Ever fancied turning a spare room into a screening room for cosy nights in? Last year I gutted my spare room and my shower room in an ill-conceived bid for some lockdown home improvements (sounds familiar?), then, having turned my home upside down, I found myself time-poor and have been living with the mess ever since.
My new toilet is still in the middle of my spare room, but when the screening room does finally happen, the cherry on the top will be a funky neon sign.
So hats off to Yellowpop, which has just launched its collection of eight street-cool neons to inspire me to get on with it – the Yellowpop x Keith Haring collection. The purveyor of off-the-peg and bespoke LED signs has hooked up with the late US artist’s Keith Haring Foundation (haring.com) to launch a range of eight of his most iconic motifs. Although I didn’t know Haring by name in the eighties, we spray painted the walls of our student house with his dancing men and barking dogs. From the clubs of New York to Royal Leamington Spa, his desire to bring art to the masses really took off.
Part street artist, part pop artist, Haring (along with Scharf and Basquiat, whose work sold in 2017 for an astonishing $110.5m) were the darlings of the New York New Wave scene. He worked at speed, and with the belief that art was for everyone. He wasn’t afraid to risk diluting his worth by selling Haring merchandise in his Pop Shop in Manhattan’s Soho, so that, as he said, “kids from The Bronx could come”. In the spirit of accessibility, the new collection isn’t being sold as “limited-editions”, although it will only be sold for six months (from £250).
Yellowpop has a number of artist collaborations on its books, but Haring is the most iconic. And it has hundreds of plug-and-play designs for every room of your house.
If the power of words works for you (think of Tracey Emin’s many neons such as You Loved Me Like a Distant Star) Yellowpop’s custom designers can help you turn a favourite phrase or song lyric into wall art, in a choice of 15 fonts and 15 colours. “On air” is a popular one for your Zoom corner.
The collection has been designed to be lightweight, using Perspex “jackets”, the casing that the LEDs sit inside. The LEDs come in white or warm white and the jackets are available in either white or pastels, or can be coloured for extra impact (although they look like neon, they aren’t the heavier, gas-filled glass versions).
They need to be installed within about 2m of a socket and the cable comes in black, white or transparent, with a dimmer switch. Either use the wall-fixings included, or if you’re in a rental they’re light enough to be hung with 3m command strips. Or simply lean one on your kitchen countertop.
Neons are big business. Neonpop.co.uk will waterproof your design for use outdoors. Happyneon.uk stocks actual retro neon tubing and does custom-made designs. Or some are dirt cheap flat panels with a 3D effect, such as those available at dopeneons.com, which you might want to hang for a party and then pack away.
• Yellowpop x Keith Haring collection of 8 LED neon signs costs from £250 to £850, exclusively from yellowpop.co.uk