I confess that I had not heard of Chris Bracey ('the Neon Man') until I read his obituary. However, as a fan of neon (see blog entry below on the centenary of neon) I found his story interesting. As a young man he worked for his father's company Electro Signs making neon signs for circuses and amusement arcades; Chris' innovation was to take the business to Soho and the sex industry. For 20 years he supplied the neon 'glamour' for sex shops and clubs. In the 1980s an art director of film saw him erecting a sex shop sign and commissioned him to do work for film sets - his work has been used in Batman, Blade Runner, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Eyes Wide Shut and many others. In 1998 he saw the Bruce Nauman exhibition at the Hayward Gallery and was astonished to discover that neon works could be art! Since then, in addition to his own creations he has made work for artists including Martin Creed (the whole world + the work = the whole world). To be sure Bracey's own work is more kitch and 'Vegas' than Nauman or Creed, but his workshop and collection - "God's Own Junkyard" in Walthamstow looks like an amazing place.
Read obituaries in The Guardian and The Telegraph.
Vlick on images to enlarge.