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Yale Hotel, 2009

Toronto-based photographer Tanja-Tiziana has spent the last decade travelling across North America documenting the dying world of neon signs. Her immense Buzzing Lights photo series is now being published as a full colour book celebrating the art of neon. As a fellow longtime neon fan, her quest to have this book published caught my attention earlier this week in my inbox.

Vogue sign, Vancouver

“There is such an amazing and enamored cult of followers for neon signs. I am looking to them to pitch in and help me show the world what they’ve known all along: That this is an art form worth preserving and worth celebrating.”

The demand for neon signage has been in steady decline since the 1960’s when plastic, mass-produced alternatives made getting your message in lights more affordable to the average business owner. Still, those hand-shaped glass tubes continue to capture hearts and imaginations. The photographer’s fans are quick to offer suggestions of beloved signs across the continent, as Tanja valiantly tries to visit and photograph each one still lighting up an American street.

Save-on Meats

Tanja explains, “From small window signs to giant highway motel beacons, each one of those signs was crafted by hand. The glass tubes bent and shaped masterfully, then filled with gasses and electrified. It’s magic, science and art all twisted together into a very cool glow-in-the-dark package… and I’m like a moth, I suppose – drawn to the light.”

Neon signage and vintage sign design have a huge following online and have steadily been making their way into museums (including our very own Museum of Vancouver), restaurants, and hopefully soon, onto coffee tables — with this new book.

Buzzing Lights: The Fading Neon Landscape in North America is making the jump to print in the fall and Tanja has launched an Indiegogo campaign to fund the first edition.

Ted Harris sign

Interested in seeing the book come to life? Check out Tanja’s Indiegogo campaign page.

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