Category: Neon

Boston StrongBoston, MA

Boston sketch by Chandler O'Leary

I wasn’t there at the time of the Marathon bombings last year—I was here, on the opposite coast. But Boston is my home city, and I remember feeling at the time that I had to do something, no matter how small. So I grabbed the first thing I always think of—my sketchbook—and put together this… More

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Thar she blowsRoute 1, Portsmouth, NH

Yoken's whale sign sketch by Chandler O'Leary

If you ever have to ask for directions in New England, beware. Folks there have a tendency to reference landmarks that no longer exist (this quirk is bred into me, too—sorry to anyone I’ve ever confused). “Turn left where the pizza place used to be.” “Go just past where the old highway ran through before… More

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Just don’t ask for ketchupProvidence, RI

New York System Hot Weiner Sandwich sketch by Chandler O'Leary

Rhode Island is not actually an island, but it sure feels like one sometimes—in fact, it’s kind of a (parallel!) universe unto itself. Only in Rhode Island would you find something called Coffee Syrup—you know, for your coffee milk. (Chocolate milk? Not a chance.) It’s the only place where you’d order a cabinet and not… More

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Like buttaMurray's Restaurant, Minneapolis, MN

Murray's Steakhouse sketch by Chandler O'Leary

I used to pass this place every day on my way to work, back when I lived in downtown Minneapolis. I confess I never actually had a meal at Murray’s, but I’m not sure it matters—”butter knife steaks” aside, the design of the facade was mouthwatering enough for my taste.

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Toast-n-trinketsPortsmouth, NH

Friendly Toast sketch by Chandler O'Leary

The Friendly Toast is a masterpiece of kitsch—sort of the Wall Drug of diners (except the food is excellent!). Come hungry, and bring a sketchbook—you’ll have plenty to keep your pencil occupied while you wait.

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Night and day

Flying Boots Cafe illustration by Chandler O'Leary

Speaking of neon signs, this might not be a sketchbook post, but I figured it wasn’t too far off-topic. For those of you who might find yourselves in the Pacific Northwest this year, I’ve got a solo exhibit opening tomorrow, right here on my home turf. The show is called You’ll Like Tacoma, and features… More

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Great Googie MooglyTulsa, "Oklhoma"

Oasis Motel sketch by Chandler O'Leary

Yep, there’s actually a term for this retro style, for all those midcentury space-age motels, drive-ins, what have you: Googie Architecture. There are a zillion examples out there, and the possibilities are seemingly endless, but one thing is for certain: you know it when you see it. And in terms of Googie style, Route 66… More

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Market madnessPike Place Market, Seattle, WA

Pike Place Market sketch by Chandler O'Leary

I’ll be sticking close to the studio today, frantically filling orders from the shop (thank you for that, by the way!). So the concept of going out on Black Friday is a moot point for me anyway, even if that were my sort of thing. But I’ll tell you what is tempting, every single year:… More

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