A homage to neon signs – in pictures

By Kathryn Bromwich

For Terry Thompson, neon signs are an obsession. Over the past 16 years, the San Francisco-based artist has driven all over the States looking for interesting signs, immortalising them in a series of oil paintings inspired by Edward Hopper and Ed Ruscha. “To me, old signs are handmade sculptures,” he says. “The neon is hand-bent by artisans, and they're often hand-painted. Some have been around since the 1930s.” Not everyone shares his enthusiasm. “I've become painfully aware that they're rapidly disappearing. For some people, they are only eyesores that represent something dirty. To me, the old signs show their age and history, whether it's an art deco font or a shape reminiscent of the space age.”

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