TIME AND PLACE:
Doors: 11am – 6pm
@ Lights of Soho, 35 Brewer Street, London W1F 0RX
It’s a year since the magical light impresario and neon artist Chris Bracey so very sadly passed away from prostate cancer. 12 months on, his presence still acutely felt at Gods Own Junkyard in Walthamstow, Bracey’s remaining family of neon makers officially showcase their own work for the very first time at Lights of Soho.
At a time when development plans outlined by Soho Estates race ahead and £10 cocktail tipples are named after famous prostitutes, Linda explains that for this show, the family has reflected on their own interpretations on the area. Each member has created work that riffs on the iconography of Soho itself as well as a trajectory of Gods Own Junkyard’s relationship with this particular stretch over the last six decades. Linda explains, “Soho was where Chris’ career started and Dick, his father worked here too. They both loved the area, my sons grew-up working here and the grandchildren have grown-up hearing edited versions of Soho.” She reminisces on the palpable frisson of energy and naughtiness missing today. The red lights, pieces of cardboard advertising ‘Models Upstairs’, or ‘Photographers Studio’, lights blazing with ‘Peep Show’, and half-naked girls peeking out of doors, most of them are restaurants and tapas bars now.
Chris Bracey inherited the family business from his father, Dick (Bracey), who he worked alongside for over three decades, evolving the Gods Own Junkyard brand and forging a dazzling career as a neon artist as well as working on iconic films such as Bladerunner and Eyes Wide Shut, a few movie classics among so many others during his 40 years in neon. Dick Bracey was a former coalminer from the Welsh valleys, who moved to London after World War Two where he found work as an electrician after learning the trade in the Royal Navy. In 1952, Dick Bracey started Electro Signs producing neon, fairground and amusement arcade signage. After many years in the family business, Chris and Linda finally realized a long held dream and started Gods Own Junkyard in 2005 and opened their studio of artworks to the public in 2009.
— lightsofsoho (@lightsofsoho) November 26, 2015