Hello Lightning Tamers! This is episode 47, and Iâm here with Thomas Zickuhr of Neon Lab and Neon instructor at the University of Wisconsin Madison. Thomas Zickuhr is a neon glass/mixed media artist based out of Madison Wisconsin and has been a neon glassblower for nearly 20 years, though has been an active artist his entire life. After finishing his degree in Fine Art/Sculpture from the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, Tom moved to Boulder Colorado and took on an intensive 4 year apprenticeship in neon. After the foundation for neon had been laid, he, his wife Kristine, and their dogs moved to Madison, WI where Tom continued to learn and grow in the craft of neon. Thomas also studied and practiced design and animation, and continues to work and create in all three fields.
n 2010, Thomas was contacted by longtime friend and fellow glass worker Denis Eckstein about purchasing the business Neon Lab, which had been established in 1999. Putting his life savings on the line, Tom did not hesitate to take on this opportunity.
Along with running Neon Lab, Thomas also teaches a course called âNeon: Light as Sculptureâ at the University of Wisconsin Madison. A fine art based neon program that puts emphasis on the creative side of glass blowing and neon being used as sculpture. Tom has facilitated and curated many shows through the university for students and professional artists alike.
Thomas currently has original artwork in the Milwaukee Art Museum, as well as shown work at MOMA New York City, MOMA San Francisco, and the Schaulager (shâow-la-gur) Art Museum - Basil, Switzerland. Tom was fortunate to be included as one of three current glass benders to work with contemporary American artist, Bruce Nauman.
Neon Lab is going strong, it is a small operation with a big heart. Thomas is dedicated to the craft of neon and is working to ensure it's future is bright and colorful.
Welcome to the Podcast Tom!
I hope you enjoyed the podcast. As mentioned at the start of this episode, Tom Zickuhr has been a recommendation for quite awhile. And like many of our guests thereâs a interesting story with each and every person. Sometimes what your passionate about is is given as gift or opportunity, other times you bear all the effort, at least from a limited perspective its seems to be one or the other, but here we have an example showing both, luck, effort, and determination! Iâm happy to see that things have been improving for Tom. Both our situation with the Pandemic and itâs effects worldwide, and Iâm historian, mirror what the ladies at Neon Nonsense, have spoke about, as noted in 60âs Henry Eccles, regarding the highs and lows of the prevalence of neon. Which you can check out on Neon Nonsense Podcast hosted by Alleson Buchanon and Danielle James aka DJ in episode 4 featuring Robert Haus, aka the Neon Archeologist.
Thank you Thomas Zickuhr for your time on the podcast, and love seeing your recent experiments and troubleshooting on the Neon and Plasma Art for Beginner Facebook Group!
I recommend checking out the facebook group, Neon and Plasma Art for Beginners, thereâs always a dozen hands to help, and you may find some equipment for sale as well.
I'd like to thank Pittsburgh Glass Center for supporting me as a place of research and inspiration. Plasma Art Alliance where I have access to the well of knowledge and connects me to some amazing and supportive people, and lastly both sponsors in this episode The Glass Art Society and Garrett Churchill from Fluxeon.
Feel free to share, comment, and subscribe. As always Be Safe, Be Informed, and Be Curious, and Iâll See you next time.
Percy Echols II, Taming Lightning
Welcome to Taming Lightning, I'm Percy Echols II. I'm the creator and host of Taming Lightning, as well as the emerging plasma tech at Pittsburgh Glass Center, where I'm researching and developing a space to explore Plasma and Neon Light as an Artist Medium.