The Glasgow School of Art teams with artists to create new works using materials recovered from 2014 fire


By Natalie Mortimer | N/A

January 31, 2017 | 4 min read

The Glasgow School of Art (GSA) has teamed with 25 leading artists and creative agency J. Walter Thompson to create a campaign featuring original works of art that have been produced using materials retrieved from the 2014 fire.

The pieces, created by artists including Grayson Perry, Sir Anthony Gormley and Cornelia Parker will be auctioned off to raise money for The Mackintosh Campus Appeal to restore the Mackintosh Building, which was destroyed in a fire.

Chantal Joffe self portrait

The Glasgow School of Art teams with artists to create new works using materials recovered from 2014 fire

The art works cover a range of practices including sculpture, photography, drawing and painting and have been created using remains from the fire, from charred timbers and debris to books and furniture.

The latest marketing news and insights straight to your inbox.

Get the best of The Drum by choosing from a series of great email briefings, whether that’s daily news, weekly recaps or deep dives into media or creativity.

Sign up

Called Ash to Art the idea is the brainchild of J. Walter Thompson London creatives Bill Hartley and Giles Hepworth, who approached GSA with the idea of using actual materials recovered to help raise money for the restoration.

J. Walter Thompson London’s Bill Hartley and Giles Hepworth, said: “It seemed appropriate to use a by-product of the School's fire as the tool of its rebirth. By putting debris from the fire into the hands of artists, it places the future of the School firmly in the hands of the UK’s creative community.”

Artist Alison Watt took part in the project and explained how she felt when she received the box of charred wood, which had once been a bookcase from the early 1900s to work on.

“It was moving in a way that is difficult to put into words” she said. “I was overwhelmed by the significance of it. I felt a part of my life was in that box. I thought of all the people who had touched this piece when it was part of the Mackintosh Library. And I thought I must have been one of them.”

Alison Watt

To create her painting, Watt shaved small slivers from the charred wood and ground them to a powder with a pestle and mortar. She then mixed it with Payne’s Grey and Burnt Sienna oil colour to create “an intense black which became part of the substance of my painting”.

The new art works will be displayed in collaboration with The Glasgow School of Art Development Trust at Christie’s in London King Street in a special exhibition between 3 and 7 March 2017, then auctioned during the Post-War and Contemporary Art Day Sale on 8 March 2017.


More from Advertising

View all


Industry insights

View all
Add your own content +