The Hong Kong neon artist teaching his craft to a new generation – can he help it survive the onslaught of LEDs?


Jive Lau Ho-fai teaches neon-bending workshops at Kowloneon, a neon workspace in Kwun Tong, Hong Kong. Photo: Connor Mycroft

From the South China Morning Post: Neon signs have been drawing the eye in Hong Kong for more than a century, a familiar sight in the city’s nightscape advertising everything from pharmacies and seafood restaurants to topless bars and saunas.

In the past 20 years, though, most of Hong Kong’s neon signage has been removed, either for safety reasons or because of the increased popularity of cheap, more energy-efficient LEDs.

One of the most well-known signs to have come down recently was that promoting the Koon Nam Wah Bridal store in Yau Ma Tei, in August.

“It’s really sad, it was so iconic,” says Jive Lau Ho-fai, 39, who runs the Kowloneon workshop, in Kwun Tong, East Kowloon, where customers can make their own neon sign or piece of art in one- or four-day workshops.

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Berlin Officials Discuss Historic Sign Restoration


Members of the Berlin Historic District Commission discussed restoring the old advertisements on each side of this Pitts Street building. Photo by Charlene Sharpe

From The Dispatch: BERLIN– Officials voiced support for the concept of repainting two old advertising signs in Berlin following a similar project in Snow Hill.

Members of the Berlin Historic District Commission this week voiced their support for seeing two antique advertisements, painted on the sides of the building at 11 Pitts St., restored. In Snow Hill, a similar project that restored the “ghost sign” advertising the G.M. Dryden General Merchandise store was just completed.

“With all of the activity on Pitts Street, it would really add to that,” said John Holloway, a historic district commission member.

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This 64-Year-Old North Beach Topless Bar Wants to Become a Legacy Business


Getty Images/iStockphoto

From Eater San Francisco: Columbus Avenue is home to many key players in the San Francisco dining world, places including the tourist-swamped the Stinking Rose and the larger-than-life Tosca, as well as the new and bold Cassava. That list includes the Condor, possibly the first topless bar in America and current contender for the city’s Legacy Business Registry. The San Francisco Chronicle reports the Historic Preservation Commission advanced the measure to commemorate and financially support the Condor to the Small Business Commission earlier this week.

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Shelton NEON Project lights up nostalgia one sign at a time


Courtesy: Cooper Studios

From seattlerefined: A Shelton artist has lovingly restored and reilluminated historic neon signs in downtown Shelton and plans to do more.

Forrest Cooper learned neon glass blowing and repair while pursuing a bachelor’s degree from Northwest College of Art in Poulsbo.

“I actually was really into industrial sculpture and using light as a medium,” he said.

Cooper interned with a local neon artist and, after graduation, went to work
for him.

“He showed me everything about neon, about the processing, about glass blowing and everything that goes with it,” said Cooper. “I ended up working there for a good three years. So, it was always an interest of mine, but it was also just another medium of creating.”

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The death of the American shopping mall – in pictures


Phillip Buehler

From The Guardian: Photographer Phillip Buehler captured the last stages of life of a New Jersey mall in a sad and insightful set of images showing how shopping has shifted from the physical to the digital. His work is being showcased at an exhibition entitled Malls of America, now on display at Footnote in Gowanus, Brooklyn, until 18 November

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A Canadian Photographer Found A New Creative Angle On The Iconic American Diner


Leah Frances

From BuzzFeed News: When Donald Trump was talking about a return to the past as he announced his bid for the White House in 2015, parallel to his rhetoric, photographer Leah Frances decided to go on a journey into America’s obsession with nostalgia and what that concept meant to her.

Growing up in Canada, Frances found American diners to be charming artifacts that she remembered seeing in movies and TV shows. The establishments often sport neon signs, bright color palettes, and period furniture.

For Frances, seeking out these eateries became a peaceful oasis during turbulent times after the 2016 presidential election. The project lasted for years and the nostalgia of ’50s-themed diners had a different effect during pandemic lockdowns and racial justice protests of 2020.

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