Merchant City and The Trongate Areas
For the first of my trails, I thought I would start in the heart of the city in George Square, it’s where my bus stop is, I then followed the route shown below.
An interactive map is available here, which will allow you to see exactly where each piece is located.
Leaving George Square behind, I headed along George Street where I quickly came upon the first of the images. The “hip-hop marionettes” at the corner of John Street was created by prolific Glasgow artist Bobby McNamara, otherwise known as Rogue One, working in collaboration with Art Pistol Projects. This piece was inspired by the Beastie Boys and Run-DMC. Unfortunately, the building was demolished in December 2018 as part of the city’s regeneration.
Continuing along George Street I arrived at Strathclyde University and encountered the “Wonderwall”, almost 200 metres of artwork celebrating the people of the university and their achievements. This series of murals created by Rogue One and EJEK, again working with Art Pistol Projects, includes three 7 storey building gables showing scenes like the land ship used to teach navigation, an equatorial telescope and a university lecture room. There also many smaller touches, such as the books at the entrance to the building, the tightrope walker on the handrail and the gymnastics team on the building wall on North Portland Street.
Leaving the University behind, heading towards the High street, Smug’s spectacular, photorealistic piece of work, St Enoch and Child is a fitting end to a street full of artwork. Completed in 2018 this piece complements his St Mungo around the corner on High Street near the Barony Hall.
Sam Bates known as ‘Smug’ is an Australian street artist based in Glasgow. He has quickly become one of the most talented street artists around. His high-quality murals, seen around the world, demonstrate a photorealistic style and a careful and precise attitude to his work.
Returning down High Street and turning into Ingram Street leads you to another of Smug’s work, “Glasgow’s Fellow Residents “ which shows the animals that can be found in the city’s parks and surrounding areas. The animals are shown in what looks like holes in the walls of the building.
Walking down Candleriggs from Ingram Street to Wilson Street led me to one of the large murals created by Australian artist Guido van Helten for the 2014 Commonwealth Games. The one here depicting Scottish Badminton player, Kieran Merilees really captures the energy of the game. Three other 2018 murals by Guido can be found at the Partick Railway Station area.
Carrying on down Candleriggs to Trongate it was a short walk to Glasgow Cross where the first of the 3 Billy Connolly murals can be found on the Gallowgate at the corner of Watson Street. This piece by Rachel Maclean is a photo collage type of work and I must admit that it’s not one of my favourites. Returning to the Cross it’s hard to miss Barrowland Park, a small city space with a walkway highlighting the many bands that have played at the legendary venue. A quick glance to the left as you pass MacKinnon’s Bar, where 2 of Tennent’s worthies are shown hanging around.
From Glasgow Cross heading down Saltmarket, a turn into St Andrews Street at the Fish Plaice, they have a nice wee fish related mural, led me to a new work by James Klinge (James used to use the name Klingatron). This work continues James’ new direction in creating portraiture style murals and is named “Study of a Woman in Black (2), returning to Saltmarket and on to its corner with the Bridgegate showed me James’ earlier “Study of a Woman in Black”.
Cutting through the King Street Car Park heading towards Osborne Street put me in the correct place to see John Byrne’s Billy Connolly painted by Rogue One, from there it was easy to pop into New Wynd to see Glasgow’s Spaceman, a pop art, graphic novel styled work by Recoat and Ali Wylie.
I felt I had walked enough for the day and deserved a little refreshment, it was just a short walk down Stockwell Street to the Clyde side where the Clutha can be found with Rogue One’s depiction of local worthies plus his new work showcasing Charles Rennie Macintosh, they serve a good pint too, and since it was a Saturday, there was also a good live band.
The original boards around the Clutha Vaults were becoming quite sad and worn looking so a decision was taken to remove and replace them with some new boards and artworks which have certainly brightened up that corner of the city.