Graffiti Run in Central Glasgow

Warning- this post is super picture-heavy. 

On Sunday I planned a run to look at some of the graffiti in Glasgow city centre. Glasgow has a rich artistic culture, and there has been a recent revival of street art and a surge in accepting it as a legitimate art form. I recruited K, who was drastically hungover. Luckily for me it is very easy to talk her into hanging out. The combination of rare sunshine and beautiful street art soon started to perk her up a bit anyway.

Klingatron : Alligator

We started off up at Charing Cross, at Klingatron's alligator lurking below the motorway bridge. This native Glasweigian artist is probably my favourite of the Glasgow graffiti set- creating stunning pieces from layered stencils and very few colours. 

Klingatron's Crocodile graffiti at Charing Cross Glasgow

Klingatron's Crocodile graffiti at Charing Cross Glasgow
Sweaty Betty Track Ready jacket || Nike 2-in-1 Circuit shorts || Brooks Pure Cadence 2
Klingatron's Crocodile graffiti at Charing Cross Glasgow

Rogue One : Puppets

We had a half mile or so to cover before our next spot- the puppets created by Rogue One. Rogue One was also born and bred here in the city and was the artist for many of the pieces we saw. 

Rogue One's puppet graffiti at John Street Glasgow

Ejek, Rogue One, others : Strathclyde University

Strathclyde University has several murals on different streets by mixed artists including Rogue One (referred to as the Strathclyde Wonder Wall). A very cool edge to have on a building for learning! We actually missed a few here- there is a lot more graffiti at Strathclyde University than I realised. I was sad to not have spotted the depiction of space craft. 

Strathclyde University Wonder Wall graffiti

Strathclyde University Wonder Wall graffiti

Smug : Woodland

Next we headed just around the corner to see Smug's woodland scene- this huge work covers the back of a set of buildings where the old fruitmarket was, towering above what is now a car park. It has some gorgeous details, like the tongue dart of a hungry fox. Smug is another Glasgow graffiti institution, but is Australian-born. 

Smug Woodland Animal graffiti Glasgow

Smug Woodland Animal graffiti Glasgow

Smug Woodland Animal graffiti Glasgow

Smug Woodland Animal graffiti Glasgow

Smug Woodland Animal graffiti Glasgow
K decided she wasn't too hungover for a wee handstand.
Van Helten : Badminton

Next we found Guido van Helten's towering Badminton players. These were part of a Commonwealth Games initiative to display sports around the city. 

Van Helten Badminton graffiti Glasgow

Smug : Argyle St Cafe

We headed to another Smug piece- the Argyle St Cafe. This is actually on a main shopping thoroughfare but it's amazing how few people notice it or care. It used to depict people in a cafe interior, now it shows zoo animals munching on their meals of choice. The only person we saw paying any attention to this stunning art was a child exclaiming to her harried mum about all the animals.


Smug Argyle St Cafe graffiti Glasgow

Smug Argyle St Cafe graffiti Glasgow

Smug Argyle St Cafe graffiti Glasgow

Just beside it is Safe Hands barbers, which has also received some Smug treatment. 

Smug Safe Hands graffiti Glasgow

Fist x Recoat : Spaceman

Along the Trongate you can find the Spaceman floating in the New Wynd side alley- watch out, he is very easy to miss! We actually did miss him at first looking at an unusual piece of street art done in lino by Bernie Reid. The spaceman has to be one of my favourites- with the multi layered background and moody purple colouring. There are also layered mountains in the backdrop. The piece is by Fist in collaboration with Recoat, and it's part of the Glasgow regeneration project. 

Bernie Reid Lino graffiti Glasgow

Fist Recoat Spaceman graffiti Glasgow

Fist Recoat Spaceman graffiti Glasgow

Fist Recoat Spaceman graffiti Glasgow

Unknown : The Gallowgate

We ran further along Trongate and checked out the bar artwork at McKinnons and the Gallowgate railway bridge artwork. I cannot find out who either of these is by, if you know, please help me out! The bridge artwork is highly lovely to me- it expands the space and uses an otherwise unremarkable gable end. 

Tennents McKinnon Bar graffiti Glasgow

Gallowgate Railway Arch graffiti Glasgow

Rogue One, Ejek: Clutha Bar

Clutha Bar Graffiti Glasgow

Clutha Bar Graffiti Glasgow

Another Rogue One piece wraps around the Clutha pub on the Clydeside. It features famous faces like Mary Barbour (Scottish political activist). I love the expression of Woody Guthrie, on the right of the photo just above. The Clutha is of course now most famous for the tragedy of 2013's helicopter crash, but it is also a very popular music venue. Rogue One has said in interviews that he actually did shifts working at the bar at some time.

Rogue One : A View from the Clyde

I have seen this mural a thousand times as the Clydeside is a really common running route for me. However, I do still really love it. It features a tongue in cheek look at what could be lurking under the waters of the Clyde. I'm only disappointed it doesn't feature Cthulhu. 

Rogue One View from the Clyde Graffiti Glasgow

Rogue One View from the Clyde Graffiti Glasgow

Rogue One : Birds

The birds are on the same building as the underwater scene, you only have to walk around the walls. It is darkly humorous, featuring a whole aviary's worth of exotic birds being stalked by two tabby cats. One appears to have already fallen victim.

Rogue One Birds Graffiti Glasgow


Rogue One Birds Graffiti Glasgow


Rogue One Birds Graffiti Glasgow

Klingatron : Tiger

Again, I've seen this piece a million times. But it is still completely stunning- I just can't believe how much detail is made with stencils only. It's a shame that part of this artwork now has a crappy piece of tag graffiti on it. I'm amazed anyone could look at the tiger and have the gall to think their tag is more worthwhile. The tiger appears extensively in my Mirelle Activewear post.

Klingatron Tiger Graffiti Glasgow


Klingatron Tiger Graffiti Glasgow

Smug: Five Faces

Smug Five Faces Graffiti Glasgow

Smug Five Faces Graffiti Glasgow

There used to be sports street art here under the railway bridge but it was replaced a few years ago when Smug created these five semi photo-realistic pictures. Each person has a yo-yo but I can find no indication why. We planned to check out the commonwealth swimmers mural by Smug below the Kingston Bridge too, but somehow missed it. Check it out here

Smug: The Gallery

The Gallery is a set of interpretations of famous pieces of art. I ADORE the interpretation of Starry Night, potentially because I myself am a blonde lady who would love to step into that skyscape.

Smug Gallery Graffiti Glasgow

Smug Gallery Graffiti Glasgow

I also love the silly take on Pollock, "age 8", and the censored cubist masterpieces. The artworks also interact with the figures around them- including an octopus snatching people from the street.

Smug Gallery Graffiti Glasgow

Smug Gallery Graffiti Glasgow

Smug Gallery Graffiti Glasgow


Smug Gallery Graffiti Glasgow

Rogue One: The Flying Taxi/ Dandelion Girl

In Mitchell Street and Mitchell Lane, the three major artists are all bunched up right next to one another. Rogue One's Flying Taxi, with its famously detailed bricks, is immediately beside a girl peering down at passers-by, emblazoned with Smug's signature. Just around the corner a giant panda hides in the lane courtesy of Klingatron. It's a beautiful artistic corner.

Rogue One Taxi Graffiti Glasgow

Rogue One Taxi Graffiti Glasgow

The new piece of art in this street is also Rogue One's- a girl blows dandelion seeds behind some bins. This piece has an obvious environmental slant with the seeds morphing in to wind turbines.

Rogue One Dandelion Girl Graffiti GlasgowSmug: Girl with a Magnifying Glass

Smug Magnifying Glass Girl Graffiti Glasgow

Klingatron: The Giant Panda

Klingatron Giant Panda Graffiti Glasgow

I loved the panda of course- they are one of my top five favourite animals (I recently missed out on seeing them at the zoo) and this depiction is very fair to their lazy kind of beauty. 

It was really interesting to explore the street art of Glasgow all at once. There are many pieces in the area we missed out, and I intend to do more graffiti runs out into Maryhill and across the water. If you know of the location of any great pieces, please tell me! There have been some criticisms of this kind of graffiti- many of these pieces were commissioned and council-supported and some think this interferes with the ethos of street art, which should be free and anti-establishment in some ways. I think it's great that the council are acknowledging that street art is a beautiful and unique artform. I also find it interesting and touching that so few of these pieces have been interfered with at all; people seem to respect them. 

Once we had finished our tour we headed of in search of a piercer to poke more holes in K's body but sadly found that on Sundays Glasgow is a piercing-artist-free zone. She was a little bit bummed out, but we settled on a whim for brunch instead at isLena on Bell Street. It turned out to be really great- friendly staff, tasty eggs (I had baked spicy eggs), good coffee and lovely fresh decor. Then we headed back to the flat and K crashed out on my sofa. Ahh, Glasgow days.

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Do you like graffiti art? Is there any great street art where you live?

Do you know any street art in Glasgow that I should visit?

6 Comments:

  1. What a great post and what amazing street art!! Love it! We had a tour in Amsterdam of the street art and it was fab!! Great photos too!

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    1. Thank you! I loved it, it's such gorgeous stuff that it's hard to take a bad photo of ;-)

      I would love to visit Amsterdam one day- I would check out the street art there too.

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  2. I did a street art run in East London last year, it was so eye opening, incredible what you miss if you don't actually look up.

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    1. Definitely! With Glasgow its more often looking in- a lot of these are hidden in alleys or behind centres etc. There are apparently a lot further out on things like disused railway lines, as the city doesn't bother cleaning those off so they stay up.

      Thanks for commenting!

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  3. Absolutely stunning photos. Loved this post. I need to visit Glasgow :)

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    Replies
    1. You should- come and I will take you on a city tour run! There's lots to see :-)

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