San Francisco Neon is part of the growing national and international movement to appreciate and restore historic neon signs and in turn to support neighborhood vibrancy in low-opportunity neighborhoods and historic corridors. The Historic Neon Network is a not-for profit organization created by Al Barna and Randall Ann Homan to support dialog and share information about historic restoration projects that promote the local preservation of history and culture of small businesses, and the artistic legacy of neon signs. We consult on historic accuracy of neon sign projects, create preservation learning events, and create historic neon tours in San Francisco and Oakland to engage public participation and help to develop a deeper understanding of the historic and artistic value of these signs. Vintage neon signs have evolved from advertising to art, and now they serve as landmarks of the day-to-day human experience within communities. The artisans and advocates who take on these preservation projects deserve and desire public acknowledgment, and the opportunity to share experiences.
Al Barna is a San Francisco photographer and artist whose work has been shown in exhibitions at the de Young Museum, the Legion of Honor Museum, the Rayko Gallery, the San Francisco Public Library, and the San Francisco Arts Commission Gallery. His photography has been published in CA Modern magazine, Society of Commercial Archeology Journal, The Sun magazine, and Shots magazine. www.albarna.com
Randall Ann Homan began her interest in the art of signage as an apprentice sign painter in Flagstaff, Arizona. She lives in San Francisco and is an art director, photographer, and an award-winning graphic designer. Someday she would like to design a neon sign. www.giantorange.net
Tom Downs is the author of Walking San Francisco (Wilderness Press) and an award-winning edition of Lonely Planet’s New Orleans, along with many other books and articles having to do with places, built environments, culture, and history. www.tomdowns.xyz
Eric Lynxwiler has lectured on neon signs at the San Francisco Architectural Heritage lecture series and is the host of the Museum of Neon Art’s Neon Cruises of Los Angeles. He has saved numerous neon signs from the dust bin, and serves as a MONA Board Member Emeritus.
Many thanks to the people and organizations who photograph, document, restore, preserve, and write thoughtfully about neon signs within their communities, San Francisco and beyond.
To learn more, here are a few links to explore:
We'd love to hear from you, especially if you have a question about neon talks, tours, or an historic neon sign restoration.
We'll send you quarterly emails on upcoming neon tours and events. Don't worry, we would never give your email to anyone else.
AB = Al Barna
TD = Tom Downs
RH = Randall Homan
EL = Eric Lynxwiler