The tempting glow of a neighborhood movie show marquee, with its promise of buttered popcorn and a triple-bill escape. The glittering on line casino signal that makes you are feeling richer only for it. The winking emblem inviting you into the pleasant neighborhood dive bar.
In “Lights, Night time: NEON, Pictures That Glow,” the brand new images exhibit from San Diego artist Richard Ybarra, historical past seems to be like a 46-foot excessive neon drum majorette, a slinky Chinese language restaurant dragon and a wobbly bowling pin. These jaunty indicators promoting long-gone automobile dealerships, demolished film theaters and Buster Brown Sneakers are additionally the flickering stuff indelible reminiscences are manufactured from.
“Some folks don’t like trying again, however I’m not that manner. I like reminiscing. I see nostalgia as part of historical past, and I consider historical past is essential,” stated Ybarra, who grew up in La Mesa and now lives close to San Diego State.
“Whether or not it’s historic folks, historic objects or historic happenings, my images symbolize that historical past and people reminiscences, good or dangerous. That’s how I have a look at it.”
Operating now by means of Aug. 15 on the BFree cq Studio gallery in La Jolla, “Lights, Night time: NEON” showcases Ybarra’s love of the craft behind the commerce. The 80 images featured within the exhibition embody such native icons because the Aero Membership Bar on India Road; the swanky signal for the outdated Honda dealership on El Cajon Boulevard (a revamp of the unique Dick Grihalva Buick signal, which was a landmark unto itself); and the Campus Drive-In Theatre, with its baton-twirling majorette and tribute to SDSU’s Hardy Memorial Tower.
The oldest piece on this assortment is Ybarra’s 1980 picture of the Campus Drive-In marquee, an enormous neon stunner that ultimately ended up at what’s now the Market on the Grove Buying Middle after the 35-year-old drive-in was demolished in 1983. The latest images have been taken simply two months in the past, when Ybarra lastly made good on his dream of visiting Nashville and Memphis. Hollywood and Las Vegas are additionally represented.
However whether or not they’re hawking beer, bowling or the blues, these indicators do it with daring colours, wild typography and designs that swoop, slink and sizzle. And whereas your mind says its all simply promoting, Ybarra is right here to let you know that it’s artwork.
“For me, the attraction is the sturdy colours, and the designs and the typography. I actually recognize the shapes and the fantastic thing about this glowing gentle,” stated Ybarra, who began his skilled life as a graphic artist and an artwork director for promoting businesses, earlier than shifting into a protracted educating profession. He spent 21 years on the Promoting Arts School (which turned the Artwork Institute of California-San Diego), and 7 years at UCSD Extension.
Ybarra’s appreciation for the wonder in supposedly disposable popular culture goes again to his boyhood days of watching “The Lone Ranger” and “Hopalong Cassidy” on TV. His dad was a fan of Hollywood Westerns, so Ybarra turned one, too.
Now, the 74-year-old Ybarra is a self-described “cowboy wannabe” who loves rodeos, ghost cities, cowboy boots and cowboy-centric Lone Pine Movie Pageant. Western landscapes and iconography are additionally considered one of Ybarra’s huge creative passions. In June, he wrapped up his second exhibit of Western-themed work, prints and pictures on the Olaf Wieghorst Museum in El Cajon.
“There may be a lot in regards to the West that I like. I just like the ruggedness. I like the fact of the frontiersman coming throughout the plains and heading west for a brand new life. It’s the joys of journey. Once I go to a western pageant, I’m in my glory.”
Within the images featured in “Lights, Night time: NEON,” Ybarra pays tribute to the vanishing frontier of old-school film theaters (the Aztec, the Loma); departed eating places (Horton Plaza’s Panda Inn, Café within the Valley); and funky motels (the Chief Resort Courtroom in Las Vegas). And because of the glow that comes with the territory, even the newer indicators — Nashville’s Betty Boots and Luke’s 32 Bridge — really feel like they’re being beamed in from a vintage-neon previous.
They’re outdated. They’re new. They’re historical past. They’re reminiscence. For Richard Ybarra, the neon indicators he images are all of these items. However above all, they’re artwork, which makes them timeless. And if nothing else, he hopes the exhibit will remind viewers to take the time to understand it.
“I really feel like these days, folks get inundated with their on a regular basis enterprise affairs, they usually don’t listen,” Ybarra stated. “They don’t take the time to say, ‘Oh wow, have a look at that.’ However I do.”
Richard Ybarra’s “Lights, Night time: NEON” might be on show by means of Aug. 15 at BFree Studio, 7857 Girard Ave., La Jolla. It’s open Tuesday by means of Sunday from 11 a.m. to five p.m.Ybarra will give a chat on the gallery from 5 to 7 p.m. on Aug. 12. Go to bfreestudio.web for data.