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Check Out Tayler Drattlo’s Story

Today we’d like to introduce you to Tayler Drattlo.

Hi Tayler, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstories.
I was born in South Texas and raised in my family’s Tejano dancehall, Randy’s Ballroom.

The neon-lit our family business for decades. I have committed my art practice to bring the same excitement, fun, and exploration of neon as a medium itself through color and the environment that I was lucky enough to bask in. I studied Neon at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and expanded my skill set over the past 7 years by working full-time in the neon industry.

As a neon tube bender, it is important to me to educate the public about the efficiency of neon and its relevance to the world today.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
Finding a great place to work AND learn neon didn’t come easily after I attended SAIC, (The School of the Art Institute of Chicago).

I learned that if I really wanted to immerse myself in the craft of neon in its purest form: Neon Sign Making, I was going to have to dig deep and persevere. I have been a full-time professional neon designer, bender, and neon processor for 7 years now.

Hard work pays off, and if you do it right, you begin to want more. I’m at the stage in my career where I’m seeking to expand my practice in a way that holds true to the values of traditional neon sign-making while pushing myself to learn new techniques outside my comfort zone.

As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
Tayler Drattlo was born and raised in San Antonio, Texas. Growing up in her grandfather’s Tejano nightclub, “Randy’s Ballroom”, she was surrounded by neon lights that illuminated the stage and dance floor. This exposure in her youth pushed her to re-create the colorfully lit environment in her adulthood.

She studied Neon Design at The School of The Art Institute of Chicago and started her career in the neon sign industry. Tayler studied the craft of neon under multiple master benders, fine-tuning her skillset in tube bending and neon processing. Her neon art is heavily influenced by traditional neon sign making.

She designs her patterns utilizing the language of neon bends, (double backs, right angle bends, gradual arcs), and uses industry-standard torches to bend her glass to a reverse pattern. After she processes her glass, (sometimes referred to as bombarding), she fills her tubes with either Neon gas or a mix of Argon gas and Mercury.

Tayler believes strongly in preserving the craft of neon while pushing the boundaries of the advertisement medium. You can find her work in person at the Atlanta Contemporary.

Awarded 2021 Regional Emerging Artist in Residence, you can find her upcoming solo show at Artspace located in Raleigh, North Carolina in 2023. Official dates are TBD.

If we knew you growing up, how would we have described you?
I remember playing the board game, “Life”. I decided one day as a child to “dog ear” the Artist card in the career selection so I could always pick it when my family and I played.

I painted and drew all over my walls as an adolescent. I studied art in middle and high school. I’ve always liked to work with my hands, I remember working with small beads and doing tedious weaving at a young age, which turned into hand-carved linocut printmaking, and now I’m a Neon Artist.

It takes real-time to learn to bend soft glass tubes. The glass teaches me patience every time I turn on the fires and start bending. Neon Meditation.

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