The late Chris Bracey, who passed away in 2014, lives on in his vibrant and innovative neon artworks. His dedicated collector following includes fellow artist Grayson Perry, as well as celebrities such as Jude Law, Kate Moss, Elton John and Lady Gaga.
We are honoured to display some of his works at Maddox Gallery, Mayfair. If you are looking to buy Chris Bracey art as an investment or simply to enjoy in your home, we say it’s ‘a bright idea’ and would love to speak with you further.
‘The Neon Man’ and ‘the Master of Glow’ are incredible titles for an incredible artist.
Chris Bracey art was not the first use of neon signage in a contemporary collection, but he was unique in creating these neon pieces with his own hands.
Bracey produced notable pieces for other artists who developed concepts for neon works, including Turner Prize winner Martin Creed and American photo-artist David LaChapelle. These works were displayed at Tate Britain and in the windows of Selfridges respectively, but it took longer for Chris Bracey to become a name in the art community in his own right.
In 2012, he had exhibitions in LA and Miami galleries with contemporary art dealer Guy Hepner, and the following year London saw his first solo show. Tragically, Bracey passed away in 2014, and since then his work has only continued to rise in value and demand.
A brief history of neon
Bright neon lights were once an iconic part of Soho, put in place by Chris Bracey to light up the streets with a multi-coloured glow. It seems fitting that his 40-year career is displayed where it all began, in the heart of London.
Bracey’s father set up Electro Signs in Walthamstow, London, after the second world war, and Chris Bracey soon joined the family business. While Electro Signs started producing signs for fairgrounds and amusement arcades, Bracey soon began making neon pieces for sex shops and clubs around Soho and the West End.
“I did hundreds of sex places over the next 30 years,” Bracey explained. “I used to make up the words, the colours, the names – Rude Encounters, Dreaming Lips, Pink Pussycat.”
While installing one sex shop sign in Soho, Bracey had a chance encounter with a film art director, and began making neon props for movie sets. His work can be seen in blockbusters including Eyes Wide Shut, Batman, Blade Runner and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
While Chris Bracey may be best known for his signs for the adult Soho market, there is much more to his work than this. Witty, thought-provoking and powerful quotations are brought to life as fine art works.
Bracey named his Walthamstow workshop God’s Own Junkyard, an apt name for a place where he created neon signs that portrayed faith and irreverence in equal measure. While his profession was collecting speed, Bracey continued to creatively evolve his art, and produce more complex and creative works in his workshop, using materials such as gold leaf and Murano glass.
Today, his north London workshop still functions as a workshop and museum, Bracey having “passed the neon baton” onto his children, the next generation of neon artists.