The company was established in 2010 by artist Richard William Wheater. Neon Workshops specialise in the development and manufacturing of neon lighting for the creative industry. They organise global shipping and installation of projects and host an annual exhibition programme of neon-related work. Based in Wakefield, neon making facilities, a gallery and significant public resource library on the subject are housed under one roof. Neon sculpture courses - whether at their base or Mobile Neon Workshops run nationally and abroad, continue to attract tutors and participants from around the world. In order to take on larger projects and stage events, in 2018 Wheater opened Neon Workshops affiliated warehouse project space: 7A
Neon made for Nicki Minaj music video
The Night Is Still Young
On an advanced neon course in Brooklyn, Lite Brite Neon founder and tutor Matt Dilling recommends Wheater to a neon company in Leeds, which he visits and later works there as a trainee for two years. During this period he negotiates a one day neon workshop to be held there.
Amidst the Covid-19 pandemic and several national lockdowns the work of New York based artist Fred Tschida is finally produced in Wakefield. With financial support from The Art House, CIRCLESPHERE was delivered across two city venues between 29th September and 28th October. An ambitious undertaking that lured thousands of people to see Tschida’s mesmerising rotating works, as well as a new work from ex-student and Neon Workshops founder Richard Wheater, paid in homage to his teacher and inspiration for working with neon: The Walls We Make Whilst Dreaming of Escape. CIRCLESPHERE focused on the 'moving' neon chapter of Tschida’s work, and told the story of an un-sung trailblazing artist that had spent his life working with and teaching neon.
Another monster year as we continue to work (and play) with the biggest and best artists and organisations in delivering ambitious projects. We spent time at Adidas HQ in Germany, inspiring their gifted designers in Makers Lab. A Mobile Neon Workshop Swiss road trip culminated in several neon classes at the beautiful Atelier im Sandkasten in St Gallen, overlooking the Alps. We welcomed one of the neon world's heavyweights - Michael Flechtner from Los Angeles, for his first UK exhibition and workshop here. We open up '7A' to the public; our sister warehouse in Wakefield with the help of Portuguese electronic band Sensible Soccers and South Korean trio Tirikilatops.
Mobile Neon Workshops teaching at Adidas headquarters, Germany
Wheater completes Neon Workshops dedicated mobile electron bombarder and vacuum station prototype, put immediately through its paces over several months in Norfolk, Lybster, Berlin and Glasgow. We now build these machines to order, enquire here.
Prototype mobile bombarder/vacuum station detail
Neon Workshops stage their most ambitious Mobile Neon Workshop and evening events to date; Northern Lights, Reykjavik, Iceland. Magdalena Jetelova is the artist in residence.
Artist in Residence Magdalena Jetelová working with Neon Workshops
Neon Workshops celebrates the centenary of the world's first neon sign (Paris) by organising a four day workshop in Paris at the Lyceé Dorian Polyvalent with Wheater, Bickerstaff and Matt Dilling, commissioning neon fan and graphic designer Peter Saville to produce the commemorative posters. Limited signed/unsigned prints available from our SHOP.
Wheater starts project 12 MONTHS OF NEON LOVE with fellow artist Victoria Lucas, utilising 70b George Streets roof and its proximity to the railway tracks. A programme of regular neon courses are designed and commence. A book, prints and postcards commemorating the project are available to buy from our SHOP.
12 Months of Neon Love, Wheater / Lucas, October 2011
Wheater teams up with Bickerstaff in October and the two travel to Bergen, Norway with a van full of equipment and stage the first Mobile Neon Workshops at S12. The return journey ends in near disaster as their ferry crashes into port in high seas.
Wheater and Bickerstaff negotiating cobbles into S12
Wheater gets keys to a derelict 70b George Street, and with little money, during a recession, slowly makes fit for purpose a dedicated space for his envisioned Neon Workshops.
Wheater represents Britain at the European Glass Biennale, Bornholm, Denmark, showing two neon projects that attract attention from students there. A major four-day Neon Workshop is organised at The Art House in his home city of Wakefield, for six Danish student artists.
Danish neon workshop
students at their exhibition
Poster advertising Wheater's first neon workshop
Wheater studies neon at Alfred University, New York, under Fred Tschida.
Tschida's rotating neon sculpture 'Sphere (2000)' Wheater cites as the piece that made him fall in love with neon.
Wheater's student photo of Tschida's neon install
With his brother Eric, a 15 year old Richard Wheater holds a glowing fluorescent tube to a pylon. Illumination through electric fields was introduced to them by their father, who had heard about it in the pub.
Wheater brothers under a pylon, amidst electricity
THE WALLS WE MAKE
WHILST DREAMING OF ESCAPE
Richard William Wheater