There’s something about neon very weird and enthralling to me. I’m always attracted to it. Maybe it’s the flickering color that lights up a storefront or the nocturnal buzzing sound it creates that lures me in. Or that I find there’s something calming about it. Perhaps it’s the saturated pulsing hues that put me in a temporary hypnotic state. I’ve lived in New York for about 6 years now and the city is full of amazing neon pieces. They’re all over the place, from restaurants, psychics and nail salons to trendy gallery spaces and laundromats. Whenever I pass one I have to take out my phone and snap a shot.
A lot of times neon is used just as a simple form of advertisement. But depending on the bender’s vision some neon can be pretty fucking awesome. Clearly they’re designed to grab your attention, but in their own realm some really are works of art. The weird, silly and cool ones typically are used by stores and bars that have the same mentality. It’s almost like the neon is an extension or foreshadowing of what you’re getting into once you walk through the doors.
It’s a shame to hear people say neon is a dying industry because it slowly is being phased out by brighter, less expensive LED displays. Think of what would be lost if neon went away. There’s a hand-made craftsmanship and emotion that emanates from it. No two pieces are ever the same, so each truly is one of a kind. And even though it’s stationary it moves and has a warmness that draws you in. When the sun goes down, the neon turns on and colors the night around it.
Below are a few videos showing neon benders and their craft, as well as a video from Christopher Doyle, a master film director who collaborates with neon to capture the mood for his films.