February 24, 2024


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We Have an Issue: At Night the Art Comes Out to Play: Inside Ion Art’s neon wonderland, the “Surreal Garden” exhibit at Zilker Botanical Garden – Columns


Greg and Sharon Keshishian of Ion Art (Photo by John Anderson)

I wouldn’t describe listings editor Wayne Alan Brenner as acquiring an in particular jaundiced check out of the entire world, but I did giggle out loud when he claimed this to me yesterday: “The much more I look at art and assessment artwork, the far more I am sick of it and artists.”

Context is key in this article: Brenner was talking to me about why he was drawn to profile Ion Artwork, the subjects of this week’s protect tale. A modest shop founded by husband-and-wife workforce Greg and Sharon Keshishian, Ion Art is responsible for some of the most legendary neon signage in town (including the Chronicle‘s personal I-35-experiencing a person, a pinkish-pink beacon because the early Nineties). Brenner was lamenting how snooty the artwork environment can be, dismissive of neon as a medium. “‘You know, it really is bars and strip joints, which is what that is,'” Brenner mentioned, mimicking artwork elitists. “They [Ion] have to operate from that stigma.”

In reporting his story, Brenner invested some time at Ion Art’s design-establish studio, marveling at the work-in-progress pieces for their impending “Surreal Garden” interactive art exhibit at the Zilker Botanical Back garden. (He was our person with a camera, far too Brenner shot the studio pictures, when John Anderson took the protect portrait and more shots to be observed on-line with this story.) Pointing to Ion’s facility with not just neon but also glass and wooden and steel, not to point out the engineering know-how expected to make it all zing, Brenner drew a thematic line again to the Shaker ladder-back chair – another beautiful intersection of artwork and craft.

Take that, art snoots.

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