The wonderful world of Glasgow street art and graffiti

A panda down an alleyway. A dalek rusting at the bottom of the Clyde.  Abstract geometry in a garden. It’s the wonderful world of Glasgow street and graffiti art.

Glasgow is famous for its modern art but its tradition of street art and public murals actually stretches back to the 1970s, when whimsical socialist-influenced murals were painted at the gable ends of houses. In the last five years street art has sprouted over the city, partly because of the 2014 Commonwealth Games and its associated cultural activities, and partly because of work and activities by artists and groups such as Rogue-one, Art Pistol, VELOCITY, Smug and Recoat. The result has been an explosion of vibrant, colourful murals and abstract art pieces across the city, created by a mix of home-grown and international artists.

Many are familiar and highly-visible but others require poking about alleyways, disused buildings, anonymous estates, residential streets and inward-looking hidden walls. Half the fun is exploring unknown areas of the city to hunt them down. In and amongst the authorised pieces are of course the fly-by-night pieces and galleries of abandoned spaces (see my previous post: The abandoned factory that became an illicit graffiti art gallery) . Their ephemeral nature means they can disappear as quickly as they appear, although usually they’re saved for posterity on the internet by the creators and by archive aficionados.

Amongst my favourites is the Parkead mural by the excellent Good Wives and Warriors. Their richly detailed piece is a celebration of Glasgow, helped by locals who contributed their ideas and memories to the project. I also love this mural partly because its was accompanied by the traditional Glasgow heckle and friendly wit. One frequent taunt was a “Have you no’ finished that yet? The Sistine Chapel was painted quicker!” from a passing bus driver.  (Read this article for an amusing and heartening insight into open air painting in East Glasgow.)

Artistic quality is not always the point, sometimes a piece’s unexpected context escapes the limited confines of the photo frame.  But hopefully this limited selection showcases the diversity and fun of Glasgow’s murals and street art. Art that have enjoyed while wandering about the city as opposed to being a full expert! More information on the works and the artists are available on the links below.

 

Further information: Glasgow graffiti and mural artists

Recoat’s Rudimentary Perfection (2011) | Recoat on Twitter

Rogue-one

Art Pistol | Art Pistol on Twitter

VELOCITY | Twitter

Smug | Facebook

Good Wives and Warriors | Zoomable image of People’s Painting

Other

Glasgow City Centre Mural trail

Brandalism, Banksy and Bastiat: advert sabotage in Glasgow

Glasgow and Scotland graffiti: online archives and collections

A whole load of Glagow and Scottish street art, graffiti and murals

Discover Glasgow: murals and graffiti

West Coast Walls

Scottish Graffiti

A Hauf Stop: street art and photos of Glasgow

 

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28 thoughts on “The wonderful world of Glasgow street art and graffiti

    • Yes and thanks for pointing that one out! I see it when I cycle into town or go to Chinatown. Like so many other pieces it so nearly made the cut but not quite. Just not enough space but it does get picked-up by some of street art sites linked above.

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  1. Thanks Alex , great pictures I walk past the George St one very day – it took me about 3 months to realise it was there! Sometimes we are oblivious to our surroundings.I also see some that I think are sponsored by Transport police on the journey between Hyndland and Charing Crosss

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    • Thanks Charlie. We do get used to our surroundings and forget to really look, especially up above us. Do that on Vincent Street and the buildings are so impressive. There are also official pieces on the approach to Central Station. Welcome to Glasgow style pieces to catch the eye of the London train. And why not!

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  2. A great post, with some amazing graffiti. I love that someone has made the effort to link the comments made while making the artwork…I did some graffiti in Manchester as part of my degree course about 500 years ago – bus drivers and taxi cab guys were the most voluble observers then, too. I wish I’d had the creative chops to do something even approaching these examples that you’ve shown.

    I, too, have been sidelined by work- it’s great to catch up again on your fabulous blog 🙂

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    • Thanks Iain! It’s a serious art business now – I remember the days when it was quite underground and cult. I think it’s long part of the establishment now but that’s no problem for me, a good piece is a good piece and you still get edgy stuff here and there. I do like those hidden away walls where people have gone to practice and hone their skills. Have a go Iain!

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  3. Pingback: home, part 1 | fouraway

  4. Hi Alex, I’m building free maps of graffiti for different cities. I’ve started doing London myself but am reaching out to others like yourself for help with other cities.

    http://www.graffitispotter.com/

    Would you have any interest in helping to do Glasgow? Or know anyone who might be?
    Any help would be much appreciated.

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    • Just spotted that walk on your blog and was admiring some of the pictures. Am pretty sure ‘View from the Clyde’ is still there and it’s on Clyde Street next to St Andrew’s Cathedral.

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