Award-winning Inverness lecturer artist Frank To is enjoying fresh recognition after his work was accepted into Northern Ireland’s most prestigious and historic visual arts establishment
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Award-winning artist Frank To is enjoying fresh recognition after his work was accepted into Northern Ireland’s most prestigious and historic visual arts establishment.
The Inverness College UHI lecturer’s distinctive gunpowder art has earned him the accolade of being one of only four Scottish artists selected by Belfast’s Royal Ulster Academy this year.
There has been an explosion of interest surrounding Mr To’s thought-provoking works which use a “humanium” metal alloy formed from melted down guns seized in government weapons destruction programmes.
In July, he was the only Scottish artist to sell out at the Society of Graphic Fine Art at Mall Galleries in London.
His unique art techniques have gained international recognition among art critics and collectors, including celebrity endorsement from Star Trek actor Sir Patrick Stewart and New York-based banker Michel Witmer, who hangs Mr To’s paintings alongside those of Picasso, Dine and Warhol.
The artist said: “To be honest, it has been a difficult year for both professional artists and art students in the creative and cultural sector. Despite this, I wanted to keep pushing the boundaries of my art and further enhance the reputation of Scottish art in these unknown times.
“I’m also a lecturer within the University of the Highlands and Islands, and I’m keen to demonstrate the innovation and creativity going on within the college and university sector.
“I am very honoured to be unconditionally accepted in this year’s Royal Ulster Academy Annual Exhibition along with art contemporaries who I strongly admire and respect. I’m humbled to be given an opportunity to represent Scotland again in Ireland.”
Founded in 1879, the Royal Ulster Academy is the province’s largest and longest established body of practicing visual artists.
Mr To’s work will go on show at Ulster Museum, Belfast, from December 28 to January 2.