Coronavirus: Who is behind Glasgow's Covid street art?

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image copyrightThe Rebel Bear
image captionThe Rebel Bear's latest artwork symbolises people's gratitude to frontline workers

While Scotland has been under lockdown, Glasgow's street artists have been trying to reflect the mood of the nation.

Using city centre buildings as their canvas, painted murals pay tribute to the NHS while others urge fellow citizens to stay safe.

But who are the artists responsible for the images that have brightened up the city's deserted streets?

image copyrightGetty Images
image captionThe NHS is thanked in a mural on Battlefield Road
image copyrightGetty Images
image captionArtwork on the windows of this restaurant in Shawlands urges people to stay safe

One of those behind some of the most striking paintings is known as The Rebel Bear.

Acknowledging that his activities are "not strictly legal", he agreed to speak to BBC Scotland on the condition of anonymity.

Since lockdown began in March, he has ventured out three times in the "dead of night" to create his artwork.

The first was an image of a couple pulling down their masks to share a kiss.

image copyrightThe Rebel Bear
image captionThe Bear's first covid-themed street art was painted on a wall in Glasgow's west end

Painted on the wall of a tenement in the city's West End, The Bear said he wanted to "provoke hope" of life after lockdown.

"And also to show the tightrope between fear and love that many of us are walking at the moment," he added.

A second piece popped up on Bath Street in early April.

It shows a man chained to a bright green coronavirus particle, highlighting the frustration felt by everyone restricted by the virus.

image copyrightGetty Images
image captionThis Bath Street scene highlights the frustration felt by many people under lockdown

The Bear's latest work - of a doctor in a blue protective mask and gloves - is on a bright white wall in Ashton Lane.

He said it was dedicated to all front-line medical workers and symbolised "our collective gratitude".

image copyrightPA Media

He posts his work on The Rebel Bear Instagram page, and has seen photographs of his work in national newspapers and websites.

"The reaction has been brilliant", he said. "I really appreciate the support and feel very lucky that people enjoy my work and are able to take something from it."

Having created street art in Glasgow and around the world for the past four years, The Bear has inevitably been described as the "Scottish Banksy".

"I feel like I am on my own path," he told BBC Scotland. "Saying that, I still feel privileged to be labelled as the 'Scottish Banksy'.

"Banksy and other artists such as blek le rat etc have paved the way for street art and have inspired my journey."

But his main motivation is "to make people think and hopefully raise a smile".

image copyrightThe Rebel Bear
image captionThe Bear says he lives in a cave high up in the wilderness and only ventures into the cities to do his street art - although we're not sure we believe him


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