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From Neon Art to Street Signage: The Role of Neon in NZ Culture

2 minutes read

Neon has been a fascinating aspect of art and culture for many decades. The intricate designs, vibrant colours and glowing effect of neon have attracted us to its mesmerizing appeal. In New Zealand, neon art has been used in various forms, from street signage to artwork. The role of neon in NZ culture is significant and far-reaching.

In early New Zealand, neon was used primarily for street signage. In the 1920s, neon signs started appearing on the streets of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch to advertise various businesses. These signs quickly became an iconic aspect of the urban landscape and a symbol of progress. Neon lights were a trademark of the bustling city and signified modernity and innovation.

As time passed, neon art started seeping into the cultural realm. This is where neon's versatility was truly appreciated. From the brightly lit cafes and shops to the darker art galleries, neon found a home in various forms of art. Today, neon art is a flourishing industry, with artists creating unique arrangements of glowing lights to create fascinating visual effects.

One of the most iconic uses of neon art in New Zealand is the Sky Tower in Auckland. This tower is visible from almost anywhere in the city, and it is known for its stunning neon lights. The Sky Tower's neon lighting system has been designed to showcase a variety of light shows, from simple patterns to more complex arrangements, creating a visual feast on the Auckland skyline.

Another instance of the use of neon art in NZ culture is the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Waikato Hospital, Hamilton. In this ward, neon lights were installed to provide a calming environment for babies who were struggling with a variety of health conditions. The neon lights emit a soft blue glow, and studies have shown that this helps calm and soothe patients.

Neon art has also found a place in the world of entertainment. In recent years, music festivals and concerts have embraced neon visuals to create an immersive experience for the audience. The vibrant colours and intricate designs of neon lights have helped create a unique atmosphere, making the concerts all the more memorable.

In conclusion, neon has become an essential aspect of New Zealand culture. From its early days as street signage to its current use in art, entertainment and healthcare, neon has played a significant role in shaping the country's urban landscape. The distinctive visual effect of neon is timeless and continues to captivate people's imaginations. As neon art continues to evolve and find new avenues of expression, its place in NZ culture will further solidify.

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