Frank Gallo was born in Toledo, Ohio, in 1933. He was the youngest of four children born to a Sicilian shoe repairman and inventor.
While growing up, Gallo had the good fortune to live within a stone's throw of the Toledo Museum of Art, which became a childhood retreat from the world of his father's shoe shop. During his frequent trips to the museum, he was able to absorb the detailed elements of classical art, and on the weekends, receive direct instruction in drawing, painting and sculpture.
Gallo attended the University of Toledo. In 1956, he received a bachelor's of fine art degree in education, a degree reflecting both his desire to become an artist and his family's hopes that he acquire a trade. He began graduate work at the Cranbrook Academy of Art in the summer of 1956 but gave it up for a year to teach art to students at the elementary and secondary school level. He started graduate work again in 1958 at the University of Iowa, with an emphasis on both sculpture and printmaking.
In 1959, Gallo accepted a teaching appointment at the University of Illinois. Five years later, he resigned from his teaching post when his career as a commercial artist began to take off. About that time, he began to show his work with the Graham Gallery in New York and with Felix Landau in Los Angeles.
Gallo returned to teaching in 1967 at the University of Iowa and resigned a year later to become head of the sculpture department at the University of Illinois, where he was asked to develop a new graduate program in sculpture. In 1970, he also operated a serigraphy studio in the Center for Advanced Studies at Illinois.
Throughout his years as an instructor, Gallo has continued to create his own sculptures, employing several materials and using a consistent style and subject matter. For a number of years, he exhibited large epoxy figures before going to France in 1972 to study glass at Daum Crystallerier.
Since l977, Gallo has been working primarily in cast paper, a technique he how teaches in the handmade paper and paper casting program he helped initiate at Illinois.
Gallo's work has been exhibited in more then 50 galleries and museums worldwide, including The Art Institute of Chicago; the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York; the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C.; the Museum of Fine Art in Montreal, Canada; the Galleria d'Arte Moderna in Milan, Italy; and the Helsinki Museum in Finland.