Frank To
Frank To

How upcycled firearms have become a work of art

Award-winning Scottish contemporary artist Frank To will exhibit publicly the first ever artwork made from Humanium Metal – an alloy created from upcycled illegal firearms – at an exhibition in London.

Frank, from Falkirk, will be showing at the forthcoming Society of Graphic Fine Art exhibition in Mall Galleries, from early July.

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.

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 the Society of Graphic Fine Art 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.’

Frank To

Frank, 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.

He explained: ‘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.’

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. Today the society has more than 130 elected members across Britain.

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, 17 Carlton House Terrace, London SW1Y 5BD from July 6-10.

Find out more about Frank’s work HERE.