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Kelsey Fernkopf

BIG NEON Playground

Kelsey Fernkopf foregrounds his childhood memories in genre-bending neon sculptures.

Kelsey Fernkopf. Jungle Jim, 2022. Argon gas lamp. 8 x 5 x 5 inches
  • November 3 - December 1, 2022
  • Opening: Thursday, November 3, 6:00 — 8:00pm

Closing: Thursday, December 1st 6:00 — 8:00 pm

BIG NEON Playground pushes the limits of neon, glass, and light, showcasing continuous tubes that reach up to 30 feet in length. In his transition from minimal, site-specific works to more conceptual and larger-scale constructions, Fernkopf invites viewers to experience the fantastical. His make-believe world is infused with monsters and Pacific Northwest archetypes: mountainous peaks glow apace with larger-than-life doodles; a fire burns brightly inside a cozy, rustic cabin. In these scenes, Fernkopf positions symbols of hope and sanctuary alongside the unknown, beckoning adventure.

About the Artist

Kelsey Fernkopf moved to Seattle in 1987, has worked for numerous local neon sign shops, and in 2017, co-founded the Western Neon School of Art. Fernkopf earned his BFA in Sculpture from the University of Kansas and later learned the specialized trade of neon glass tube bending through apprenticeships in Kansas City, Missouri. He is an instructor at Pilchuck Glass School and has recently exhibited work at the Seattle Design Festival, XO Seattle, and in a solo installation at Method Gallery in Pioneer Square. This November, Pilchuck’s Light the Forest will feature 10 of Fernkopf’s installations around their main campus in Stanwood, WA.