|Watch Video on Bill:
"Behind-the-Scenes" Bill Concannon's love
for neon began from an early age in the late 60s when he noticed the neon
lights that illuminated his hometown of Hollywood.
was fascinated by the self-parody and irony found in popular culture at the
time," says Concannon.
Concannon took up an apprenticeship with John McLaughlin of Quality Neon in
Long Beach, CA, and at about the same time, he started working for plasma
artist Larry Albright in Venice, CA. In 1975, he established his own neon
studio and sign business in Signal Hill called Aargon Neon.
However, it wasn't until he moved to
the Bay Area that his artistic talent blossomed from the influence of the Funk Art movement. Remaining in the Bay Area, Concannon is currently on the faculty of the Art Academy University in
San Francisco where he teaches neon sculpture. He also occasionally teaches at
the Pilchuck Glass School in Washington State.
Read more about Concannon's movie projects (i.e. Gus Van Sant's film Milk, Back to the Future II, Pixar Cars, One from the Heart, and 1941) here!
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MONA's mission is to encourage learning and curiosity through the preservation, collection, and interpretation of neon art.
MONA is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.
Museum of Neon Art
136 W. 4th Street
Los Angeles, California 90013
by Bill Concannon
Lecture & Demonstration
Saturday, July 17th
See a rare demonstration by Concannon, fabricating the world's
smallest known neon tubing (2.5mm - smaller than angel hair pasta!)
made for the movie
One From the Heart directed by Francis Ford Coppola in 1982. Concannon
will share visuals and anecdotes about his 30-year involvement with the
luminous tube, making neon for commerce, movies and art.
Read Concannon's essay,
"Glass Graphics: The Joy of Signs"
Tickets are FREE FOR MONA MEMBERS/$10 for nonmembers.
|THREE NEW EXHIBITIONS |
ON DISPLAY THROUGH
OCTOBER 31, 2010
Recycled, Reclaimed, and Reinvented:
The Neon Art of Bill Concannon
neon artist Bill Concannon has devoted a lifetime of work to his passion of
neon sign making as an art form. Visitors at MONA can
explore a range of Concannon's neon works and interact with his imaginative and
playful use of found objects, image, and word play.
character as part collector/humorist/mad-scientist/artisan shines throughout
his neon artwork, especially in his life-sized installation, called "Bill's
Bottle Shop." Modeled similar to a
roadside stand, Concannon created a glass sanctuary of vintage glass bottles of
all shapes and sizes that reflect light from glowing neon words flickering
statements such as "Love and Hate." In reference to our consumeristic culture, Concannon says "for a long
time, it's tickled me that glass is at once a very precious (pound per pound)
fine art medium and also a thoughtless, throw-away material: no deposit - no return."
Concannon's sculptures also form a narrative collage where he comments about
consumerism, politics, and the erotic psyche. Examples are the swirling neon man stuck in a jar with the
phrase "Pickled Punk," the GWH Bush as arcade fortune teller with a button to
press that switches neon lights from the words "White In Men Power" to "WIMP",
or the subliminal erotic installation called "Gump's Peony," "Sausage," and
"Hoop," that has neon tubes covered in plastic shopping bags. Concannon comments, "let's face
it, on some level neon is trash, or at least comes from a trash culture. One of the few 'reuses' of
plastic shopping bags is to hold your garbage. No one loves plastic bags, but
when you look at them in this piece they're strangely beautiful."
|"F.OB." (Friends of Bill)|
A group show selected by Concannon,
featuring neon artists:
(Venice, CA) is a mentor and friend of Concannon's, who says Albright is "one
of the funniest people he knows." Albright is most known for his plasma globes and crackle tube neon.
Albright's interest and experimentation with electricity and the noble gases
has spilled over into a variety of applications, including the special effects
world of film and neon for theme parks such as Disneyland, Universal Studios,
Epcott Center, and Expo's all over the world.
(Sun Valley, CA) works as the "go to guy" at Alert Lite-Neon. Aslup creates
surreal neon displays pieced together from "found neon" liberated from
Arlo Fishman (Oakland, CA) comes from a neon family. His father, Jacob Fishman, wrote the book, The Neon Engineer's Notebook. Concannon says that he has encyclopedic
knowledge and his imagination knows no bounds. Fishman is an emerging artist
working with glass and uses a variety of techniques involving blowing,
flameworking, and kiln forming.
O. Johnson (Los Angeles, CA) is a past apprentice of
Concannon and an MFA Graduate from the San Francisco Art Institute. Johnson
uses construction materials to create objects that defy their own nature using
primarily neon and concrete.
Peterson (Oakland, CA) is a colleague of Concannon's and a
very successful neon fabricator/owner of Peterson Neon in which she recently
restored the elaborate neon sign of the Castro Theatre in San Francisco. Her sculptures
often distill the poetry found in the everyday signs we see on the street.
Bruce Suba (Santa Cruz, CA) moves
between his day job making high-tech X-ray tubes and his passion for neon,
plasma, and hot rods in his workshop called Suba Neon.
Ed Tannenbaum(Crockett, CA) is the master of computer controlled video images and has
been working as a media artist for more than thirty years.
is exhibited internationally. For "F.O.B.," he dares to leave pixels
behind and move back to the analog world for his "Red/Green" sculpture
Elyse Weidner (San Francisco, CA), originally a student of Concannon's at the Art Academy in
San Francisco, works with mixed media and neon pieces, and as Concannon says
"has a sweet smile and dark imagination."
Stuart Ziff (Santa Monica, CA) has worked in the motion picture visual and special effects industry on such movies as Air Force One, Jurassic Park, Star
Wars, Total Recall, and Ghostbusters. Ziff's piece called "Buck Rogers" is
one of the first neon art sculptures Concannon ever saw when it was displayed at the 1973 Cal Tech
show entitled, "California Turn On." Read about his work on Imdb.
In the Vestibule Gallery: California Surf
A Black Light Installation by Jerico Woggon
Jerico Woggon has transformed our gallery's long corridor into a giant ocean swell with rays of sunlight that glow at night. Born and raised in Summerland, CA, surfing was a childhood activity that became Woggon's passion into adulthood. He currently lives in Downtown LA, and still derives inspiration from images related to nature, the beach and surfing. Visit Woggon's website at www.cherrymeltdown.com. Continuing the surf
theme in our lobby gallery are works by Richard Ankrom, Norton Wisdom, Larry
Manson, and Randy Noborikawa.
|Take the MONA Neon Cruise |
MONA's tour guide, Eric Lynxwiler,
was recently named "Mr. Saturday Night" in
LA Weekly's 60 Most Interesting People
The neon cruise will be on for this Sat. June 19th and
Sat. June 26th. (Come to MONA's opening, then hop on the cruise!)
Make sure to reserve your spot by ordering online
at www.neonmona.org or pay by phone at 213-489-9918.