Rogue One on Glasgow's stunning street art scene
We catch up with Glasgow mural artist Rogue One to learn about the city's street art scene as his new works pops up in Glasgow and Aberdeen
Rogue One, aka Bobby McNamara, first became involved with street art in the classic way. “Well, it used to be the classic way,” he laughs, “it’s changed a lot with modernization. A lot of kids get into it through art school nowadays, but my way into street art was graffiti. Then from graffiti, because I had a strong interest in art it just developed more and more artistically until I started getting commissioned work from venues and pubs… then that just developed towards murals.”
Fast-forward to the present day, and you’ll find outdoor artworks with the Rogue One signature all over Glasgow as just one element of the city’s thriving street art scene. Large scale murals can be found across the city, all mapped by an extensive city centre mural trail, and Glasgow also hosts major events like SWG3’s Yardworks festival, one of the largest street art and graffiti events in Europe.
The city’s reputation for artistic innovation extends to the street art scene, where artists and the wider scene have dived headfirst where other Scottish cities haven’t. “Glasgow’s the largest [Scottish] city and a big hub for culture,” Bobby says, “and perhaps Glasgow reaches towards these cultures of other countries in America and around Europe more than other cities. Because of that, maybe they’re the first to follow up on popular things that are happening.”
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Glasgow does look forward, but it also has a keen sense of itself. Some of the city’s most famous faces are depicted on building ends and lanes across Glasgow, but lots of the work on display highlights everyday people. Smug’s reinterpretation of St Mungo on the High Street looks like a regular guy, but blown up super-size and with incredible attention to detail, while Conzo and Glöbel’s Freddo mural turned the classic playground snack into a golden idol. One of Rogue One’s most popular pieces is The Musician, off Bath Street between two music venues, inspired by some of the city’s unsung musical heroes. “Buskers are pretty popular in Glasgow,” Bobby says, “and Glasgow’s well known for the buskers it has, so I thought it was a good idea to have a large-scale image of a busker just standing there with his guitar.”
Rogue One’s latest mural, produced to coincide with First Bus’ Free to Explore campaign, depicts a pair of wings, with the image chosen to reflect ideas of freedom and travel as well as making for an extremely Instagrammable piece of outdoor art. Rogue One's design will also be on display in Aberdeen.
The Barras piece sits amid a mini hub of street art activity, and while you’re checking out his work at the Barras, Bobby recommends seeking out his Pirate Girl mural – “a friend’s daughter, dressed as a pirate, holding her teddy bear”. He also gives a shout-out to Conzo and Glöbel’s amazing mural of 1930s prizefighter (and heir to the Tunnock’s Teacake fortune) Teddy Tunnock plus nearby work by Mark Worst and Ejek, and highlights Panda’s unit within the Barras market itself, selling street art prints every weekend. If you’re looking for a place to start exploring the Glasgow street art scene, the Barras seems like the ideal take-off point.
Follow Rogue One on Instagram @rogueoner
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