For most of my 7 years in the neon biz, all of my close colleagues have been male and much older than me. Even my international social media connections with others in the industry were overwhelmingly male. I knew of only one other female in the Bay Area that made neon. Through the years however, I have made connections with other females my age that are actually "in the fires" in some capacity.
Some work at neon shops, some pay rent at others' shops. I have had the great pleasure of talking to some who are building their own shops. I've discovered a thread of females from New York that all know each other. Some teach workshops and classes. When I found some that utilized neon in their work by way of a relationship or commission by a bender, I realized that they are extremely knowledgeable of the medium, able to professionally install the work themselves while aware of high voltage and all of the do's and don't of working with this crazy stuff.
It's a kindred sort of thing, to discover another female bender elbowing her way through the predominantly male medium, going through the same challenges and victories, together. Call it a sisterhood. I've always wanted to honor the females of the industry by curating an exhibition just for them.
I'm excited to announce that I have that very opportunity with the Museum of Neon Art in Los Angeles. Many of these women are those that I've made connections with over the years while others are new friendships forged through the research and work towards the exhibit. We will be featuring artists from the U.S as well as international artists from Argentina, Japan, London, Berlin and Australia.
The exhibition will run from the night of our opening, September 16th, 2017, until February of 2018. We hope to publish a catalog or magazine featuring all of the artists in the exhibit. The magazine will talk about their processes, experiences and feature images of them working in the studio. During the months leading up to the exhibit, I will be introducing these artists one by one through my journal and instagram posts. Please join along and learn about the artists and about neon. Here are some more peaks for now, though: