The Glasgow City Centre Mural Trail is just one of the many amazing things to do in our fair city. Bringing life and colour to the streets since 2008, some murals are easy to find, a few are secretly tucked away, and others are no longer with us (RIP Hip Hop Marionettes).
This map can guide you through the streets of Glasgow, allowing you to see the best of the city’s street art. It’s a great way to get to know Glasgow better. Why not stick on some comfy shoes and make a day of it? There’s plenty of bars and restaurants on the trail so you can refuel as you go!
The great thing about the trail is that it’s always growing and new artwork is being added to it. If you’re lucky, you might just spot a new piece that are not on this list!
0. Nelson Mandela
Artists: Conzo & Glöbel / Location: Strath Union, John St
While not ‘officially’ on the trail, this mural was created in 2017 to mark 30 years of Black History Month. It can be found in the Mandela Room on the 10th floor of Strath Union and is a mark of the strength of the relationship between Mandela and Glasgow - the first city in the world to give him the Freedom of the City in 1981.
1. Strathclyde Wonderwall
Artists: Ejek, Rogue-One / Location: George St
The near-200m long Wonderwall showcases some of the University’s most significant achievements and famous faces, adding bright colours and stunning design to the campus.
2. St Enoch and Child
Artist: Smug / Location: Corner of High St and George St
One of the newest murals, it is an interpretation of Glasgow’s origin story with St Enoch cradling her son St Mungo – the founder of the city.
3. St Mungo
Artist: Smug / Location: High St
One of the most striking murals and one that can’t be missed by anyone coming down High Street; a modern take on Glasgow’s patron saint.
4. Fellow Glasgow Residents
Artist: Smug / Location: Ingram St Carpark
A huge mural seemingly breaking through the wall overlooking Ingram Street, showcasing the beautiful animals that can be found in Glasgow’s parks and green spaces in all four seasons.
Artist: Guido van Helten / Location: Wilson St
One of several sporting murals commissioned ahead of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, Scotland player Kieran Merrilees towers over Wilson Street as he smashes the shuttlecock.
Artist: Recoat, Ali Wylie / Location: Argyle St
The first of the hidden murals, the Spaceman brings a splash of colour to its lane, peeking out onto Trongate.
7. The Big Yin
Artist: Rachel Maclean / Location: Gallowgate
Billy in a Bonnie Prince Charlie-inspired outfit, referencing some of his most famous jokes.
8 & 9. Study of Women in Black
Artist: James Klinge (Klingatron) / Location: Saltmarket (near The Briggait) and next to the grand St Andrew's Square
Two anonymous women wearing black painted mere moments from each other and adding mystery to the side streets off Saltmarket.
10. The Clutha
Artists: Ejek, Rogue-One / Location: Clyde St
From tragedy rose beauty. After the helicopter crash at the Clutha Bar, a mural was created to showcase some of the famous faces that visited it over the years. It includes Billy Connolly and Gerry Rafferty, as well as Stan Laurel and Spike Milligan. The most recent addition of Charles Rennie Mackintosh marked his 150th birthday.
11. Billy Connolly
Artists: John Byrne, Rogue-One / Location: Osborne St
The Big Yin is arguably Glasgow’s most famous son and his 75th birthday was marked with three portraits commissioned by BBC Scotland. Playwright and artist John Byrne’s painting of his old friend Billy proudly peers out over the city from Osborne Street. Byrne was the first artist to adorn a Glasgow building with a mural when he painted ‘Boy on Dogback’ on a Partick gable-end. Read our chat with Byrne about the maiden mural below.
12. Argyle St Café
Artist: Smug / Location: Argyle St
The café where animals come to dine. All manner of beasts are seen eating and drinking on Glasgow’s Style Mile. Or at least they were until they were boarded up for building works this year. Hopefully, they are back on show soon.
13. The World's Most Economical Taxi
Artist: Rogue-One / Location: Mitchell St
Mitchell Street may be easy to miss as you walk past, but you’ll be glad you found the side street and the murals within. Rogue-One was so desperate to have his floating taxi in front of a brick wall that he painted on the bricks!
14. Honey... I shrunk the Kids
Artist: Smug / Location: Mitchell St
This huge mural sees a woman with a magnifying glass getting ready to pick up something off the street – will you go and see what it is?
15. Wind Power
Artist: Rogue-One / Location: Mitchell St
A colourful piece highlighting Glasgow and Scotland’s diverse range of sustainable energy, while also adding stunning colour to the city.
16. Glasgow's Panda
Artist: Klingatron / Location: Gordon Lane
Tucked away around the corner and just metres from the city’s busiest shopping street, Glasgow’s Panda is one of the trail’s hidden gems.
17. Dr Connolly, I Presume?
Artist: Jack Vettriano, Rogue-One / Location: Dixon St
Jack Vettriano’s piece shows the comedian looking, in his words, ‘windswept and interesting’ on the Scottish coast near John O’Groats.The mural overlooks the outside seating of Hootenany’s, which has been renamed Billy’s Beer Garden in his honour.
18. Glasgow's Tiger
Artist: Klingatron / Location: Custom House Quay
Another colourful animal mural, Glasgow’s Tiger can be found on the Clydeside, growling across the river.
19. The Gallery
Artist: Smug / Location: Argyle St
Painted over a boarded-up shop front, The Gallery gives a Glaswegian take on some world-famous artwork, including The Mona Lassie holding her Irn-Bru.
20. The Swimmer
Artist: Smug / Location: Kingston Bridge
Taking the mural trail west, The Swimmer brightens up a wall underneath the Kingston Bridge. Celebrating Glasgow 2014, this Clydeside piece greets drivers waiting at the lights.
21. Crocodile Glesga
Artist: Klingatron / Location: Charing Cross Pedestrian Bridge
One of two murals at Charing Cross, Crocodile Glesga is easily missed as it sits beneath the pedestrian bridge, patiently stalking its prey.
22. Charing Cross Birds
Artist: Little Book Transfers / Location: Charing Cross Pedestrian Bridge
Painted on the pillars of the bridge Crocodile Glesga sits below, these colourful paintings of birds, foliage, and fruit brighten up the traffic hotspot and add the Glasgow’s mural menagerie.
23. The Lost Giant
Artist: Stormie Mills / Location: Sauchiehall Lane
The Lost Giant is one in a series of artworks that can be found in major cities and towns across the globe. Glasgow’s city centre sentinel can be seen sporting a tartan scarf.
24. Hand Shadow Puppets
Artist: Rogue-One / Location: Cowcaddens Underpass
Despite being made by shadows, this series of rabbits, squirrels, birds, and beasts have brightened up the well-used underpass at Cowcaddens Subway.
25. The Musician
Artist: Rogue-One / Location: Sauchiehall Lane
Standing tall over two bars renowned for live music, The Musician waits with his guitar in hand, ready to step up and play.
26. Are Ye Dancin'?
Artist: Conzo / Location: Argyle St
The famous back and forth between many a Glasgow lad and lassie is the perfect mural to end the trail – and maybe start your night out. Complete with a partying Duke of Wellington and a musical lass in a Tunnock’s Tea Cake dress, this colourful mural lights the lane to Sloan’s – thought to be the city’s oldest bar and restaurant, which boasts its artwork just metres away, and is always good for a drink and a dance.
Strath Union chats with Scottish Artist John Byrne
John Byrne was one of the three artists commissioned by BBC Scotland to create a portrait of Billy Connolly to mark The Big Yin’s 75th birthday. His painting became a mural on Osborne Street, and is one of the newest additions to the city centre mural trail. Back in the 1970s, however, John became the first artist to adorn a Glasgow building with a mural – painting ‘Boy on Dogback’ on a Partick gable-end. John spoke to Strath Union about the city’s maiden mural. He told us:
“In 1975, there were no murals in Glasgow. So Tom MacGrath, who ran the Third Eye Centre in Sauchiehall Street, launched the idea of commissioning a number of local artists, me included, to paint around a dozen murals.
There was fee mentioned, somewhere around £100 or so, but nobody could get permission from the owners of the buildings selected; bear in mind this was Glasgow in the 70s, not Mexico City.
As chance would have it, I had chosen a run-down gable-end in Partick and the guy who owned the entire block knew it was soon to be demolished, so readily granted permission for a mural to adorn the gable-end of the block.
To let you know how old the block of tenements was, there was a blacksmith's workshop shoeing horses in one of the back greens and much in demand. So, that was the site of the first mural in Scotland.”
It wasn’t all plain sailing for John though, with some locals keen to showcase their own artistic talents and strike action also affecting his artwork. John said:
“The Tiny Tongs, a gang from Partick, got out their spray cans one night and added their 'tags' at the foot of the 'Boy on Dogback' as the mural was called.
There was also a binmen's strike while the mural was being executed, so there was a huge – and I mean HUGE – pile of refuse on the site. It made the front page of every Scottish newspaper next day.”
When it came to the painting itself, John had to overcome his own wariness for heights as he was raised high into the air to paint the side of the old tenement block.
“I worked from a basket on a crane. I had no head for heights, so I just had to grit my teeth and get on with it!”
Unfortunately, Boy on Dogback is no more, as the flats were pulled down a few years later to make way for new housing. The layout of Crawford Street would soon be completely changed – and it would always be a little less colourful. John said:
“Eventually the block was demolished, but the landlord asked the workmen to put a scaffolding support at the back of the mural while the rest of the tenements were torn down.
As you drove along the Clydeside Expressway you could turn your head to the side and see the mural standing in splendid isolation - until one day, four years later, it too had gone.”
John Byrne Photo: National Galleries Scotland, © Ryan McGoverne
Video clip of artist John Byrne talking about the painting of his gable end mural in Partick and the public reaction to it
© The National Library of Scotland.
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