A NEW art trail has been set out across Glasgow to allow people to appreciate a growing number of giant murals that have been appearing around the city over the past eight years.
The impressive creations have been welcomed for rejuvenating bare walls and revitalising neglected areas, reincarnating them as beautiful pieces of public street art.
The first of the incredible art works was produced in 2008 and since then the murals have expanded across the city.
The new trail will feature all of the diverse portfolio of artworks that are within easy walking distance of the city centre.
Glasgow City Council say the sheer range of artwork on display will mean there is something to suit all tastes.
Jane Laiolo, who helps run the project for the council, said: “The reason that we promote murals is to brighten up drab and dark areas in the city, gable ends and also to deal with graffiti hot spots.
“We set up the city centre mural trail to promote some of the fantastic street art that’s been developed over the last few years in Glasgow city centre. We want to provide an opportunity for artists to showcase their talents across the city in prominent locations.
“It’s also an opportunity to develop the artists, from former graffiti artists in many instances, into becoming small businesses in their own right.
“We are promoting the mural fund which is an opportunity for mural artists to attract funding from the council to undertake these murals and we are also promoting the trail where visitors to the city, as well as our own citizens, can enjoy the street art by following a map that takes you around all the murals in the city centre.”
A spokesperson for Visit Scotland added that the colourful mural trail booklet - which is available in hard copy or available for download here - is eye-catching and great for tourists: “The images inside are really crisp and colourful, so people are attracted to take part in the walk, and go see the murals for themselves.
“There’s also a lot of information inside the booklet about the murals, but also about the surrounding areas, so people not familiar with the city can use it as a walking trail as well.
“The murals have received quite a positive response, not just from visitors to the city, but Glaswegians themselves.”
Established names on the street-scene like Ali Wyllie, Art Pistol and Ejek have all been involved in helping to create the murals, with standouts including the vivid Spaceman on New Wynd by Recoat and Ali Wyllie, and the hyper-realistic Hand Shadow Puppets, produced on the Cowcaddens underpass by Rogue-One.
Animals also feature heavily on the trail, from Rogue-One and Art Pistol’s tongue-in-cheek ‘Big Birds’ on the corner of Howard Street and Dunlop Street, to Klingatron’s ‘Glasgow’s Panda’, on the once much-less picturesque Gordon Lane.
Bobby McNamara, the street artist known as Rogue-One, has been creating street art for 20 years and has created many of the more famous murals around the city over the past four years including those down at the Clydeside, Strathclyde University and at Cowcaddens.
He believes the general perception of the murals is quite positive with most people saying they love them.
Fellow graffiti artist Sam Bates, better known as Smug, specialises in large scale photo-realistic murals and has been responsible for some of best known art works, including the four seasons piece on Ingram Street and the pillars underneath the rail arches on Clyde Street.
A picture of his mural on High Street took the internet by storm when it was unveiled earlier this year.
He said: “I’ve been doing large scale murals for about 15 years, I’ve been doing it on a more professional level for the last seven or eight.
“I started doing the murals just through a very traditional graffiti background and trying to see how far I could manipulate the spray can to get it to do things I didn’t think it would be possible to do.
“I’ve just been challenging myself to see how much bigger and how much more detailed I can make the murals.”
Smug says that the response has been hugely positive from nearly everybody who has given feedback.
“Using a spray can to produce anything seems to be really exciting to everybody, so everybody has been really enthusiastic.”
• Artists are encouraged to get involved in this Glasgow City Council initiative through application to the city centre Mural Fund, details of which can be found here.