What do Kate Moss, Lady Gaga and Elton John all have in common? They’re all collectors of works by neon-artist Chris Bracey. One of the busiest places in London at the moment might be Oxford Street, lit up with festive lights depicting Marmite jars, which you’ll either love or hate. But wander slightly from the hordes of shoppers, and you’ll find yourself in Soho, surrounded by Chris Bracey’s decidedly more grown-up world of illumination…
Neon signs have been associated with Soho since the 70s, thanks to artist Chris Bracey and his alluring light creations. After introducing neon to Soho, he soon made the move to the realms of art and film, and has collaborated with artists such as Martin Creed and David LaChapelle and film directors including Tim Burton and Stanley Kubrick. Over the weekend, we visited Bracey’s pop-up gallery, Gods Own Junkyard, and were enchanted by what we saw.
You certainly can’t miss the shop front on Beak Street; passers-by were continually snapping photos of Father Christmas welcoming you in to the Erotic Show, and people were spontaneously making the decision to wander through the door. The attraction of neon is definitely not dead.
Bracey has been heralded as the Neon Man for 37 years now, and this pop-up gallery contains new and salvaged signs, vintage neons, old movie props and retro displays that he’s spent years collecting, creating and curating.
Fairground and circus lighting is interwoven and combined with sex shop signs and original neon artworks. Each piece is, or is partially made from, found objects and unwanted lights, saved from the scrapheap and brought back to vivid life.
Split over two floors, follow the Freak Show sign downstairs and you’ll discover London Calling, the bespoke piece Bracey made for the Olympic Village, on sale for a cool £10k.
We were taken with the multi-coloured carnival stars, the mirrored bull’s head with pink neon horns, and the Luxury Addiction sign, which is a sentiment that we can certainly relate to.
Until the end of January, you can pick up an iconic work of art at Bracey’s exhibition Gods Own Junkyard, where neon never dies.
Chris Bracey’s Gods Own Junkyard at Circus of Soho, 47 Beak Street, London, is open until the end of January, 2013. Definitely worth a visit!
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