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A Neon Renaissance: Exploring the Resurgence of Neon Art in NZ

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As art forms come and go, it is always fascinating to see a resurgence in popularity for a medium that may have been overlooked in previous decades. Such is the case with neon art in New Zealand, which is experiencing a renaissance thanks to a number of talented artists.

Neon art has been a staple of the New Zealand art scene since the 1980s, with famous local artists like Peter Roche and Michael Parekowhai incorporating neon into their works. However, in recent years, the art form has seen a renewed interest, with a new generation of artists exploring the unique possibilities of neon.

Part of the appeal is no doubt the striking visual effect of neon tubes glowing against a dark background, drawing the viewer's eye and creating an otherworldly atmosphere. However, the medium also presents unique technical challenges, as the gas-filled tubes must be carefully shaped and manipulated to create the desired shapes and colors.

One artist at the forefront of this neon resurgence is Keryn Sweeney, who has been working with neon for over a decade. Her works range from abstract patterns to intricate figurative compositions, with each piece meticulously crafted to create the desired effect.

Another up-and-coming artist is Marcus Watson, whose work often explores ideas of identity and culture in modern New Zealand. His neon pieces incorporate both Maori and Pacific Island motifs, using bright colors and intricate shapes to create a sense of vibrant energy.

It is not just individual artists who are driving the neon renaissance, either. In 2020, a collective of neon artists came together to create the Neon Night Market in Auckland, which showcased a variety of neon works and provided a platform for artists to sell their pieces directly to the public.

It is clear that the resurgence of neon in New Zealand is not just a passing fad, but a reflection of the enduring appeal of this unique and striking art form. As more artists continue to explore the possibilities of neon, we can expect to see even more exciting and innovative works emerge in the years to come.

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