I’m a freelance artist/photographer, but I’m not a real photographer, I use photographic elements of Glasgow, and deconstruct and rebuild them, using colour and form. I’m trying to show Glasgow in a different light from how it’s normally shown.

Image courtesy of Pawel Kmiec

I’ve been doing this for a year now, I sell my work at Merchant City, Candleriggs, Saturday and Sunday. I pretty much work seven days a week. I’m massively proud of the city, I want to show a more modern and traditional side combined.

I worked for thirty years and I lost the job in May of 2014, somebody said to me, “you ever thought about working for yourself?” “I said no…Have you?” I took it as a chance, an opportunity, to do something with the palette, or what I consider as my palette, which is the city of Glasgow. A city I’m massively proud of. I fell out of love with the city for a few years, but I fell back in love with it again, by walking round everywhere, trying to see it through a different eye.

I’ve lived here all my life, and I’m not really a well travelled person but I love some of the aspects of Glasgow, the history, the style, the elegance and the tradition. All those things combined, but I think we’re pretty much down on ourselves. We can punch our weight, well beyond what we think we can. We’re very self deprecating in this city. I think it’s just the way we were brought up. If you got ahead of yourself you would have got a slap “roun the heed”.

Your mum and dad were the first to knock you off the pedestal before your even got on the pedestal, so to speak. Not that your really wanted to get on a pedestal.

I seen the city getting ran down, badly managed, the rubbish situation was appalling. I’d been away for a weekend over to Fife and when I came back the first think that hit my nose was the smell of Glasgow. It smelled rotten, dirty. I mean there’s nothing wrong with a “dirty old town”, but you’ve got to clean it. Your Grandmother and Mother would tell you that. You can be poor as you like but you need to be clean, take pride in yourself, take pride in your city.

I was walking back and all the bins were on the outside, I was like. “We can do better than this, what are the tourists gonna think?” Japanese people, American people, come over and must be like, “It is a dirty old town”. Euan McCall was right, although he did write it about Manchester being the “Dirty Old Town”.

For the backdrop we’ve got, the architectural history, the heritage, the arts in general, it’s a very vibrant art community in Glasgow, and I literally did fall back in love with it, honestly by walking the streets and meeting nice people.

I’ve always worked with art, I’ve been involved with art for thirty years, I was a screen print production artist, so I ran an art department in a commercial signage industry, but I’d always been interested in art, always, always. From album sleeve covers, pop culture, through music I found photographers and artists and all kinds of people who inspired me. I don’t ever want to stop. I’m delighted to do this seven days a week. It’s a bit of a struggle right now, but that’s life.

Do your time, although I’m an old man now, but it’s not that bad at all. As I say, we all need money to live, but validation can be worth doing something. If someone thinks it’s beautiful and that’s one of my remits, no matter what form it takes it’s got to be beautiful. That’s a wide spectrum, but if its potentially going to be hung in a domestic environment, its got to be good quality.

Eyecatching, vibrant, unusual but not outlandish, much like the city itself and the people therein.

If you’re doing abstract work, which I do from time to time, you can’t lose form too much, it just becomes a headache for people that they need to “understand” art. You don’t need to understand art, it’s about pretty pictures. You can stroke your chin all day and conceptualise, but it is about pretty pictures, and whether we like it, can engage with it or can live with it for a long time. I don’t want my work to be temporary, I want it to be contemporary. Timeless.

Too sleek and modern and it disappears, it becomes vacuous, whereas something with a bit of a foundation, with the architects relevance, with the skyline, we’ve got a new iconic skyline, with a lot of modern buildings, in Finnieston stuff like that. which is all very well and good, I just think it’s a wee bit clinical. Compared to what we’ve had previously.

There’s more than just Kelvingrove in the city, there’s a whole bunch of different other buildings and hidden things in the city, my trading name is “Hidden Hand”, and as an art designer, I’m literally finding the hidden art, because it needs to be brought out. Finding real beauty in the most ordinary mundane things, and hopefully add a little sparkle, sprinkle it with fairy dust.

I don’t mind hard work, I’m not shy with work, a lot of people think that when you get involved with visual art means you sit on your bottom all day moaning about your situation, instead of actually going out and doing it for yourself. I’ve met hundreds of people in the last year who’ve been kind, helpful, funny, informative, the whole thing, all over the place.

Some are from Glasgow born and bred, but a lot of people are coming in, everybody coming in, but once they subscribe to the city, they realise they’ve been a Glaswegian all along.

Andy Hurst, Kelvin Way

Article in collaboration with Glasgow Street Life https://www.facebook.com/GlaStreetlife/ )