Scottish artist Frank To continues to shine in recession

ACCLAIMED Glasgow artist Frank To – who counts Sir Patrick Stewart of Star Trek fame among his collectors – has continued to profit in the recession by promoting his work while many of his peers retreated.

The 27-year-old said he realised at an early stage he had to focus on marketing as well as developing as an artist. He established his business in 2006 with his own money and support from Business Gateway, the Prince's Scottish Youth Business Trust and Royal Bank of Scotland.

In 2007 to 2008, To made a profit of about 24,000, up from 10,000 the previous year.

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He said: "The main reason for the dramatic increase in profits was that I was beginning to achieve a respectable reputation as a young Scottish art graduate gaining a celebrity following. Despite the success I had in 2007-08, I knew the UK would eventually follow suit with America's downturn."

To prepare for the recession, he started budgeting and splitting his finances to concentrate on certain parts of his business, such as marketing.

All creative arts have been hit by the downturn and To's business has not been unscathed. Profits fell to about 10,000 in 2008/9, but he said they are set to rise to at least 18,000 this year.

He has gained corporate business, partly on the back of winning the award of most promising emerging Scottish artist last year from accountancy and consulting firm Deloitte & Touche.

To's work is included in the New Faces Revisited exhibition which opened this weekend at Leith Gallery in Edinburgh.

He is also part of the spring exhibition opening next month at Edinburgh bar, restaurant and hotel Hawke & Hunter.