Fading Luminance: How International Artists Are Reviving Neon Traditions

Many neon sign-makers in Hong Kong expressed concern recently that the art of making neon signs will be gradually lost. In the past, neon signs were still visible on streets in Hong Kong. However, LED lights are slowly replacing them. Master Wu Zhikai, one of Hong Kong’s few remaining neon sign makers, is a master at making them. He has been creating neon signs for over 30 years.

In an interview with Xinhuanet, Master Hu Zhikai stated that he began making neon lights when he was 17. He has now moved his studio to a Kwai Chung industrial building. It is only 30 square meters in size, making it a little too cramped for neon lights. Hu Zhikai received only a few orders this month. Liu Wen is also a Hong Kong custom neon signs manufacturer and a friend of Hu Zhikai. He expressed concern that the craft might be lost.

Hu Zhikai is a neon sign expert and the second-youngest neon sign specialist in Hong Kong. However, none of the remaining ten neon sign experts have anything to offer them. Hu Zhikai stated that “like any industry if there is a boom, there will always be new blood.” “If there is no one joining the industry, there will not be any business.”

Frequently, neon signs are being destroyed around the globe

Sir William Ramsay, a prominent Scottish chemist, discovered a gas that could resist liquefaction and turn bright red when electrified. This gas was called “neon” by Ramsay. My country’s first neon advertisement was placed on the window at Evans Library, Nanjing East Road in Shanghai in 1926. My country’s first neon lamp was made in Shanghai Far East Chemical Manufacturing Factory in 1927 and used at Shanghai Central Hotel. My country’s neon lights developed gradually over the 1930s. In 1949, the country had more than 30 factories producing neon lights. However, neon lights are slowly disappearing from people’s eyes.

The unique cultural landscape of Hong Kong is represented by billboards made from neon lights. The neon lights that sway in the overlapping direction signal the excitement and prosperity of Hong Kong. First-time visitors to Hong Kong will be able to see the brightly colored neon lights and appreciate the bright night. Many Hong Kongers see neon signs as more than just a way to do business. They also represent Hong Kong’s culture, film, and television consumption. Wong Kar-wai directed “Chongqing Forest” (Fallen Angels) and neon lights played an important part in the creation of the story and in shaping the psychology of the characters.

The iconic neon cow hanging from Hong Kong’s Western District steakhouse has been a landmark. Sammy Restaurant is the name of this restaurant. This neon sign was created by a master because he believed that a cow with longer legs would look better. The sign featured an Angus cow, which was the first to have four long legs and is the only one of its kind in the world. The Hong Kong Buildings Department decided to take down the signboard in 2011. It was destroyed in August 2015. In Hong Kong, neon lights started to fade in the 1990s. According to the master who created the neon signs, Hong Kong’s architectural planning has become more rigid. New billboards now feature LED lights that don’t have the warmth of neon. However, LED lights are more affordable, require less maintenance, and last longer.

Before neon lights were a popular feature in Shanghai, they were also very prominent. A famous poem about a bamboo branch in Shanghai was “How bright are trees and silver flowers” and it was widely shared. The electric halo can be used as to signpost, and there are thousands of stars all around. This poem depicts Shanghai’s night scene. Shanghai’s nightlife is lively thanks to the dazzling lights. You can now see historic neon signs in Shanghai. However, these signs are rare. Victor Chiang, a photographer from Shanghai, was fascinated by Shanghai’s neon night scene and took many photos of Shanghai at night. You can see old streets filled with neon lights in many photos. We can’t see the “authentic” neon lights in many photos.

The glory days of neon lights are gone in the west. Vancouver, Canada was once called the “Neon Capital”. Numerous advertisements were advertised using neon lights in 1950. The decorations outside churches also featured neon lights. Vancouver’s neon lights were the first to be produced in the entire world at that time. There was an average of one neon sign per 18 people, and 12 factories. This was also the location of the largest neon light in all of history. However, the decline of neon lights has not been caused by commercial technology.

Neon lights have a unique artistic value

In 1910, the Paris Motor Show was the first to see neon lights. The neon lights that adorned the exterior of the building emitted different colors than usual and attracted the attention of everyone present. The best place to use neon lights indoors is in commercial areas or street signs. Barbershops are the most popular use for neon lights, which then spread to other parts of the city. Because of Paris’ urban atmosphere, neon lights are a good match. The United States was soon able to import neon lights. Many neon lights were used to decorate signs at the New York World Fair, in 1939. Numerous companies also used neon lights to promote products.

Neon lights are not only a commercial success, but they also play a part in the “political propaganda” of Eastern European countries. The Soviet Union began to “neonate” Eastern European capitals in the 1960s as a way of gaining strength against Western countries. Many public buildings in Warsaw are adorned with neon lights. Eastern European citizens can see interesting scenes when they look around the globe. They see not only old-fashioned political slogans but also lots of neon-lit propaganda posters.

The use of neon lights is not only decorative but also artistic. Many science fiction novels have used neon lights as their background. This has greatly encouraged the growth of cyberpunk art. Because of their bright colors, neon lights have become an iconic backdrop for sci-fi cyberpunk movies. They can display a variety of strong contrasts simultaneously: the opposition between prosperity, decadence, interlacing future and reality, and the contrast between rich & poor. This makes people feel that time and space are interlaced.

Cyberpunk is a genre of science fiction that depicts “a mixture of high technology, low life” and other aspects of cyberspace. Cyberpunk authors try to combine elements from detective novels and film noir to show a hidden side of digital society in 20th-century America. Cyberpunk’s dystopian future is seen as the opposite of what people imagined in the middle of the 20th century. The style of cyberpunk is why the adaptations of movies love the interlacing of light and shadow. Neon lights are often the elements they choose. Image credit: Cyberpunk conception via Sergii Golotovskiy

Pop Art was also encouraged by neon lights in the 20th century. Pop Art is now history but its impact on American art has been immense. Pop Art is an important booster for American culture’s development. Pop Art is the reason that many anti-art movements emerged in America during the 1960s and 70s. Pop artists were influenced not only by the standard advertisements in magazines and TV but also by the blurred neon lights at night. The brightly colored elements of neon art have been incorporated into the work of these artists.

Art is saved by artists in many ways

Even though neon lights have been replaced by LED energy-saving lamps and are becoming harder to spot on the streets, people start to lose this type of culture. Artists and regions around the world use different methods to preserve it.

To preserve neon light signs, many countries and regions have created neon light museums. California’s Museum of Neon Art (Museum of Neon Art), has a variety of neon signs. You will find many neon signs in different positions throughout the museum when you enter. The museum contains a collection of old and disused neon signs that were discarded. Most of the neon signs were found in abandoned buildings. This old collection of neon signs shows the light that once shined in the city during the past century. Many artists and curators in Hong Kong are working to save such art. Because neon lights played an important part in Hong Kong’s identity, The M+ Museum, a museum that collects custom neon signs in Hong Kong, is called this. This museum is a collection of photos and demolished neon signs from Hong Kong. Although the Sammy restaurant’s neon cow was destroyed in a tragedy, it is now housed at the M+ museum.

An art exhibit called “City Street*Signboard”, which is taking place near Oil Street, North Point on Hong Kong Island, will be held from February 24 through May 10, 2019. According to the exhibitors, neon signs have been a part of Hong Kong’s history for many generations, shaping its urban appearance. Through the installation of “City Street*Signboards”, Ken and Kevin, founders, and architects, hope to highlight the many characteristics of neon signboards to increase public awareness about the artistic value of neon lights.

Many artists have come up with a new way to save the neon culture. NameGlo was founded by Lena Imamura and Sas Simon in 2014. They specialize in custom neon lighting, which is used primarily for interior design. NameGlo wants neon signs to be more than just decorative items. NameGlo’s unique feature is that it makes the process of creating custom neon signs transparent and transparent. This allows customers to create neon lights in their artistic style. Lena Imamura stated that neon sign art has a great deal of significance for modern art. She hopes that services such as ours will bring the distance between customers and neon signs closer. The art of neon art is not dead. On ins, someone created an account for neon new york city. Neon lights are a symbol of nightlife, economic prosperity, and unique art in the hearts of many.

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