Carolyn Crossley from Cowwarr Art Space, Victoria and Korean artist Aehee Park visited the studio this week, followed by dinner at "The Greek on Halifax". They were in Adelaide as part of OZ Asia Festival to set up Aehee's exhibition "Caring for Aehee Australia" at the Artspace gallery.
It was so good to see Carolyn again and catch up on what's happening at Cowwarr. The converation meandered to neon signs and it was then that Carolyn mentioned that the company that made Aehee's lightboxes for her exhibition recently restored the Skipping Girl neon sign. I've been wanting to paint it for years, even visiting the site to photograph it only to find it turned off.
The Skipping Girl is an iconic neon sign in Melbourne, first installed in 1936, then replaced with a more modern version in 1970. Rumour has it that the model for the Skipping Girl logo was the local milk bar owner’s daughter. "Little Audrey", the Skipping Girl sign was switched off in 1986 for 4 years and then later switched off again in 2001. After being heritage listed in 2007, with help from the "Friends of Audrey" and the Victorian branch of the National Trust Australia funds were raised to restore the sign. In 2009 the neon sign was finally turned on again.
Meanwhile, not knowing the sign had been restored, I had long given up hope of seeing this neon sign operational again. The next morning after Carolyn's visit I made contact with the owners of the sign and I'm in the process of arranging access to the roof to photograph it. I'll be in Melbourne in 10 days time, making the most of the switch on time in relation to sunset before daylight savings time kicks in.
My painting schedule is going to be thrown out, as I now hoping this sign would become a major painting to be included in my upcoming exhibition at Charles Nodrum Gallery, to open late November.