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Vintage meets neon lights at GraySpace in the Funk Zone

Beth Farnsworth/KEYT
Artist Rod Lathim's grand piano sculpture is part of his Poetic License neon light display at GRAYSPACE Gallery.
Love, Home, Gratitude is part of an old dormer repurposed with neon lights.
Rod Lathim's grand piano sculpture took weeks just to take the piano apart.
Calescent Cadenza depicts a ceramic glove mold with violin.
Kneading Faith I incorporates industrial mixing blades with neon lights.

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - A man in town known for producing electrifying theater performances and putting others center stage is lighting up a gallery in the Funk Zone with his neon light sculpture installation.

"They're all one of a kind," said Rod Lathim. "They're whimsical, they're historical, they're all built on vintage objects." 

Lathim said he started dabbling in neon light sculpture work about two years ago.

"I was so enthralled with the concept of what neon really is because it's really energy," Lathim said. "It's gas in glass tubes that's electrified with high voltage electricity to create this wonderful, vibrant energetic light." 

Lathim's work is on display at GraySpaceGallery on Gray Avenue, across from Shalhoob's Butcher Shop. His sculptures are displayed along with artwork from local artists Anthony Askew, a highly talented printmaker, and Dorothy Churchill-Johnson, a surrealistic oil painter.

Each of Lathim's pieces involve repurposing beautiful, old items -- some left as is, others dissected, including two piano sculptures that Lathim said took weeks to take apart.

"I have two dormers from old houses: a dormer from Paris, from an old building in Paris, another dormer from an American house in Los Angeles that has a vent in it and now has neon in it," Lathim said. "I've got a traffic sign from Belgium. I have two grand piano sculptures that are recycled grand pianos -- one with neon, one that's back-lit with stain glass. I have a violin that's outlined in neon and a grill from an old truck."

He also repurposed an old clock, fitting it with neon wings, titled "Time Flies."

GRAYSPACE Gallery owner, Ruth Ellen Hoag, is hosting a special Holiday Open House Sunday, December 15 from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. and is offering a 10% Holiday discount on the displayed artwork.

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Article Topic Follows: Santa Barbara - South County

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Beth Farnsworth

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