Miami Art Week 2019 Meet the Artist: Experience the Art Series
The Artist: Ilan Neuwirth
The Idea: Spreading Joy by Illuminating the Beauty of Found Objects
The Art: Neon infused Pop Art
At the Red Dot Miami Art Fair, the glowing, whimsical works of Miami based pop artist, Ilan Neuwirth caught my eye, piquing my curiosity. Ilan works with neon to playfully trace the silhouettes of objects, drawing the eye to key focal points that convey his sense of humor and ideas about life.
“Neon has been around since the 1930s and I think it’s a lost artform. Neon is a particle of stars and it enhances everything,” Ilan says. The artist conceptually plays with textures and neon often using found objects as the canvas.
Neuwirth appreciates the beauty of found objects that he calls “simple, ordinary, common and immediately recognizable.” He uses a variety of techniques including powder coating or enhancing them with metal, fiberglass or epoxy to make his pop art out of those found objects. “My passion is finding unique objects. They can be antique, vintage, modern, repurposed … It doesn’t matter, because they are all so unique in their own way. Some of my objects found me, and some I found them …. Many of them are nostalgic and represent a slice from my life.”
He taught himself how to bend glass to create his neon-infused art, often inspired by imagery from his home state of Florida. “Every piece has a story about my life. I love paddle boards and the ocean,” Ilan says. He comes from a background in water sports and decided to get serious about his neon art hobby over the past three years. Red Dot Miami marks the debut of Ilan Pop Art. The curated gallery-only contemporary art fair held during Miami Art Week inside Mana Wynwood convention center, presented works reflecting its 2019 curatorial theme: Passion.
For me, the showstopper of Ilan’s art is a large, 200-year-old root traced in neon. The Root of Art is the winner of the 2019 Sculpture Award at Red Dot Miami and was an Instagram and selfie magnet. Red Dot Miami also featured Ilan Neuwirth Pop Art in the art fair’s 2019 Spotlight Program that showcases a select group of up and coming artists. Ilan won the 2019 Spotlight Award at Red Dot as well.
Another of my favorite pieces is the neon outlined bicycle, Propel Ourselves. Ilan highlighted in neon the parts of the bicycle that do the work: the wheels that move us, the pedals that connect us to the ground closer to the cities that we live in. The piece invokes the power of the bicycle to propel ourselves.
The Sunflowers Scooter conjures up the 1960s iconography, flowers and peace signs as a nod to the cultural moment when revolutions around the world were powered by love.
Ilan Neuwirth was one of more than 500 leading contemporary artists from primary and secondary markets throughout the world who showcased their works during the five-day show.
Learn more about the pop art of Ilan Neuwirth in new episodes of The Design Tourist filmed at Miami Art Week.
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