NEON MUSEUM TO HOST TWO EVENTS SHOWCASING SIGN PAINTERS’ CONTRIBUTIONS
TO THE ART OF SIGNMAKING IN SEPTEMBER
Film Screening and Panel Discussion Part of PRISM® TV Times of the Signs Lecture Series Sponsored by CenturyLink
The Neon Museum will host two PRISM® TV Times of the Signs Lecture Series events sponsored by CenturyLink in September. The first event, on Thursday, Sept. 10, will be a screening of Sign Painters, a documentary by Faythe Levine and Sam Macon, at the UNLV Marjorie Barrick Museum Auditorium. The second event takes place on Tuesday, Sept. 16, and will be a panel discussion at the Neon Museum titled, “Unsigned Heroes: Sign Painters’ Art and Stories.” Both events are part of the museum’s public education series, which takes place in the famous Neon Boneyard and brings illuminating lectures, panel discussions, presentations and performances to the community.
“Las Vegas signs are most famous for their neon adornment, but the signs themselves would be far less spectacular without the work of the industry’s skilled sign painters,” says Danielle Kelly, executive director, Neon Museum. “This upcoming panel will offer insight into all aspects of the intriguing tradition of hand-painted sign fabrication.”
Participants in the Sept. 16 panel discussion will be:
Geoffrey Ellis is a photographer and graphic designer. He is co-founder of the Vegas Vernacular Project and founder of the Las Vegas Camera Club. In 2013, he earned an MFA degree in photography from the University of Hartford Art School. He was also a recipient of the 2007 James D. Phelan Art Award in photography and the 2014 Beth Block Juror’s award from the Houston Center of Photography. In addition, he publishes the photo-zines Sadkids and Get Off My Lawn. He has lived in Southern California, Florida, Memphis, San Jose, Calif., San Francisco and Las Vegas. He currently splits his time between San Francisco’s Mission District and Downtown Las Vegas.
Faythe Levine is an artist, photographer, filmmaker and curator based in Milwaukee, Wisc. She is the founder of Art vs. Craft and curates Sky High Gallery. Levine’s first film and book, Handmade Nation: The Rise of DIY, Art, Craft, and Design was published by Princeton Architectural Press. She co-directed Sign Painters, which stylistically explores the unacknowledged art form of hand-painted signs through anecdotal accounts from artists across the country. The film celebrates artisans keeping the 150-year-old sign-painting tradition alive with a bespoke approach and appreciation for achieving balance between art and information.
Sam Macon is a Milwaukee-born, Chicago-based filmmaker, photographer and writer. He received his BFA in film from the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee and directs music videos, commercials, short films and documentaries. Macon co-directed Sign Painters with Faythe Levine.
Bryan McCormick has been making pictures off and mostly on for the last 30 years. He has a BA in Art History from the University of Toronto, where he graduated with distinction. He completed his Ph.D. coursework in Art History as an Excellence Fellow at Rutgers. In the late ‘80s, he left academia to work in the then-new field of interactive software, landing eventually at ABC News as a developer in the first broadcast multimedia unit in the United States. He has won awards from ID Magazine, Art Directors Club of New York and a Codie for his work as a creative director. Together with Mark Johnson and Geoffrey Ellis, McCormick co-founded the Vegas Vernacular Project, which documented the lesser-loved commercial signage around the Valley over a two-year period.
Mark Oatis has 42 years of experience in the sign industry, beginning with his enrollment in Sign and Pictorial Painters L.U. No. 1045 in 1972. He served a five-year union apprenticeship and graduated as a Journeyman. He is a founding member of The Letterheads, a trade organization dedicated to education and the dissemination of traditional sign methods, principles and techniques. He has worked in all phases of the sign industry, including sign design, sign painting, billboard painting, mural painting and electrical sign design and fabrication. In addition, Oatis is the recipient of more than 60 international awards for excellence in sign design, including 11 first-place awards in the annual ST design competition, as well as awards from the Society for Environmental Graphic Design and the Themed Entertainment Association.
The Sign Painters screening at the Marjorie Barrick Museum on Sept. 10 takes place at 7:30 p.m. and is free. For the Sept. 16 panel discussion at the Neon Museum, doors open to the general public at 5:30 p.m. and the discussion, followed by a question-and-answer session, begins promptly at 6 p.m. Immediately following the panel, Faythe Levine and Sam Macon will sign copies of their book, “Sign Painters,” in the La Concha lobby. A cash bar serving wine, beer, soda and water will be available.
Admission for the Sept. 16 event is $12 per person and attendees must reserve their spot by registering at http://tinyurl.com/UnsignedHeroes. Available seats will be allocated on a first-come, first-serve basis. Museum Members receive free admission to the program and will receive a special link to pre-register before the general public.
For more information about Times of the Signs events, go to www.NeonMuseum.org or call (702) 387-6366.
ABOUT THE NEON MUSEUM
Founded in 1996, the Neon Museum is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization dedicated to collecting, preserving, studying and exhibiting iconic Las Vegas signs for educational, historic and cultural enrichment. In addition to an approximately two-acre Neon Museum campus, which includes the outdoor exhibition space known as the Neon Boneyard, the museum also encompasses a visitors’ center housed inside the former La Concha Motel lobby; the Neon Boneyard North Gallery, a separate outdoor exhibition space which is open for educational programs, photography shoots, weddings and special events; as well as nine restored signs installed as public art throughout downtown Las Vegas. Public education, outreach, research, archival preservation and a grant-funded neon sign survey represent a selection of the museum’s ongoing projects. Both the Neon Boneyard and the La Concha Visitors’ Center are located at 770 Las Vegas Blvd. North in Las Vegas. For more information, visit www.NeonMuseum.org.