Places to Visit in Scotland
- Glasgow Street Art
Blank walls in central Glasgow have been utilised as official and unofficial canvases for a wide range of "Street Art". Instead of being regarded as "graffiti", the City Council has often paid talented artists to brighten up the streets with paintings of a wide range of subjects - and produced tourist guides to help people go round and admire them. The slide show above and the selection of that follows shows some of the ever-changing art gallery on the walls of buildings in Scotland's largest city. There are many more that I haven't got to yet!
Ingram Street Car Park
Sam Bates ( nicknamed "Smug") is now based in Glasgow but originally came from a small town near Sydney, Australia and has been creating wall paintings for fifteen years. He was commissioned by Glasgow City Council to do a series of art works promoting the 2014 Commonwealth Games. But the Ingram Street art works were created during the Merchant City festival in 2013. They depict the four seasons in a picturesque Scottish country scene, featuring an array of animals. The use of seasons is slightly ironic, as Glasgow often experiences these four seasons in one day.... The car park has been there for many years on a derelict site with the blank wall of the City Halls concert hall in Candleriggs in the Merchant City area. The art work certainly brightens up the environment, bringing the countryside into the city centre.
A red squirrel, some deer plus a stag and a fox appear framed by some stonework in this picture - the stonework is part of the painting that has been created on the original wall to add a 3D effect.
The robin perched on a wall at the left is unimpressed by the fighting posture of the male capercaillie (the largest member of the grouse family which is found in the pine forests of Scotland) while another red squirrel looks out from behind a "wall". The badger on the right appears again in the graphic below.
The badger and the shaggy Highland cow with its long horns are framed by yet more "wall".
The artist has taken advantage of a large area of flat wall to create this close-up view of someone picking mushrooms in the woods
The bluetit and the mushrooms are again framed by the painting of a 3D wall while the rowan berries spill over.
Glasgow University began in the centre of the city centuries ago but moved out to a new site further to the west at Gilmorehill. In the 20th century, the Royal College of Science and Technology in the city centre transformed into Strathclyde University in 1964. The institution has entered into the spirit of the "Street Art" project with enthusiasm with its walls in the Graham Hills building in George Street covered in artwork spray-painted by local artists Rogue One and Ejek.
As can be seen in this graphic, the side of the Graham Hills Building has rows of students in lecture theatre style seating and the lecturer addressing them. Along the front of the building are a number of pictures at pavement level and above are portraits of scientific luminaries from Scotland's past. Some of these are illustrated in the graphics below.
The "#Strathwonderwall" is along the main frontage of the Graham Hills Building. Originally known as "Marland House when owned by the General Post Office, it became known as Graham Hills in 1987, after it was acquired by the University and named after its principal at the time, Sir Graham Hills. It serves as one of the main lecture hall buildings in the campus (and will keep on doing so until 2018). The "Strathwonder" wall sports its own hashtag #Strathwonderwall to encourage students and other people to post their photos on social media sites. The wall contains paintings of figures such as Scottish engineer - John Logie Baird, the T.A.R.D.I.S from the popular British television series Doctor Who and even an illustration of Frankenstein´s Monster (See Below).
It is certainly appropriate for an institution with its roots in technology and engineering to have one of its external walls showing this representation of a telescope. The mural is of a Dansken equatorial telescope which is a tribute to the nautical telescope that used to be on the top floor in what was the Royal Technical College.
Argyle Street Cafe
In the past, if buildings were abandoned with nobody looking after them, graffiti "artists" with spray paint cans would often daub the walls with amateurish drawings and slogans. But if a competent artist creates an interesting scene on the walls, the amateurs will usually leave it alone. That is what seems to have happened to the building previously occupied by the "Argyle Street Cafe".
A mixture of different styles have been used here in this art work of a girl apparently looking at a picture of waves, with a modern art symbol of a watch bending time at the top.
The passerby seems to be alarmed by the 3D representation of a girl climbing down from a picture frame. The picture lower down almost seems to be inviting graffiti artists to add to the scribbles!
This surreal picture with a purple octopus and a man hanging upside down, supported from his feet is far removed from the artwork in Ingram Street with the countryside scenes!
Tennent Caledonian Brewery
Tennent Caledonian Brewery's factory in Dennistoun was established there on a large site in Duke Street, Glasgow (but east of the city centre in 1740 on the bank of the Molendinar Burn. The company is now owned by C&C Group plc, which purchased the Tennent Caledonian Breweries subsidiary in 2009. The walls surrounding the brewery complex have been used to display some of the recent adverts by the brewery, many of which feature the capital letter "T" which is part of the company branding. Tennent's Lager has been Scotland's market leading brand of pale lager since it was first produced at the Wellpark Brewery in 1885.
This art work is at the entrance to the Caledonian Breweries complex which includes a visitor centre and runs tours round the factory to see how the famous beer is made.
This art work is based one of a series based on Tennent's media advertising campaigns.
It is a tricky one - pouring the precious lager to douse the flames would not be recommended!
Glasgow has hosted a number of major events in recent years both in the field of sport and in entertainment. But it was a great feather in the city's cap to win the contest to stage the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in 2014 and the city dressed up for the occasion. And that included some street art specially commissioned to mark the event.
This picture of badminton players covered the side of a multi-storey building - hence the length of the graphic!
The graphics above and immediately below are of swimmers pictured on the stone support walls for the Kingston Bridge across the river Clyde.
At various locations around the city centre are stand-alone street art projects. It was sometimes startling to be walking down a side street and be confronted, for example by a taxi floating in the air, supported by balloons...
Artist here is Bobby McNamara from Glasgow who is better known by his alias Rogue One. He often incorporates his nickname into the artwork itself as in this one where the license plate of the taxi is "RO6U31". The bricks behind the taxi and the man hailing it are painted on the building, in order to make the taxi and balloons stand out more.
"Smug" (Sam Bates) is the artist for "Girl with a Magnifying Glass" which could be sub-titled "Honey I shrunk the Kids". As with "Rogue One" above, Smug often slips in his nickname into the art work - it is shown here as the girl's necklace. The picture covers an entire gable end, rising for four storeys in Mitchell Street, just up from busy Argyle Street and was completed in 2012.
Scottish based artist Klingatron has work adorning walls all over the world. He used hand-cut stencils to bring the black and white panda bear to life, crawling out of the bamboo jungle in a lane close by the "Lighthouse" centre for design and architecture. This artwork is Glasgow's answer to Edinburgh Zoo where real live Pandas Tian Tian and Yang Guang are on show. But the picture here had to be heavily cropped to get rid of the unsightly commercial refuse bins in the street beside it - not something you come across in Edinburgh Zoo!
This tiger is on a wall facing the river Clyde at Broomielaw next to the South Portland Street suspension bridge. An earlier tiger on the same site was painted to celebrate the Chinese Year of the Tiger as part of a project by Tiger Beer.
Transforming the dandelion seeds and "parachutes" into wind turbines was a brilliant idea! This final illustration is also the narrowest of all the graphics on this page since, sad to say, there was a long row of refuse bins hiding a lot of the lower section of this wall painting in Mitchell Street.
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