TWO elephants, a Dalek and a giant panda have taken up residence in Glasgow city centre.

In Mitchell Street, a man hails a black cab suspended by balloons and Scottish wildlife peer through a massive crack in the walls of the City Halls.

The dramatic artworks have been commissioned by the city council to brighten up areas blighted by graffiti and vandalism.

And they have now become popular attractions for both visitors to the city and locals.

One of the first murals was painted by street artist Sam Bates in celebration of next year's Commonwealth Games.

Situated on a wall beneath the Kingston Bridge, it features swimmers and is seen by thousands of motorists every day.

Other murals have since appeared in various previously rundown areas of the city centre.

In Mitchell Street, a girl the size of a building stares down on the street through a magnifying glass.

It was created by a number of artists from the West End's Recoat Gallery, which promotes graphic designers, street artists and illustrators.

A local graffiti artist, known as Rogue-One, has created the depths of the River Clyde on hoardings next to St Andrew's Cathedral.

The work features two elephants swimming, a submerged Dalek and a diver.

Artist Klingatron has created a giant panda in Gordon Lane, across from The Lighthouse, and a trompe l'oeil cafe has appeared on a wall on Argyle Street.

The wildlife scene on the gable wall of the City Halls was commissioned to represent the animals which live in and around the city's parks.

It will be lit up in the coming weeks to brighten up the Ingram Street car park it overlooks.

The street art installations were originally covered with special paint to protect them, but the city's graffiti vandals and fly posters have left them alone.

As well as helping to brighten up unloved buildings, the project - part of the Style Mile city centre strategy - is also helping to support young artists.

The Glasgow 2014 organising committee has also commissioned street art which features various sports.

A work featuring two badminton players is being completed on the gable end of flats in Wilson Street.

City council leader Gordon Matheson said: "The new public artworks are a bit like Glasgow itself - colourful and quirky.

"I love walking around my ward in the city centre and suddenly discovering an unexpected artistic gem. I am sure Glaswegians and tourists will agree it helps add to the interest and vibrancy of our city centre.

"But this work also has a very serious side to it, helping to rejuvenating streets and revitalise buildings and vacant sites that are looking a bit tired and reincarnating them as beautiful pieces of public street art.

"They are also creating splashes of colour and life which are helping to brighten up lanes and streets to help make them more inviting for locals and tourists alike."