Chris Bracey born 1950, is the neon-light guru for movies, theatres, visual merchandising and various different art projects. He works mainly in London ( studio called God’s Own Junkyard ), but also works in Los Angeles, New York, Miami, Bel Harbour, and he ships his work all over the world.
When you visit Chris at God’s Own Junkyard in East London, where he stores 800 to 1,000 neon signs, many of the signs and props from the movies are lit up. It’s an Aladdin’s cave of lights for movie goers. “I’ve still got most of the signs. I’ve got a 50-year collection of different neon signs and things I’ve done, and stuff previous to me that my Dad did – like circus signs.
“I started collecting all this stuff and keeping it, probably without thinking about it, about 25 years ago. I didn’t want to smash it because it’s too nice. Though I have destroyed and smashed thousands of signs I’ve made, when I was finished with them! But then I started to keep all the most iconic ones. I decided that it should have a name, because I had this yard with all the stuff in it, and I’ve got loads of sheds with neon signs in, piled up. And I thought, what am I going to call it? And then I read about this book that was about an architect in the 60s who didn’t like urban America because of all the movie signs, petrol stations, gambling casinos, diners on Route 66, and big signs all over the landscape. He said ‘they’re turning God’s own country into God’s own junkyard!’ And I thought, yeah, that’s what I’ve got here. I’ve got all this stuff from God’s own junkyard which is very much like America, with all these signs. I love this stuff so much, I thought if God had a junkyard it would be full up with all this stuff, these neons signs, because I think God would really like all this stuff. It’s really magical to me.”