Glasgow Street Murals Trail run
Glasgow is home to dozens of fantastic street murals, painted on the side of buildings and on walls throughout the city. This weekend, I joined my Glasgow Triathlon Club friends on an eight-mile run to visit many of these murals.
History of Glasgow’s street murals
The street murals project started in 2008 with the aim of “rejuvenating streets and revitalising buildings and vacant sites that looked a bit tired”.
The murals create splashes of colour to brighten up lanes and streets – and they have become an attraction for locals and tourists alike.
The huge range of artwork on display has something to suit all tastes, from conservative to radical, quirky to bizarre.
Artists are encouraged to get involved in this Glasgow City Council initiative by applying to a city centre Mural Fund.
More recently, a Mural Trail of Glasgow has been created, which offers a suggested walk of around five miles around 24 murals. Of course, you can choose to walk fewer miles by taking in fewer murals.
A Walk Highlands Glasgow murals walk of 5.75 miles can be followed, too. It begins at Buchanan Street.
There are many different street murals spread out across Glasgow and one day or walking or running will probably not be enough to see them all.
Running around the Glasgow murals
This weekend, I ran 8 miles, starting at Cowcaddens subway and finishing at Partick subway/train station to see a host of the fabulous artworks. The route also took in other highlights such as the Necropolis and Glasgow’s Album Pathway in the Barrowlands (Barras).
See the GTC mural runs route on Strava.
Glasgow Triathlon Club on the murals trail run
The start: Cowcaddens underpass
1 Shadow Hand Puppets mural
Art Pistol got together with Rogue-One to revamp the rather dingy although much used underpass at Cowcaddens.
2 Glasgow Caledonian University Saltire Centre
A quick visit inside theGlasgow Caledonian University Saltire Centre to see a stunning artwork. The producers of a Game of Thrones commissioned The Embroiderers Guild to produce a 3D tapestry featuring a White Walker to form the backdrop for the release of the fifth series DVD release.
The producers HBO Home Entertainment TV Network have allowed the artwork to go on display in the library of Glasgow Caledonian University Saltire Centre until it is auctioned in February.
3 Hip Hop Marionettes Mural
The Marionettes by Rogue-One is found in John Street. Rogue-One is a graffiti artist legend and many of his murals are dotted about Glasgow. Taking inspiration from the cover of an album by the hip hop band, the Beastie Boys, and a Run DMC picture, the marionettes were born.
The Rogue-One artwork was aided by Art Pistol. Rogue described his inspiration: “We thought that an interesting concept would be to have body-poppers or break-dancers in puppet form.”
4 Four Seasons Mural
Found at Ingram Street in the Merchant City area of Glasgow, this huge mural created by Smug (Sam Bates) depicts all types of animals found in Glasgow’s parks and green spaces. The seem to appear out of holes in the wall of the building.
5 University of Strathclyde Wonderwall
Starting at North Portland Street, the Wonderwall murals are part of an artwork on a University of Strathclyde building.
The “Wonderwall” celebrates the people of the University of Strathclyde and their many significant achievements. Almost 200 metres long and incorporating three seven-storey gables the project was completed by Art Pistol with Rogue-One and Ejek.
You’ll also see the Dansken equatorial telescope, which was once used to teach nautical astronomy, and the Land-Ship, which was a mock up navigation bridge on the roof of the School of Navigation in the Royal College. It was once used to teach the principles of compass adjustment.
6 St Enoch and Child mural
Smug is behind another impressive mural on the High Street in Glasgow. It is said to “complement the mature image of a modern day St Mungo”.
Kentigern, known as Mungo, was an apostle of the Scottish Kingdom of Strathclyde in the late sixth century, and the founder and patron saint of the city of Glasgow.
The mural is a contemporary interpretation of the city’s founding story with St Thenue/Enoch cradling her beloved St Kentigern/Mungo.
7 St Mungo mural
Another mural by the Australian street artist Smug. He took only around a week to create this depiction of Glasgow’s patron saint, St Mungo, in modern-day clothes.
The image is based on the story that when Mungo was young, some boys from his village were throwing stones at robins on the ground. One bird was hit and the boys ran away, but Mungo ran to the bird. Picking it up he smoothed its feathers and prayed over it. After a little while it was revived and flew away. The villagers called it a miracle.
8 The Necropolis
The Glasgow Necropolis is a Victorian cemetery. It is located on a low hill to the east of Glasgow Cathedral. Some 50,000 people have been buried here. Typically for the period, only a small percentage are named on monuments and not every grave has a stone
We also spotted a memorial to the author William Miller (1810 to 1872). He was a Scottish poet best known as the author of the nursery rhyme Wee Willie Winkie and is sometimes known as “The Laureate of the Nursery”.
9 Wellpark Brewery
Located on Duke Street, Dennistoun, Glasgow, the artist Smug has created a wall of murals at Wellpark Brewery, which is the home of Tennent’s lager. The wall showcases the brand’s history, from its old school marketing through to modern-day Glaswegian banter.
10 St Luke’s & the Winged Ox
The pub and events space, St Luke’s & the Winged Ox is found at 17 Bain Street in Glasgow. The mural is another Smug artwork.
11 Barrowlands murals
There are a number of murals in the Barrowlands area of Glasgow, which is more often called The Barras. The murals include the beautiful Barras Pirate, by Rogue-One, located on Ross Street.
12 Big Yin by Rachel Maclean
There are three murals in Glasgow that were created in honour of the famous Scottish comedian’s 75th birthday. BBC Scotland commissioned three portraits, which have been turned into murals. The Big Yin was overwhelmed on seeing the murals in person during a BBC Scotland programme, Billy Connolly: Portrait of a Lifetime.
The Big Yin by Rachel Maclean is found in the Gallowgate. Maclean’s digital print shows the legend in a specially-created outfit complete with motifs from his career, including: “Mini bike parked in bum” shoulder pads, as well as a sporran with a nose sprouting hair and make-up, reflecting his famous “pale blue Scotsman” joke.
13 Glasgow’s Album Pathway
Glasgow’s Album Pathway is found in Barrowlands Park and is designed to look like a vinyl collection, with the spines of the “records” – each one cast in a different shade of concrete – listing the names of all the bands that have played at the nearby Barrowland Ballroom since 1983.
Artist Jim Lambie (The Modern Institute/Toby Webster Ltd) conceived the walkway as a tribute to the famous music venue.
14 Billy Connolly by John Byrne
Another painting created as part of the 75th birthday celebration series, this time by artist John Byrne. The murals were then added to buildings in Glasgow by Rogue-one and Art Pistol. This mural can be seen from Old Wynd, off Osborne Street, Glasgow.
15 Study of a woman in Black mural
A James Klinge mural in the Saltmarket shows a portrait of an anonymous subject dressed in black. This is a companion piece to his work in Bridgegate Path.
16 The Gorbals Vampire mural
Have you heard the mysterious story of the “Case of the Gorbals Vampire”? The case some 60 years ago saw hundreds of schoolchildren roaming across Glasgow hunting for a vampire – and such was the outcry it led to new censorship laws in the 1950s for the new craze, American horror comics.
Now there is a mural that remembers this story. The Gorbals Vampire is the culmination of a project by Ella Bryson, a 16-year-old winner of a ScottishPower Foundation competition with the Citizens Theatre.
Ella worked with local street artists, Art Pistol, to see her depiction of the Glasgow legend come to life.
17 The Clutha murals
Rogue-One, Art Pistol and Ejek worked together to create a mural on the walls of the Clutha Vaults, a pub on the north bank of the River Clyde in central Glasgow. The artworks pay homage to the history of the area, as well as celebrating a variety of personalities who visited this iconic location, famous for its atmosphere and live music.
Tragically, in November 2013, 10 people died when a police helicopter crashed into the Clutha.
18 Glasgow’s Tiger mural
James Klinge, formerly known as Klingatron, collaborated with Art Pistol to re-imagine the original tiger design previously installed at this location on the north bank of the River Clyde and adjacent to South Portland Suspension Bridge.
19 Dr Connolly, I Presume
Located on Osbourne Street, this is another mural by Rogue-One and one of the commemorative Billy Connolly murals. It is a reproduction of the Jack Vettriano painting from the comedian’s World Tour of Scotland series in 1994 titled “Dr Connolly I Presume” and features a windblown Billy on a coast near John o’ Groats.
20 The Swimmer mural
One of the first murals to have been painted by Smug, this installation celebrates Glasgow’s 2014 Commonwealth Games.
The Commonwealth Games swimmers greet drivers waiting at the traffic lights beneath the Kingston Bridge.
21 The Glasgow Girls
On the running route heading towards Partick, somewhere around Anderston, we came across more murals, including one called the Glasgow Girls. This was Mural painted by @inkiegraffiti as part of the #Yardworks2018 event.
There are many more Glasgow street murals, but for a route of eight miles I think we packed in a great collection.
Also read: Last winter, our club did a city centre SUBRUN of all the subway stations. See running the Subrun.