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Thursday, December 01, 2022

The return of retro: neon lights are back on the road

The return of retro: neon lights are back on the road

“It was like painting with tubes that could be animated in any way they wanted,” Linkswiller says. This “liquid fire” struck American glassblowers both big (“Vegas Vic,” a 40-foot-tall cowboy who still blinks in Las Vegas) and small (lighted motel signs to say “spacing” or “no”). Inspired to create advertisements. Neon became a symbol of the deserted streets of the American West, tempting weary travelers to a soft bed, a hot meal or a hot blackjack table.

Neon has been the star of some of the most enchanting architectural styles of the 20th century, adorning Miami’s South Beach’s Art Deco hotels and apartments and futuristically shaping Los Angeles’ Space Age restaurants and drive-ins goes. Now a closed Hollywood coffee shop. and the beach resorts of Wildwood, New Jersey, showcase doo wop style, where roof-top, sun-kissed hues and kidney-shaped pools come with a dash of neon.

But in the ’70s, neon fell out of favor. “People used to think of neon as glamorous and beautiful, and cities were full of it in the ’50s,” says Bowie. “But at some point it became associated with hard things like tattoo shops.” This didn’t help, as movie theater marquees and hotel signs became more “trendy”, neon lit up aspects of the typography of pawn shops, adult bookstores, and even some lurid films.

Because neon requires some maintenance (keeping it clean, light, and free of harmful bird droppings), many businesses find it easier (and cheaper) to advertise their Broadway shows, pizzerias, or air-conditioned motel rooms with billboards. . A universe of backlit plastic neon disappeared, abandoned or simply dimmed as mass-produced billboards and television screens.

the light comes back

When neon died out in the late 20th century, American collectors and conservationists began collecting vintage signs, sometimes for free. They arranged to hang them in their homes or businesses. “Then neon started to make a little resurgence in the ’80s with fashion, both day-glow Like a New Wave band,” says Lynxwiller. “Just watch a WHAM music video and you’ll see it.”

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