Although I saw these new Billy Connolly murals commissioned by Glasgow City Council to commemorate the actor’s 75th birthday in my Instagram feed, I decided to walk around the city and experience them in person.
I was not alone. A whole flock of Glasgow Mural Trail visitors with bright orange backpacks turned up not long after my arrival to Dixon Street where Rogue One’s version of Jack Vettriano’s “Dr Connolly I Presume” was installed.
It was humbling to feel dwarfed in comparison to this huge 50 foot portrait of windblown Billy Connolly painted on the gable of Hootenanny bar. I tried to embrace the magnitude and scale of the mural by peeking at its fragments through the railings of the beer garden. I loved the weathered brick texture of the wall showing from underneath that worked well with the “old world” romantic feel of Rogue One’s street painting.
The second installation I visited that day was Rogue One’s Osborne Street reproduction of John Byrne’s mugshot of Billy with a 75BC-2017AD sign across his chest. And again, the way this mural was presented in situ just felt right. The tight brick grid of mass produced bricks underneath the surface matched more “modernist” nature of Byrne’s image.
The sharp rectangular frame suited the industrial nature of the building which housed the mural and its gritty neighbourhood.
I decided to photograph the Osborne Street mural through the fence of the neighbourhood car park to play on the mugshot/chest sign concept. The colours of the cars and nearby structures worked in a strange harmony with the lettering on the frame.
These murals were somewhat negatively reviewed as “unsubtle” and “mawkish” (Ha-ha! Fancy some subtle 50 foot street art, anyone?!), but I really enjoyed seeing them, as well as the other Glasgow specimens of this genre previously.