Category: Neon

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,

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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A-okayPillsbury A Mill, Minneapolis, MN

Pillsbury "A" Mill sketch by Chandler O'Leary

Speaking of plants with giant letters on them, this is another old favorite of mine. Like its rival across the Mississippi, this guy was a starring character of my daily commute. Since the “A” mill isn’t part of the museum complex on the other bank, I was always worried it would be torn down eventually…. More

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Retro RowManitou Springs, CO

Manitou Springs sketch by Chandler O'Leary

Manitou Springs has been a tourist attraction since the 1870s—first for its “medicinal” mineral springs, and then for its wild-west remnants and mountain location. For decades it’s been chock-a-block with midcentury motels and vintage neon—and by some miracle, nearly all of them are still around. Every time I come back here, I run around town… More

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Forest fossilVantage, WA

Ginkgo Gem Shop sign sketch by Chandler O'Leary

Millions of years ago, central Washington was a lush, dense forest (complete with prehistoric sasquatch-park-rangers, maybe?). The only evidence of it now are some petrified logs, a little museum—and this sign, looking a little fossilized itself. Which, I have to say, is why I love it so much.

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