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All Lit Up

All Lit Up

Daniel Poole presents “Gods Own Junkyard”, an exhibition in Primrose Hill which sheds light on the work of superstar neonmaker Chris Bracey.

Chris Bracey, aka The Neon Man, is not your average artist. His thick East End accent couldn’t be more real and his connection to Soho is less Groucho Club or Mark’s Bar and more down to the fact that he started out designing and making signs for the area’s strip joints and other dubious establishments in the Seventies.

Bracey’s father, who originally worked as a coalminer in Wales “went from dark to light”, as Chris puts it, when he moved to London and started up a commercial neon and lighting business. After a stint as a graphic designer Chris followed in his old man’s footsteps, and over the last 37 years, has created phosphorescent signage for some of the most exciting projects in film and fashion.

Through his work with directors such as Tim Burton and Stanley Kubrick his designs have illuminated Johnny Depp in Charlie & The Chocolate Factory and Tom Cruise in Eyes Wide Shut, they have also served as glowing backdrops for Vogue shoots and featured in collaborations with David LaChapelle, Alexander McQueen and Vivienne Westwood.

Although he is more the widely respected master craftsman than artiste-about-town Bracey has somewhat of a cult following in the art world and his Mickey Rourke (in his prime) looks means he fits right in in Los Angeles where his work is displayed alongside that of Andy Warhol, Jeff Koons and Roy Lichtenstein at the Guy Hepner gallery.

Bracey’s passion for vintage signs is evident in his own designs, such as “LOVE” and his “Seven Deadly Sins” series, which have a distinctly retro feel, bringing to mind 1950s fairground and circus fixtures and tattoo parlours. He also owns the largest and most sought-after collection of salvaged signs in Europe so if you’re looking for a little or large something to light up the living room, Chris is quite clearly your man.

The exhibition runs until 12 January at Daniel Poole, The Old Hardware Store, 156 Regents Park Road, NW1 8XN –