Born: Falkirk Scotland
Eduction: Fine Art Huddersfield University
MA Fine Art Duncan of Jordanstone Dundee
The influences on Frank To's work are drawn from literary sources such as the Greek philosophers Plato and Aristotle.
His process is very instinctual and organic; it begins without structure, as an abstract form, his figures are then tweaked out of the painting.
Frank To describes his style and technique:
'Improvising the Activity of Painting'
"Paint is continuously applied on to the surface only to be annihilated at a later stage. Behind all this, form and representation are integrated within the disfigurement. The paintings blur the boundaries between the figurative and the abstract. Initial ideas are irrelevant; the painting is allowed to grow."
There is drama in a Frank To painting. A brooding mental energy that sucks you in and leaves you wondering what, why, where? There is always something or someone or even part of someone emerging from the depths of one of his paintings. This is probably because this engaging, highly focused artist stirs himself into the work in a way that many of his peers, of all ages,do not.
Jan Patience, Art Correspondent, The Herald
I like Frank's work for it's thoughtfulness, intensity, use of colour and quite mature technique. He's adventurous and bold, and not afraid of a big canvas.
Sir Patrick Stewart
Frank To Paintings at the Modern Artists Gallery:
THE ACADEMY OF VIOLENCE
This painting touches on the Circle of Wrath (5th Circle). The painting is based on the O2 Academy concert venue at the Gorbals.Glasgow Gorbals is quite renowned for crime especially the Old Gorbals.
THE LOST WOODS
This painting marks the beginning of Dante's journey (please note that in this body of work, I've portrayed myself as Dante). According to the beginning of the poem, Dante wakes up in the Lost Woods just before the entrance of Hell. The Lost Woods is based in the Kelvingrove woods. Reason being is that it's one of the very few place where you can probably sleep in the woods without the dear of being mugged.
THE SHE- WOLF
At the beginning of Dante's journey, he encounters from animals that try to attack him. They are the She- Wolf, the Lion and the Leopard. Each animal represents a specific sin of man. The She- Wolf represents Lust. In my version of the Inferno, I've dressed myself in a dress wearing a wolf mask. The only time in Glasgow when you can do this is in Halloween which was about that time when I painted it (last year).
THE VIRTUOUS PAGAN
The Virtuous Pagan is based at Ibrox where Rangers Football Club is based. There were two high rise towers near the stadium which are now knocked down.
In Glasgow, there seems to be an underground cult movement of wearing traffic cones as hats especially at football games. As Rangers is heavily know to be of Protestant religion, the football team and supporters are often referred as Pagans (or in Scottish slang 'huns'). As the Protestant faith does stem back to Martin Luther and Germany (long associated as 'Barbarian'), the wearing of the traffic cone and location re-emphasis that cultural and historic reference.
The painting is based on 1st circle of Hell, Limbo where all the Virtuous Pagans like Plato and Homer reside. Good human beings in life, but non Christians.
Self portrait of myself as the poet Dante.