Last February I was lucky enough to discover a world of neon tucked away in a warehouse in Walthamstow – God’s Own Junkyard. A year on and Lights Of Soho is celebrating 40 years of neon by the GOJ owner Chris Bracey (who sadly passed away in November 2014) and one of the largest collections of neon signs outside the US.
I’m a bit late to the party on this one, sorry! The exhibition has been open since late November but I have been so busy over the festive season that this was the first chance that I had to pop in with Jack and Lucy:
Sweet like neon, more like. It’s only a fraction of the size of God’s Own Junkyard but still holds as much wonder – I don’t know what it is about neon, but it’s just amazing. I know that I’m not the only one to feel that way because my housemate Lucy has been ‘collecting’ neon in a little project, and so of course she was snapping away with her camera:
I guess what I love about neon is that it is graphical, whether that be through typography, shapes or illustration. They are dynamic and colourful, with that something a little extra – light. From hearts and inspirational words to dollar$…
… and coffins, there is something so inviting about the glow of neon. (Lucy’s loving the neon!)
Although one sign can look great in a dark street, I love that GOJ and Lights of Soho bring all of these neon signs together to create an overwhelming experience.
Neon signs, although powered by technology, make me feel quite nostalgic. I associate them with tattoo shops and the retro pin-up style due to a lot of the designs, but mainly neon reminds me of my childhood for 2 reasons:
#1 it reminds me of going to the seaside fairground: a million flashing bulbs of colour, the smell of doughnuts and the whirring sound of the rides mixed with a cheesy 90’s soundtrack.
And #2 it reminds me of my Granddad driving my brother, sister & I around our hometown to see the displays of Christmas lights – you know, those people that went totally overboard and covered every inch of their gardens and houses (I can’t imagine the size of their electricity bill!) – did anyone else do that?
One day I’d like to have a neon sign of my own, although I don’t know how I would be able to choose!
Lights of Soho on Brewer Street is open until 18th January, so make sure you head to Soho this week before it closes. If you can’t make it this week, make sure you take a trip to the warehouse in Walthamstow – it’s totally worth it!
Let me know if you are going/have been and which is your favourite piece(if you can choose).