It's my job to turn people on," jokes neon artist Susan Steinberg. "And I love my job." A graduate of the Philadelphia College of Art with a degree in industrial design, Ms. Steinberg is, of course, referring to her very electric art, which glows against the dark walls of her Savage Mill studio. Here, visitors are turned on by the excitement of a new and constantly developing art form which in itself must be turned on in order to be appreciated.
According to Ms. Steinberg, neon art is a new medium that has not yet been fully explored. "So as a new form of expression, my chances of creating something original are pretty good," she says.
Savage Neon, owned by Ms. Steinberg and her business partner, Richard Ewell, provides neon sculpture for installation in private homes as well as in business environments. Each piece begins as a tube of glass coated with fluorescent powder. After the glass is heat-bent to the desired shape, it is infused with either neon or argon gas. Since neon gas produces a red light when excited by electricity and argon gas produces a blue light, expertise is required to create different color values.
Savage Neon has a selection of 50 colors that are displayed against the wall. Prices range from $100 for small, ready-to-hang pieces. "Muscles," a life-sized sculpture that can be seen in the accompanying photograph, may be re-created for approximately $3,000.