Seep NFK, which was a neon installation part of Work | Release’s inaugural exhibition, AGLOW, has found a permanent home in Downtown Norfolk’s NEON (New Energy of Norfolk) District.
Chicago-based artist Erik L. Peterson was inspired by the interplay of water and land on coastlines, as well as gas, liquids and solids mixing in one form. Using neon as a light object, Seep NFK is not text or image based, but actually seeps down the wall as water would move through city streets.
Peterson was moved by the energy in the NEON District and offered to loan the piece as a semi-permanent installation. That’s when the community stepped in to make it happen. Under the guidance of Downtown Norfolk Council, NEON District enthusiasts learned of the project and how they could help.
The condominium association at 801 Granby provided the north wall of its building. It provides the perfect site and a beacon to the arts district as vehicles and pedestrians approach NEON from upper Granby Street.
Although the artist loaned the work long term, there were installation costs that needed to find support. Downtown Norfolk Council submitted a grant to the Business Consortium for Arts Support. The grant was approved to cover the install budget, design fees and extra neon work. It also provided a great opportunity for the arts support organization to make a significant investment in NEON.
“The BCAS and our generous membership have been proud to partner with the DNC and the NEON District to help bring extraordinary artwork to the area,” said Executive Director Lisa Wigginton Doud. “Seep NFK brings a beautiful new light to our already colorful cityscape and exemplifies the power of collaboration within our community. We plan to continue to support the growth of the NEON District as well as numerous other arts organizations in South Hampton Roads.”
The neon work was reformatted for exterior installation with the help of local neon sign fabricator Bryan Riehl and sign installer George Gabris who provided their services at a significant discount. They worked with the artist over several months on the transformation and communicated regularly on a plan for the installation and fabrication of extra neon tubes.
About the Artist
Erik L. Peterson is a pro-bono public artist, sculptor, and curator living in Chicago. He is best known for his large-scale urban interventions (Face Value and Inner State) and signature edible ice cream sculptures (CreamCycle and Soft Palate). Public performances employing sculptural elements like Two Tow’n and Square Dance are camouflaged urban spectacles, while the annual Southwest Wisconsin Make Your Own Softball League game gathers artists who build their own bats and balls in order to play. Additionally, Peterson is a founder of Hyde Park Kunstverein, a community museum and solo project space in Chicago.