A few years ago, I got calls from 2 “assistant producers” of TV companies looking into developing a reality TV show starring a neon bender. Like a schmuck, I gave them a reasoned outline of my craft. I talk with my client, establish what they need. I then went into the process of making the glass…yada…yada…yada…
Pregnant silence… I instantly knew, I lost my audience. No soup for me!
They wanted an asshole who would swear and throw glass around the shop in frustration and anger. Now, I not saying I am not an asshole, but, I generally accept that I will mess up a bend and have to start over. After 17 years, I still make the dumbest bending mistakes.
What are dumb bending mistakes?
Most involve losing focus on what I am doing. This might lead to a section of hot glass just nicking a cool section. Even if it does not break the cool glass right away, eventually it will break. Usually, it entails hearing a “PING” across the room 2 hours later. A ping is break. You are a bad boy!
So I have 2 choices…either “cut out” the broken section or remake the unit entirely. Well, heck, I’m a pro, that repair is nothing…couple of minutes and I’m good. That’s good until my hand torch causes the adjoining bend to crack as well. You get the picture. At what point do you admit you fucked up and re-bend the whole thing? For me, not until 2 hours have passed, and have committed way to much time and energy on this dumbass word to stop.
At that point, I could easily exhibit behavior that would make an assistant producer of “American Bender” proud!
There are more charming mistakes…but heck, I am hoping you become a client…I don’t want you write me off for being a bozo.
To the point, the difficulty in craft of bending neon has resulted there being so few benders left in the US. Like this story, I am way too committed to the craft to be deterred by challenges it presents.
I like your attitude, it equals passion which every artist has, or should have.
I have a porcelain Ford Tractor sign, like the one you have in your gallery. At one time it was originally a part of a double sided neon sign.
I want to turn it into a single sided neon sign and and will replace (with matching paint) the word TRACTOR with MODEL A as I am a Model A owner.
Since there is no shell, just the flat porcelain sign, I want to fabricate the surrounding shell myself out of steel and perhaps a plywood back.
I can send you photos and measurements of the sign as it is now. I plan to hang this sign indoors and not in the weather. I would be interested in your thoughts on my ideas and I’d like to get an idea of the cost of the neon work in 3 colors.
Thanks very much,