Friday, September 28, 2012

Tulsa sign artist Sam Karney dies at 86

Karney didn't need a sign to tell him the score. Although he would've
preferred a life of drawing and painting, he knew he also needed to pay
the bills.

Looking for a trade he could live on, the recent art school graduate found it with Claude Neon Federal Sign Co. in Tulsa.

There, in helping new companies make their marks on the marketplace, Karney made his own in a new medium.

Among his early projects, Karney designed the sign for the original QuikTrip store, at 5204 S. Peoria Ave., in 1958.

Other businesses on the rise - including Ken's Pizza, later to become
Mazzio's, and Drysdale's Western Wear - also came to Karney over the

"He was really proud of the Drysdale's sign," his son Casey Karney said. "It was the biggest he had done.

"It was close to our home, and he liked to drive by there and show it to me."

A longtime Tulsa resident and artist who worked for and later bought Claude Neon, Samuel A. "Sam" Karney died Friday. He was 86.

A memorial service was held Tuesday at Bethany Freewill Baptist Church
in Broken Arrow under the direction of Floral Haven Funeral Home of
Broken Arrow.

After graduating from high school in Muskogee, his hometown, Karney joined the Army and fought in World War II.

A member of the 89th Infantry Division's 353rd Regiment, he served from 1944 to 1948 in Belgium, Austria, France and Germany.

After his discharge, he came home and went to art school in Sarasota, Fla.

Hiring on with Claude Neon in the mid-1950s, Karney worked as an artist and salesman for the company.

An early highlight was working with QuikTrip.

According to QuikTrip co-founder Chester Cadieux, Karney was responsible for the decision to spell it "Quik," and not "Quick."

Karney recommended it, noting that the four-letter "Quik" balanced better with "Trip" visually.

Working for Claude Neon for 20 years on various projects, Karney later joined with two partners to buy the business.

An active member and past president of both the Tulsa Executive
Association and the Oklahoma Sign Association, Karney sold his part in
the business and retired in the late 1990s.

Casey Karney said his father developed a shrewd business mind and shared
it with his children, helping them, too, to become successful.

But Karney was still an artist at heart.

In his spare time, he enjoyed drawing cartoons, many of which appeared in local publications.

He also got into sculpting and, over the years, made a number of bronzes, his son said.

Karney's survivors include his four children, Kip Karney, Casey Karney,
Cindy Jordan and Amy Hatfield; eight grandchildren; and two

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Renovated Nelson's Buffeteria Sign To Hang In New Home

Renovated Nelson's Buffeteria Sign To Hang In New Home - - Tulsa, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports - |
TULSA, Oklahoma -

Buffeteria was a downtown Tulsa breakfast and lunchtime landmark.

closed almost ten years ago, but reopened on South Memorial in January.

The family wants to hang the old Buffeteria sign at the new place - but that's turning out to be quite a chore.

Matt Johnson is bending some glass for a sign at Acura Neon. He's got his work cut out for him over the next few weeks.

The owners of Nelson's Buffeteria got special permission to hang an old school neon sign at its new location.

Matt Johnson is the neon artist who will restore the sign.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

'The Light Circus: Art of Nevada Neon' Signs at NMA

Celebrate a bygone era during this exhilarating presentation of vintage
neon signs that once graced some of Nevada's most iconic restaurants,
casinos, hotels, and business establishments. From flashing incandescent
bulbs to candy-colored neon tubes, the nostalgic pieces featured in The Light Circus: Art of Nevada Neon Signs
have not been seen publicly since they illuminated street side locales
decades ago. Presented in the Museum's Feature Gallery, the exhibition
will be on view Oct. 13 through Feb. 10, 2013.
Photo Zoom

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Leds may be signage of the future but neons still alive and well

leds may be signage of the future but neons still alive and well

LEDs May Be Signage of the Future, but Neon's Still Alive and Well - Core77


If asked to name a long-lasting light source, you'd probably name
LEDs. But as artist and fabricator David Ablon reminds us, you can find
functioning neon signage that is eighty years old and still manning its
post in front of some NYC storefront.

Ablon teaches courses in neon light fabrication at Brooklyn Glass,
a studio and teaching facility in you-know-which borough that brings
together artists, students and professionals. Check out what he does:

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Iconic Signage Project brightens Broad Street with neon art

Iconic Signage Project brightens Broad Street with neon art

Iconic Signage Project brightens Broad Street with neon art - Video |
Watch as Arts Council of New Orleans public art director Morgana King
leads a tour of the Iconic Sign Project that marries retro-chic neon
design with small business promotion. Search for a detailed story titled
'œIconic Signage Project blends art and business on Broad Street'
Iconic Signage Project brightens Broad Street with neon art

Saturday, September 08, 2012

Artist Dana Depew pays homage to local celebrity Wilma Smith in Brandt Gallery show

Artist Dana Depew pays homage to local celebrity Wilma Smith in Brandt Gallery show |

neon letters make up this "Wilma" sign that greets visitors at the
Brandt Gallery this month, part of Dana Depew's "The Wilma Smith

PREVIEW: Brandt Gallery

What: "The Wilma Smith Project," an exhibition by Dana Depew.

When: Opening at 6 p.m. Saturday. Through Saturday, Oct. 6. Where: 1028 Kenilworth Ave., Cleve land.

"You are(on) an island " Goes to England

A guerilla public art tour that culminates in an exhibition at Neon Workshops in Wakefield, England.

About the work

You are (on) an island is a large blue neon sign that states quite literally, "You are on an island." The word ‘on’ blinks rhythmically on and off, and for the moments that word remains unilluminated, a new phrase with a different meaning emerges - “You are an island.”