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Richard Wheater / April Key



For one night only, on Saturday, September 30,  artists Richard Wheater

and April Key, hosted a one-off immersive art event at 7A, their Wakefield warehouse  - encompassing a live performance and the UK debut of rising stars, the Swedish progressive avant-garde band, Weils, with supporting choreographed performance from CAPA students . 

Master Chef finalist, Chris Hale, unveiled his delicious interpretation of Sweden’s street food.       


With sharp technical ability honed across their shared passion for neon 

and having both graduated from Edinburgh College of Art (ECA), albeit a decade apart, Richard and April naturally gravitated towards working together, culminating in this first must-see joint conceptual exploration of memory. Family photos documenting elaborate fire- work displays from 1950’s Hong Kong and subconscious reflections of Yorkshire’s coal fired past, will inform these highly anticipated visuals to music.       


The show was infused with the dreamlike melodic nuances of Weils, a band formed in Sweden by musical maestros, Jonas Teglund and Isak Sundstrom, who have a penchant for making contemporary electronic instrumental blues, with a shades of Brian Eno vibe.  Weils, who take their name from French philosopher and mystic, Simone Weils, couldn’t resist the pull of this fascinating staging. 


Text by Tee Hurwitz Gray


Photography by Paul Craig




Fred Tschida

29.09.2021 – 28.11.2021

‘CIRCLESPHERE’ marks ten years since Neon Workshops was established in Wakefield, and 20 years since its founder – artist Richard William Wheater – was introduced to Fred Tschida’s alternative explorations in neon, as his student at Alfred University.

It was while studying in New York that Wheater discovered Tschida’s kinetic sculpture ‘Sphere (2000)', which he cites as the piece that made him fall in love with neon. The exhibition is a celebration of both this moment and Fred Tschida’s lifelong obsession with light and movement as an art form, as well as Wheater’s determination to introduce the world to an un-sung neon master.

‘CIRCLESPHERE’ includes seven gas-filled glass illuminated sculptures, revolving on free-standing wooden frames, each between 2.1m and 2.8m tall. The pieces, entitled ‘Frederick Carder Vase Forms’ will be displayed across two floors at The Art House.

They will be accompanied by ‘SPHERE’, a huge rotating neon-clad circle, which will feature at 7A, Neon Workshops’ project space, filling the 3000 sq. ft warehouse space.

An exhibition partnership between Neon Workshops and The Art House

Supported by Arts Council England.

Buy exhibition book here.

Photography by David Lindsay

Fred Tschida - CIRCLESPHERE - Made by Neon Workshops



16.10.2021, 30.10.2021 

A pop-up theatrical restaurant experience at 7A, themed around Fred Tschida’s epic neon Sphere.


A choreographed experience of light and music, food and drink costume and performance. Masterchef celeb Chris Hale & co served up a complementary menu fit for this special setting. Expect something extra special if rumours are true - that paper artist Andy Singleton has been commissioned to create costumes for the evening!

Electric Clouds Neon event



7.11.2021, 21.11.2021

A fun yoga themed Sunday morning class at 7A, where each move is designed around a luminary of the neon world.


This was an opportunity to learn more about neon art and it’s influential movers and shakers, within this mysterious world of gas-filled-glass and electricity, whilst living and breathing them through guided moves! Wheater lead the class aiming to get blood moving, beneath Fred Tschida’s epic neon red Sphere.

Neon Moves Neon Class



Richard William Wheater 

31.03.2021 – 28.11.2021

In homage to artist Fred Tschida’s 1980 performance in which he attached a 22-ft neon mast to his car roof and drove across the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah, USA.

Translating this action onto a local stretch of the Aire & Calder Navigation canal, a small dinghy was kitted out with a modified neon-clad mast, generator and outboard petrol motor.

The lyrics of 1985 hit Everybody Wants to Rule the World by Tears for Fears, became a mantra for the artist, verbalising what Wheater was driven to do visually: to express the feeling of helplessness in being part of a global problem: “It's my own design / It's my own remorse / Help me to decide”


The long-exposure photographs capture the movement of the boat and its neon mast through time, creating a translucent wall of light that appears to smother the trees and scrub on the canal bank. Neon glows red in its purest form, but here the colour also works to emphasise the heat and destructive power of the engine and fumes. 

Everybody Wants To Rule The World was described by the band as a pretty song with a dark theme: a fitting description for this work.

The book is available in our shop here.

Commissioned by @thearthouse_wakefield 
Photography by @JontyWildePhotography


Richard Wheater - The Walls we Make

Ave I Ever Said Owt?

Richard William Wheater


16.10.2020 - Present

This ambitious animated neon phrase is the fifth and final work from the 'Things People Say' project spanning five years that Neon Workshops have delivered for Wheater. It can be seen illuminating our roof every evening from dusk. 

Photography by Nick Singleton

Neon Snakes

Steve Fitch 

Richard William Wheater

16.10.2020 (6pm - 9pm)  


Celebrated American Photographer and self-taught neon maker Steve Fitch, 

will show his iconic ‘Insane-o-matic’ sign, in our recently completed Resource Library space. New works in gas-filled glass by Wheater will also be on show. This will be the final significant exhibition opening at Neon Workshops. Neon Workshops celebrates 10 years (2010-2020). 

Fitch will be flying over from Texas to head up this years masterclass preceding the exhibition.

He will be present at the opening for book signings.



That's a Negative

Richard William Wheater



30.06.2019 - 30.06.2020

Fourth and penultimate roof neon from the project Things People Say.

'We have become neon signs ourselves.

In the words of the fox in de Saint-Exupéry’s The Little Prince: “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye".

To create is to listen to the invisible and incalculable (what the Chinese called Dao, what Bergson called life, what Whitehead called creativity, etc.). It is to remain faithful to this co-creative realisation and to make compositions out of impressions, out of understanding and feeling.

If we have become neon signs, we have not yet become digital circuits or LED lights: inside the glass corset of capitalist identity, there is still the infinite vibration of gas.'

Luis de Miranda

Excerpts taken from his book Being & Neonness
Published 2019 MIT Press

Translated by Michael Wells

Richard Wheater - Things People Say


Nick Halford


28.11.2018 - 25.01.2019

With a penchant for stencil spray and enamel graphic work, we're thrilled to confirm that Nick Halford has teamed up with Neon Workshops to launch 'Highlights' - a show including five new artworks, that will incorporate neon elements to animate his imagery further. 'Highlights' will move onto Halford's home city of Plymouth later in 2019.

Nick Halford - Highlights

Just Us

Neon Workshops Team


25.07.2018 - 18.11.2018

We practice what we preach at Neon Workshops. As well as teaching the good word of neon and producing other people's projects, we all make our own artwork to exhibit, and thought it about time to stage a group show! Ali ApplebyJulia BickerstaffEmily BinksKatrina Cowling and Richard Wheater will each show one piece of work.
Join us here for the opening next Wednesday!


Neon Workshops - Just Us

The Young Alchemist

Jonathan Lang 


23.03.2018 - 25.07.2018

This planet, with all its appalling immensity, is to electric currents virtually no more than a small metal ball. 

Nikola Tesla 


All artworks available to buy - catalogue here

Jonathon Lang - The Young Alchemist

Animating Neon

Michael Flechtner 

27.09.2017 - 29.11.2017

Among the greats when it comes to his extraordinary use of neon and it's relevance in modern culture, Los Angeles artist Michael Flechtner exhibits rarely seen headwear in his first UK show. 

Michael Flechtner - Animating Neon

Our new project space

Sensible Soccers opening


A night of art, live music and friends

7A... our sister warehouse space in Wakefield opens to the public, as Neon Workshops fly over the Portuguese electronic band of the moment; Sensible Soccers, for one night only. Look out for more ambitious events to take place in this stunning space...

Sensible Soccers - 7A - Wakefield

New work in neon

and mixed media

Richard William Wheater

29.03.2017 - 22.07.2017

Join us on Wednesday 29th March between 6pm and 9pm, to celebrate the opening of our new exhibition, showcasing new work in neon and mixed media.

Richard Wheater - New work in neon

It was all Ephemeral

as a Rainbow

Steven Morgana

25.05.2016 - 10.07.2016

Acrylic mirror, illuminated neon/argon filled glass (powered by a portable electric generator, refuelled with petrol decanted into various brands of bottled water cheaper per litre than the water it replaces), scaffold poles and F-clamps, dimensions variable. 

Steve Morgana - it was all ephemeral

Learning my ABCs

Katrina Cowling

27.01.2016 - 20.05.2016

Over the course of her first year, employed part-time at Neon Workshops, artist Katrina Cowling was set the laborious task to bend in glass tube and light up the alphabet. Text, often synonymous with neon, is notoriously difficult to learn, and time consuming to make even when competent. Rather than acknowledging and discounting quickly as perfect signage, Cowling's endearing wobbly attempts, made from off-cut scrap glass, hold ones gaze less as letters and more as sculptures. Artist Fiona Banner commented on her own neon alphabet; Every Word Unmade (2007),that Neon Workshops installed in 2006, "The fragile wobbly letters, a byproduct of incrementally, inexpertly bending the glass – then the electrical circuit pumping the gas through, make it like one big, constant stutter…words about to be made or unmade." 

Katrina Cowling - Learning my ABC's


Jochen Holz and

Richard William Wheater

30.7.2015 - 19.9.2015

London based Holz’s design approach is led by the making process and the subtle flow of hot glass, navigating the possibilities and restrictions of the technique and material. Wheater’s playful take on the word ‘guts’ is the first in a new series of text works recounting snippets of casual conversation.

Jochen Holz - Guts

Neon Nudes / Beautiful Hazards

Richard William Wheater

27.5.2015 - 18.7.2015

New gallery work in neon and mixed media, focussing on the artist’s interest with industrial hazard graphics, their use and effect on the general public. 

Richard William Wheater - Neon Nudes

Northern Lights

Richard William Wheater

28.11.2013 - 25.1.2014

Defunct London Underground illuminated ad displays are used to reinterpret the Aurora Borealis. This industrial crude interpretation of a natural electric phenomenon in the sky, is a continuation of Wheater's interest with our relationship to the environment. 

Richard William Wheater - Northern Lights


Karen Donnellan (IE) 

Bill Crellin (AU) 

Julia Bickerstaff (GB) 

Katherine Southam (CA)

26.09.2013 - 16.11.2013

Four diverse examples of animating neon light recently produced at Neon Workshops, by four artists visiting from different parts of the world. Each display a personal approach to movement through the constraints of gas/glass/electricity.

moving - group exhibition

You are (on) an island

Alicia Eggert & Mike Fleming

15.03.2013 - 11.05.2013 

In 2012 Neon Workshops invited American artists Alicia Eggert and Mike Fleming to bring their collaborative neon project to the UK and present it as a mobile venture to an unsuspecting audience around Yorkshire. In January this year, Eggert and Fleming arrived in Wakefield, installed their poignant statement on the back of a hire van, sparked up the delicate gas-filled glass with a small generator and took to the road.

Buy the book now

Alicia Eggert - You are (on) an island

People Like Neon

Peter Saville / Wheater & Bickerstaff

26.09 - 03.10.2012 

Celebrating the 100th year anniversary of the first neon sign installed in a Parisian barbers in 1912, Wheater & Bickerstaff have produced three significant wall mounted poems. The traditional combination of neon gas filled clear glass spells out a theme relating to the medium in which the work is rendered. They will be showcased here for one week only prior to several days and evenings of fleeting documented installations on the streets of Paris, including the Lycée Polyvalent Dorian. What am I? will then be exhibited at Ebletoft Glass Museum, Denmark during December and March 2013 as part of a group neon show. 

The full colour litho A1 size double-sided prints, signed and unsigned are available only from Neon Workshops on the evening or on our website at a later date.

Buy signed print

Buy unsigned print.

Peter Saville - People Like Neon

Cattle Brands

Henry Stringer

25.07.2020 - 15.09.2012 

"If you are not a brand, you are a commodity." - Philip Kotler


In this show Stringer has developed two angles associated with the title Cattle Brands. In the gallery we see actual brand motifs from ten American cattle ranches, chosen at random and reproduced by the artist in Neon gas filled glass. Outside on the roof, Stringer has chosen one of the world's most recognisable companies to construct what appears to be a traditional sign, with salvaged materials. Whilst both ventures celebrate human skill in making and control over material, the concept is arguably less positive where the methods of control over cattle and that of fellow humans become blurred.


Stringer is very comfortable with taking a hands on approach to creating art. Considering his background having access to his family's east end London retail display workshop from a young age, it perhaps was inevitable that he would at some stage seek out neon; a medium synonymous with advertising and signage. After only a One Day Intensive neon workshop and several days hiring the fcailties here, Stringer fabricated all his own neon for his show. 

Henry Stringer - Cattle Brands

Visible words

from Invisible people

Richard Wheater

28.03 - 19.05.2012

Over a ten week period, a group from the city’s homeless community worked with artist Richard William Wheater, on a project that aimed to develop their visual language through light and communicate their predicament to the wider public. The results were a series of extraordinary neon signs which the group and Wheater envision to be temporarily installed on buildings/walls in Wakefield’s high street hopefully later this year. Therefore this exhibition is not the final stage to the project, but acts as a platform to generate interest and support in making the work (and the growing homeless issue) even more visible!

Richard Wheater - Visible words

Folding Neon

Richard Sweeney

30.11.2011 - 10.01.2012

Richard Sweeney (born 1984) was invited to explore his ideas in neon for the time during a short residency at Neon Workshops. Sweeney adopted a spirit of experiment and sensitivity to the material, resulting in a series of unique, hand formed neon pieces. His practice combines the disciplines of design, photography, craft and sculpture, as he seeks to maintain an experimental, hands-on approach, utilising the unique properties of often mundane materials to discover unique sculptural forms. 

Sweeney - folding neon gallery.jpg
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