Neon Art | Where did it start and who is Illuminate Neon?

Neon Art

This article is a deep dive into the acclaimed artist Mark Sloper, more commonly known as Illuminati Neon. Let’s look at who Illuminati Neon is, how Sloper’s career began and a little about the history of neon art. 

Who is Illuminati Neon? 

Illuminati Neon is a London-based artist who, as his name suggests, makes mixed-media neon prints. His neon artwork celebrates the punk rock era by upcycling vintage pieces, such as flags and revitalising them with neon colours and lights to give them a more modern and bright appeal. This is a continuous theme of Illuminate Neon’s work, he likes to play with the classical and modern in every piece to tell a story using both past and current trends and agendas. 

You can see this in his most recent work, where he bedazzles a portrait of Queen Elizabeth with brightly coloured hair, piercings and a tattoo! See neon art for sale here in blue, green and pink. The more exclusive ‘punk Queen (goth)’ print is also for sale which encapsulates the energy and style of Illuminati Neon to perfection. It is even hand-finished with jewels to add a new media element to the piece and highlight the royal subject in the frame. 

How did Illuminati Neon begin?

Mark Sloper grew up in the sleepy southerly county of Cornwall. His family were all highly artistic and so he was always surrounded by traditional painted artworks and creative minds, even from a young age. He was drawn to the punk subculture from the early age of 11 after a chance encounter with the new wave musician Adam Ant. This sparked the beginning of a life-long dedication to the movement through various art forms and an explosive career in neon art. 

Sloper started out his professional career as a cameraman and director of photography for bands such as the Police and Frankie Goes to Hollywood. He then later worked for the BBC. Mark has directed and produced many successful documentaries on legendary artists in the music scene, including the Beatles, David Bowie and the Sex Pistols.

By immersing himself in this world, he met many artists including “the King of Neon” who inspired him to create his current Illuminati Neon brand. His original neon artworks have grabbed attention from the global art world as well as many celebrities. Even the Queen has been involved in Illuminati Neon artwork! Collectors have included Sir Elton John, Sting and Boy George. Join these collectors by owning one of the Illuminati Neon pieces which are available on the Imitate Modern website

What is Neon Art?

Neon art started in the early 20th century after the noble gas Neon was discovered in 1898 by Sir William Ramsay. By sealing the neon in a glass tube, the lighting effect was so bright it quickly became popular as an advertising technique, as well as a medium to animate the glamour scene. Andy Warhol referred to it as ‘one of the great modern things’. Since then neon still captures attention over 100 years after its discovery. 

Today, neon art is being reinvented again, with various Illuminati artists, a successful artist using neon to illuminate her own quotes is Tracey Emin and Sara Pope who we represent at Imitate Modern, who is known for her neon lips. 

Mark Sloper creates his neon artwork himself by delicately bending glass at a temperature of 500°C and compressing neon gas within the tubes. He then uses electric transformers to aluminate the neon which creates its characteristic glow. ‘Aa’ the true colour of neon is actually red, argon (another noble gas) is added to the neon gas to produce a spectrum of colours.

What is Illuminate Neon doing now?

The most recent Illuminati drawings are of Queen Elizabeth, Mark Sloper adapted one of her old coronation portraits to create a Punk Queen. In 2020, his neon contemporary art was apparently given a blessing from the Queen herself, but she only requested that the ‘Phillip’ heart tattoo be replaced by the royal crest “to match her bathrobes and slippers”.

Some of the limited edition pieces are hand-painted and embellished with gold leaf and gems by Mark Sloper in his London studio. Each piece also comes with a bespoke one of a kind frame. The contemporary art pieces need to be framed so that the glass can compress the gems.

Illuminati Neon talks about the meaning behind the neon artwork: “I love the ceremony and the old-fashioned English respect for our lovely Queen. Punk rockers such as the Sex Pistols have been misunderstood as anti-royalist, but I celebrate the monarchy and love the Queen. Rule Britannia! The Queen has seen herself reimagined by me, and I still have my head.”

Illuminati Neon at Imitate Modern

Illuminate Neon is one of our featured artists at Imitate Modern. We currently have the Punk Queen print for sale in red, green, or blue and the Goth Punk Queen. These come in the sizes at 85 x 60cm, or 60 x 40cm. These neon art pieces are limited edition so only a few are left. Each also comes with a gold frame.

You can find the neon artwork for sale here on the Imitate Modern website.

Where can I find out more about Illuminati Neon?

There is more information about Mark Sloper also known as Illuminati Neon on the Imitate Modern website or you can enquire with one of our gallery associates to discuss the pieces and how to display them in your home. 

Illuminati Neon has his full extensive portfolio on his virtual gallery on his website. 

To keep up to date with Mark Sloper’s recent work connect with him on Instagram via @mark_illuminati to see photos of Mark in action, his latest work and even pictures of his artist assistant, Monty, also known as Monty Illuminati the spaniel!

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