A Moment with Neon Artist, Kate Hush
This December Industrial Color Brands is hosting an exhibition with Brooklyn-based neon artist, Kate Hush. As New Yorkers, we are hit with neon signs on almost every block, but not very often do these pieces catch your eye quite like Kate’s do. We chatted with the artist to learn more about how it’s done and where the inspiration for her femme fatale-esque characters comes from.
If you haven’t yet, please RSVP to attend the opening on December 1st.
How did you get started with working with neon?
I had been making faux neon designs digitally for quite a while and was settled on sticking to the screen, never thinking I’d ever do anything with glass. Then I received a gift to attend a weekend neon workshop through Brooklyn Glass and Precision Neon a few years ago. I never left and now run the neon studio and teach the same workshops I attended.
Walk us through the process of building 1 piece for this show.
I stay awake beyond a reasonable hour sketching out versions of whatever scenario I’ve imagined on the computer. Nothing is done in pencil, ever. By doing these illustrations digitally I’m able to keep them compact within the monitor, but at the same time in full scale. I sketch with lines that are the same width as the glass I want to use. This allows me to see if what I’m creating will actually be bendable in a particular diameter of tubing (for instance, if the lines are too fat to get the detail I want I either have to change the design, or the width of my strokes). When satisfied I print my final design out at the neon studio on special high heat bending paper using a plotter. Then the glass I’ve chosen is placed over a concentrated flame, heated, and bent to match the pattern that I’ve created. What I’ve drawn is essentially being traced in glass. I then run around bombarding and filling the units with gas, painting out the connections you’re not meant to see, and mounting/installing them.
What is the creative community like in Brooklyn?
I’m sure they’re wonderful, if I ever have a chance to leave the neon shop and congregate with some of them I’ll let you know. Working here full time, teaching classes, and doing my art has left me in this neon bubble that’s hard to bust out of. The neon artists I work with here have been great though.
Do you find that Brooklyn influences your work?
I can’t really say as of yet that I’ve really made anything where a certain experience in the borough was it’s definite catalyst. It’s only been about 6 years for me here which is a flash in the pan, but New York City as a whole I know has influenced a lot of art across a wide spectrum of mediums that has had a definite impact on me.
What’s the story behind “You Mighty Men”?
I’m a bit reticent about discussing the exact intention I have when creating my work. I like people to take away their own version of the story behind a piece. But I will say this show was definitely inspired by both the bravado and shit talking I sometimes see from a certain sex and the turgid claims they make against women. I think if they actually were faced with what they speak of, they would back down fast. So this show is me giving them what they claim is already there, and I really hope they enjoy it.
Date: Tuesday December 1, 2015
Location: Industrial Color Gallery
32 Avenue of the Americas, Fl. 22
New York, NY 10013