Honey I shrunk the Kids, I’m Sorry! by Smug. A huge piece of photo-realistic street art decorating a gable end. The walk continued along Argyle Street and up to Charing Cross where there were murals on the over motorway walkway parapets very near to the Art School at Garnethill The Glasgow School of Art is famous for its alumni including Charles Rennie Mackintosh.
Guess the Musician?
The last mural was on a lane near Sauchiehall Street called The Musician. We could not guess who the musician was despite many guesses from the group. It is a very cheeky self-portrait by Rogue One aka Bobby McNamara drawing upon the influences of the local live music scene, and helping add some colour and creativity to the city’s resurgent lanes. This is only a taste of the murals on offer to view and they will change with city redevelopment. It was a fascinating tour as often you would not notice this art work when in town. Congratulations to Glasgow City Council for the initiative in creating an outdoor art gallery. Once again, thanks again to the Gang of Four for organising the walk.
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