Art Restoration

Posted: 3rd March 2019

Fresh Creative Co. was commissioned by Swansea Council working with the BBC and the Pure Evil Gallery to restore 5 large scale metal sheets which are to be displayed across the city.

The artwork was originally commissioned by the BBC to be produced by the Pure Evil Gallery for Swansea City Council.

Pure Evil Gallery is an artist run space situated in the heart of Hoxton, split across an ever evolving and developing Victorian ground floor and Dickensian basement, which has been alive and very much kicking since it’s entry into the East London contemporary art scene in October 2007.

The artwork itself consists of a series of different paintings which depict different portraits using mixed mediums on large metal sheets.

We were recently approached by Swansea Council and asked to restore and lacquer these artworks as over time their condition had begun to deteriorate and they had started to rust.


The sheets were first transported to our workshop where we were able to properly assess their condition and formulate a more specific plan for their restoration. As the sheets are so large we were only able to lay them flat  two at a time in order to start working on their preparation.

Our first task was to clean the boards thoroughly, which we did with hot water and towels, taking extra care to be gentle so as not to cause any further damage to the artwork. Once this was completed we moved on to attacking the rust.

We tried out a number of different products on the rust to see what would work best at eating away the corrosion. We found that by mixing vinegar in a window/glass cleaning product we were left with a great activator for the rust. This was applied to the areas of rust which, once activated by the mixture, could be cleaned away from the boards by lightly scrubbing the rusted areas with a sponge.

Once the rust was activated it was producing a lot of yellow blooming which would then be needed to be wiped away, so it was important to work on small areas at a time in order to target the areas of rust efficiently.

Once we had finished the cleaning process we added a full coating of weather resistant Loop U.V lacquer. This is an acid-free, quick drying, clear spray varnish with no yellowing or de-saturation properties. This coating protects and fixes the paint onto the surface, at the same time protecting against future oxidation which in turn will help keep the murals looking vibrant and rust-free over time.


It was a real learning process working on this project, as it definitely took a little experimentation to find just the right recipe to treat the corroded areas, but it was really satisfying to watch the artwork come back to life during the process.

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