Glasgow based street artist Sam Bates a.k.a. Smug has been practising his craft for over fifteen years, having developed a photo-realistic style that he has freely exhibited up and down the country. Originally from a small town near Sydney, Australia, he believes that Glasgow suffers from having a creative space for fellow street artists and graffiti experts. Smug’s well-earned reputation has allowed him to earn a living from his art, having been commissioned by Glasgow City Council to do a series of pieces promoting the 2014 Commonwealth Games when the city won the hosting duties in 2008.
This piece, stretching the length of the wall from Gibson Street to the Kelvinbridge subway station, was designed with help from the pupils of three nearby schools; Hillhead High, Hillhead Primary and Willowbank Primary. The 90 metre long mural was created in 2009, with Bates incorporating the children’s work into his own. The amazing work represents the history of Scottish transport, from the past to the present, around the same time the new Riverside Museum of Transport was being built. It was commissioned as part of the Clean Glasgow Initiative between Glasgow City Council, Strathclyde Police, and the Glasgow Community and Safety Services, who had grown tired of footing the bill to clean off irresponsible tagging. They were inspired when they saw Smug’s work across from the nearby Kelvinbridge subway station.