Glasgow has just finished hosting The Homeless World Cup, which took place on George Square over seven days. More than 50 countries participated, touching the lives of homeless people around the world through the game of football. During the cup, a large mural appeared on Cathedral Street, gaining attention from fans as well as the general public. We had a chat with Art Pistol, the West End-based art gallery behind this and many other murals around Glasgow.
Run by a Glasgow School of Art graduate, Art Pistol started out as a pop up show and settled permanently in Cresswell Lane two years ago. The gallery has maintained strong links with Scottish art schools and aims to give the next generation of artists a space to display their work. At the moment, a Best of Scottish Art Graduates show is being exhibited in the gallery.
We went to speak to Ali, the owner, about art murals, which in recent years have become part of Glasgow’s identity, and is the inspiration for a mural trail guide available in the tourist office. Art Pistol is responsible for many of these, and has helped make the city one of the UK’s best spots for street art. It’s on the back of this that Art Pistol were asked to create a mural for the Homeless World Cup this summer.
Not surprisingly, a main challenge for mural painting is finding the right wall. Ali tells me that he is sometimes asked to decorate an existing space, but just as often, he needs to scout for a location and seek permission to use it. For him, it’s also an opportunity to transform a plain wall into an eye-catching art object, at the same time as it gives emerging artists a chance to display their work.
The creator of the Homeless World Cup mural, Rogue-One, has already reached fame as Glasgow’s best aerosol artist, and has collaborated with Art Pistol on many occasions. One of their most famous projects is the floating taxi on Mitchell Street, though the Art Pistol/Rogue-One partnership has generated many morr murals around the city.
Curious to know what’s next, we asked Ali where the next mural might be. He’s reluctant to give out details before projects have been confirmed, but jokes that it’s hard to conceal once the cherry picker and spray paint is brought out. We’ll simply have to keep an eye out for the next one.
Art Pistol’s graduate show is open until the first week of August. To see what’s included, and to learn more about their other projects, visit their website or pop into the gallery in Cresswell Lane.