The Dimming Neon Legacy: A Worldwide Endeavor to Safeguard Illuminated Art
Recent concerns have been expressed by many neon sign artists in Hong Kong that the art and craft of neon signs may be losing their appeal. LED lights gradually replace the neon signs that were once prominently displayed on the streets of Hong Kong. Master Wu Zhikai remains the last neon sign master in Hong Kong. He has been making neon signs for more than 30 years.
In an interview with Xinhuanet Master Hu Zhikai revealed that he learned to make neon lights as a teenager. Now, he has moved his studio to an industrial building in Kwai Chung, which is quite small for making neon lights. Hu Zhikai received very few orders this month. Liu Wen, a Hong Kong neon signmaker and colleague of Hu Zhikai, joined the industry in 1957. He stated that he was concerned about the loss of this craft.
Hu Zhikai, a neon signs master, is Hong Kong’s second youngest. But, of the ten or so remaining neon signs masters, none have anything to share. Hu Zhikai explained that a booming business will attract new talent. “If nobody joins the industry there will be no business.”
All neon signs in the world are being dismantled frequently
Sir William Ramsay, an eminent Scottish scientist, discovered a gas in 1898 that was resistant to liquefaction but turned bright red when it was electrified. He called this gas “neon”. My country saw the first neon advertisement on Nanjing East Road, Shanghai, in 1926. Shanghai Far East Chemical Manufacturing Factory made my country’s initial neon lamp in 1927. It was used in Shanghai Central Hotel. My country’s first neon lamps were developed in the 1930s. There were over 30 neon light factories within the country by 1949. Now, however, neon lights are gradually disappearing from the public’s eye.
Neon lights make up a unique cultural landscape in Hong Kong. The neon lights spanning across the sky are a sign of Hong Kong’s prosperity and excitement. These brightly colored neon lights will help first-time tourists to Hong Kong see how bright the city’s night is. Neon signs are not just used to advertise business in Hong Kong, but they also serve as a symbol of Hong Kong’s cultural consumption, including film and television. Wong Kar Wai’s “Chongqing Forest”, and “Fallen Angels”, both directed by Wong Kar Wai, highlight the importance of neon lights in the development and shaping of characters’ psychology.
One landmark in Hong Kong is a giant neon cow hanging from a steakhouse located in the western district. Sammy Restaurant is the name of this restaurant. The neon sign’s creator, a master of neon signs, believed that the cow would look more attractive with longer legs. This sign is now very distinctive. The neon sign depicted an Angus cow that had four long legs. In 2011, Hong Kong’s Buildings Department deemed the signboard dangerous and asked for its removal. It was demolished in August 2015. The decline of neon lights in Hong Kong began in the 1990s. According to the master who made the neon signs, Hong Kong’s architectural design became more precise. The new billboards made from LED lights are not as warm as neon lights. The advantage is in the lower price, ease of maintenance, and longer service life.
The neon lights of Shanghai were once a famous landmark. One famous Shanghai bamboo branch poem was: “How bright are the trees and silver blooms, and there are many lights in the Western business competition.” The electric halo acts as a signboard and thousands of stars can be found all over the place. This poem captures Shanghai’s night scene. Shanghai night is more vibrant thanks to its dazzling lights. Although you may be able to see the historic neon lights of Shanghai, such signs are extremely rare. Victor Chiang, an amateur photographer, captured many photographs of Shanghai at night. Many photos show old streets lit up with neon lights. However, we can see less of the original neon lights.
The grand occasion of neon lights in the west is over. Vancouver, Canada was once the “Neon Capital”. Many advertisements featured neon lights in 1950. Outside the church, decorations also used neon lights. Vancouver was the most prolific producer of neon lights with stripes at the time. On average, one custom neon sign was installed for every 18 workers and every 12 factories. Here was the largest neon sign in the world. But, neon lights are not in decline thanks to the development of commercial technology.
Neon lights offer unique artistic value
The Paris Motor Show, 1910 was the first time neon lights were seen. The novelty light attracted all guests to the building’s exterior, as it emitted colors unlike before. You can’t use neon lights indoors. The best uses for custom neon signs are in commercial areas and on street signs. The most common neon lights are found in barbershops. They then spread to every corner of the city. Neon lights work well with Paris’s urban vibe. After some time, neon lights were introduced to the United States. Neon lights were used at the New York World Fair in 1939 to decorate many signs. Many companies were open to using neon lights for their product promotion.
The commercial glory of neon lights is not the only reason neon lights are popular. They also actively participate in the “political propagandism” of Eastern European nations. In the 1960s the Soviet Union tried to make Eastern European capitals more powerful by implementing the “ionization” policy. The exterior of many public buildings is decorated with neon lights in Warsaw. Eastern European citizens see many interesting scenes as they go outside to look around the world. Not only do they see old-fashioned slogans, but also many neon-lit political propaganda posters.
Neon lights can be used as a decorative element, but they also have a high artistic value. The neon lights have been a major part of many science fiction novels. They have also helped to promote cyberpunk art. It is the background of many sci-fi Cyberpunk movies. The bright neon colors can show many strong contrasts: the opposition of prosperity and decadence; the interlacing between future and reality; the contrast between rich and poor. This gives people the feeling that there is a sense of time and space being interconnected.
Cyberpunk, a sub-genre of science fiction, depicts “a combination of high technology and low living.” Cyberpunk authors draw from detective novels, film noir, and postmodernism to depict a secret side to digital society in the latter 20th century. The dystopian cyberpunk world is the antithesis of the utopian future many people imagined in the mid-20th century. Cyberpunk’s style is what inspired many movies. They love the feeling of interlacing light with shadow and neon lights are their favorite elements. Image credit: Cyberpunk conception via Sergii Golotovskiy
Pop Art’s development in the 20th Century was also helped by neon lights. Pop Art is now a thing of the past, but it has had a profound impact on American art. Pop Art is a catalyst for American culture’s modernization. Pop Art was the catalyst for many anti-art movements that emerged in the 1960s, and 1970s. Pop artists were inspired by American consumerism and the blurred neon lights at night. They have incorporated neon art’s brightly colored elements into their artwork.
Art is saved by artists in many different ways
While neon lights are being replaced by energy-saving LED lamps more frequently, it is becoming increasingly difficult to see neon signs on the streets. This causes people to start to miss this culture. Artists from different regions have begun to find ways to save it.
Neon light museums have been set up in many countries and regions to preserve these signs. California’s Museum of Neon Art, located in California, USA, houses a collection of different neon signs. The museum has many neon signs, and you can see them all from different locations. This museum is home to a collection of old, discarded, and abandoned neon signs. Most of the neon signs came from dumps. The museum’s opening has triggered a wave of nostalgia in America. These old custom neon signs reflect the light that once shone in the area in the 20th century. These artifacts have been saved by many artists and curators in Hong Kong. They are important to the identity of Hong Kongers. The M+ Museum is dedicated to collecting neon signs from Hong Kong. This museum collects photos online of neon signs in Hong Kong and also has some demolished signs. It was once a shame that the Sammy restaurant had to demolish the neon cow, but now it is housed in M+.
A temporary art show called “City Street*Signboard” will be held in the vicinity of Oil Street, North Point (Hong Kong Island), from February 24th to May 10th, 2019. The exhibitor believes that neon signs have shaped the urban appearance of Hong Kong over the years. Kevin and Ken, the founders of City Street*Signboards, want to showcase the different characteristics of neon signboards by lighting them up. This will help raise public awareness of the artistic potential of neon lights.
Many artists have found a way to save the neon culture. NameGlo was co-founded by Lena Imamura, Sas Simon, and Lena Imamura in 2014. This company makes custom neon lights. They primarily apply neon lights to interior design. NameGlo’s goal is to make neon signs more than just home decor. The unique thing about NameGlo is its ability to make neon signs transparent and transparent. Customers can then create their neon lights. Lena Imamura said, “Neon signs are still very important to modern art. We hope that by offering services like our company, we can bring the distance between neon signage and customers closer.” It isn’t dead art to use neon art. A neon new york city account was created by someone on ins. Many people consider neon lights to be a symbol of nightlife and economic success. They are also unique art.