Award-winning Falkirk artist's unique gunpowder drawing to go on display in London exhibition

Award-winning artist Frank To will exhibit the first ever artwork made from Humanium Metal at a prestigious exhibition in London’s Mall Galleries this month.

By Fiona Dobie
Friday, 2nd July 2021, 7:00 am
Frank To's unique gunpowder artwork has been drawing attention.  (Pic: Roksana Ulas)
Frank To's unique gunpowder artwork has been drawing attention. (Pic: Roksana Ulas)

The Falkirk artist and social activist’s work using the alloy, which has been created from upcycled illegal firearms, goes on display at the Society of Graphic Fine Art exhibition from July 6-10.

He is also one of only four Scottish artists selected in this year’s society exhibition in recognition for the highest level of draughtsmanship on drawing within the UK.

Appointed to be the sole official UK artist ambassador for NGO IM Swedish Development Partner, Frank has been developing a new colour using Humanium Metal.

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Frank To's work, titled Imagine, goes on public display in London next week.

He has been commissioned to create artworks made from Humanium Metal to be sold to raise funds supporting survivors and gun violence-prevention programmes.

Frank’s piece, titled ‘Imagine’, features a bumble bee drawn with Humanium Metal paint and gunpowder on handmade paper.

The artwork will be the first of its kind in history to be exhibited and for sale in next week’s exhibition of which the profits will be donated to communities of developing countries affected by gun violence.

Frank said: “I view this piece as a breakthrough in combining social activism and art together.

“For me, the whole experience of working with Humanium Metal and taking a moral stance shows how art can accommodate these and promote that message of peace

to a wider audience in new ways.

“Being appointed as the only artist to work with Humanium Metal was important to me because it is about innovating and pushing the boundaries of Scottish art within a

completely different realm which is both social and political.

“But also at the same time highlighting the importance of good quality draughtsmanship especially within drawing; an activity of which some art schools today are neglecting.

“My Humanim Metal artwork is mainly about upcycling and repurposing illegal firearms and, by doing so, makes a comment on the need for sustainability.”

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The artist, who splits his time between his Glasgow studio and Inverness College UHI where he is a contemporary art lecturer, has long been interested in social activism.

“I’ve always been heavily involved in social activism as I am a supporter of the Free Tibet movement, Me Too Movement, the Hong Kong protests and the BLM

movement. So working with Humanium Metal was almost a natural progression for me.” he said.

Earlier this year Frank’s unique gunpowder technique gained international recognition as a leading contemporary artist amongst art critics and high-profile collectors, who include Star Trek’s Captain Picard actor Patrick Stewart.

The Society of Graphic Fine Art - The Drawing Society - is the only national society in the UK dedicated exclusively to drawing.

Founded in 1919, the Society promotes fine drawing skills in both traditional and contemporary media.

Frank To’s Humanium Metal art work goes on show and will be for sale in the Society of Graphic Fine Art Annual Exhibition at the Mall Galleries in London from Tuesday, July 6 to Saturday, July 10.

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