Adding Metal and Foil to contemporary Art

Foils and Metals – Adding An Extra Dimension To Artwork.

Art is the perfect way to make a statement. It can be a comment about a time, a place, a mood, a feeling, about anything at all really. With so much to convey through art, the addition of metal and foils can give extra layers to the piece that adds another thought-provoking layer to the scene.

Metal in artwork can come in many forms. It may be a solely metal piece or added to a mixed media piece. It can be so subtle, it may not catch the eye initially, but it is always effective.

Here are some of my favourite aspects of metal’s impact on a piece of art.


When metal and foil can create and offer reflections to the observer. The treatment and placement of the metal let the artist use the reflections to create a lot of different experiences. The most straightforward use is to give a clean and clear reflection which can literally bring the observer or the location inside the piece.

Reflections could be used to provide a piece with extra depth and to create reflections of the piece inside its self.

Another option is to use the metal as a means to distort whatever it is reflecting. This can be an exciting way to twist the appearance of things placed in line with the surface. It can add a lot of interest to a piece.

Playing with Light

Metal and foil interact with light in a lot of interesting ways. This goes beyond creating pure reflections. Depending on the angle at which the light hits the surface, it can shift from looking matt to shiny. Similarly, shimmers and sparkles can appear and disappear. This means that your piece of art can change during the day.

As the light in the space changes, so does the feel and nuance of the piece.


Metals are beautiful materials. Depending on how they are treated, they can be surprisingly organic in their ageing process. Selecting a metal that may tarnish over time can create a piece of art that has more to say as it grows older.

It is a way of creating a piece of art that continues to reflect and comment on the time it exists in.

Some Examples To Check Out

John Chamberlain’s Foil sculptures are an amazing example of using metal for art. He shows all the different ways that you can use foil and metal to create something new. His works create things that are utterly alien and organic from a common and industrial material.

Toshihi Komitsuya has created armies of foil sculptures. Exploring his work shows you all the range of metal. He highlights the beauty and nuance that can be wrought from foil as a medium for art.

So, whether you’re an art creator or buyer, it is worthwhile considering the impact that metal can have on a piece and the potential that it can bring for your next artwork.