This London Gallery Is Keeping The Dying Art Of Neon Signs Alive

London gallery “God’s Own Junkyard” is filled with hundreds of bright neon artworks and kitsch memorabilia that shine a light on the luminescent craft. Situated in Unit 12 of Ravenswood Industrial Estate, Shernhall Street, London, the gallery houses an array of neon light designs that please the eye of visitors from across the city and outside. Here are glimpses of some of these magical lights surrounded generally with visitors buzzing around them to click selfies clicked and have a good time with their friends.   

1. A couple laugh as they cuddle on a sofa looking at the neon signs and artworks in God’s Own Junkyard gallery and cafe in London, Britain. 

Reuters

On the flick of a flurry of switches, a studio on a grey industrial estate in East London lights up to reveal hundreds of bright neon artworks.

2. Third generation neon light artist Marcus Bracey poses for a portrait. Owned by 43-year-old artist Marcus Bracey.

Reuters

 The gallery in Walthamstow, called ‘God’s Own Junkyard’, houses the collection of four generations of his family who have made, bought and displayed neon works.

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  • 3. Neon signs that read ‘Off Your Skulls’, ‘Back Street Love’, ‘Soho Revue Bar’, ‘Beer Girls Porn’ and ‘Stateside’ are exhibited in God’s Own Junkyard. 

    Reuters

    The pieces are accompanied by kitsch memorabilia that Bracey has collected from film sets and car boot sales across Britain, leaving just enough room for a narrow winding aisle for visitors to navigate their way through the gallery.

    4. Neon signs are seen at the entrance to God’s Own Junkyard at dusk. 

    Reuters

    “This is my neon emporium, my museum of light, my Aladdin’s cave,” Bracey told Reuters from the centre of the high-ceilinged studio which runs up an electricity bill of over 700 pounds ($900) a week.

    5. Neon bender Nick Ellwood heats glass tubes to bend them to shape as he makes neon artworks in God’s Own Junkyard workshop.

    Reuters

    6. A triple distilled ball of mercury is seen in a glass tube as neon tubes are made in God’s Own Junkyard workshop. 

    Reuters

    Bracey’s new works, which take around six weeks to make with neon moulded over 800 degree burners, now sit alongside those of his 17-year-old daughter Amber, a graffiti artist and next in line to take over the family business.

    7. A newly design neon sign artwork is tested for colour on a bench in the workshop.

    Reuters

    8. Neon bender Nick Ellwood blows into glass tubes to maintain their shape as he bends them.

    Reuters

    9.The control panel for the pump that is used for creating the vacuum and filling glass tubes with the correct gasses needed to create the different colours in neon artworks. The neon pump is over 30 years old. 

    Reuters

    10. A newly bent section of neon tube is placed against the original design drawings.

    Reuters

    11. Neon bender Nick Ellwood uses a pump to vacuum out neon tubes to remove impurities.

    Reuters

    12. Neon artwork is exhibited in God’s Own Junkyard gallery. 

    Reuters

    Some of Bracey’s works have appeared in films, including “Mission Impossible” and “Eyes Wide Shut”, or decorated department stores, namely London’s Selfridges, while others have been bought by celebrities such as Kate Moss.

    13. A neon sign that reads ‘Sweet Like Chocolate’.

    Reuters

     The earliest pieces in the showroom, often used for film shoots, date back to the 1950s, when Marcus’s grandfather left his job as a miner in Wales to join a lighting company and eventually make signs for carnivals across Britain. “He left the dark and came into the light,” Bracey said.

    14. A neon sign that reads ‘Thrills’. Numerous sex shop signs can also be found.

    Reuters

    The Pieces made in the 1980s by Marcus’s father Chris who flooded London’s seedy Soho sex shops with a swath of fluorescent neon signs in a bid to turn the area into a replica of Las Vegas.

    15. A neon light that reads ‘EATS’. Bracey recently sold a large God Save the Queen neon sign in front of a heart-shaped British.

    Reuters

    Union Jack, flag for 58,000 pounds ($74,700) at auction to a buyer in Dubai. A replica is on display at God’s Own Junkyard, which Bracey opened with his father Chris in 2008 after running out of space at home to store the family’s work.

    16. Visitors look at the neon signs and artworks. Bracey, however, isn’t ready to step away from his neon wonderland just yet.

    Reuters

     “The buzz, the feel, the happiness. To turn it on and see what it looks like,” he said of the excitement he gets every time he flicks on those switches.

    17. A neon sign that reads ‘I love you’.

    Reuters

    18. A neon light in the shape of a gun.

    Reuters

    19. A neon sign that reads ‘BOOM’. 

    Reuters

    20. A neon light in the shape of a motorcycle.

    Reuters

    21. Jon Blake, curator of Gods Own Junkyard and family friend to third generation neon light artist Marcus Bracey sits with some of the exhibits.

    Reuters

    22. Neon signs that reads ‘Box Office’ and Crystal Pool’. 

    Reuters

    23. Tourists pose for pictures.

    Reuters

    24. A neon sign that reads ‘Fetish’.

    Reuters

    25. A neon sign that reads ‘The Dogs Bollocks’. 

    Reuters

    26. A neon sign that reads ‘Beer, Girls, Porn’ is reflected in an old Police Box.

    Reuters

    27. People take pictures of neon signs and artworks. 

    Reuters

    28. A neon sign that reads ‘Amour’ (Love).

    Reuters

    29. A woman takes a picture of neon signs while sitting on a sofa. 

    Reuters

    30. People pose as they take pictures of each other.

    Reuters

    With Inputs Reuters

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