Fragment No.4 (Ming)
48" x 60" | Oil on Canvas | 2017
Neon signs are a part of the city’s cultural and commercial legacy and heritage in San Francisco. The surviving neon signs are usually commissioned from small business, which is important to support amidst gentrification. Neon signs are generally made by a local shop and designed by a local designer. The letterforms are done by hand, and there is an acknowledgement of artistic legacy for crafts people in San Francisco. Neon signs can even be used as a graphic design reference because of their unique characteristics. For example, Tom Sanders of Roadside Relics in Austin, Texas can differentiate cities by letter styles of neon because he is aware or involved with the people that fabricated it. He can notice the difference between a New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Las Vegas sign. Older letterforms are harder to come by in cities now that text is becoming more digitized. These historic signs are a rejection of gentrification in that they are born within the city they dwell.
A fragment of a neon sign in Chinatown, San Francisco inspired this piece. This Chinese character meaning “Ming” translates to light, intelligence, and enlightenment.
Artist: Lauren Szabo
Show: Iconographic Drift Lauren Szabo