It was my partner that spotted something shiny and he asked “do you mind if we stop here?” There was some neon in the window and a sign outside the door that said “Neon Art Gallery”.
We knocked at the locked door and waited for an answer. Peering into the darkened windows of the gallery, we patiently called the phone number on the window.
A few minutes later as we stood gazing and awkwardly pointing at the beautiful neon in the windows a man came to the front and let us in. This is how we met the local historian, certified electrician and neon artist Robert Randazzo, the owner and sole proprietor of Absolutely Neon.
He was born and raised from a Sicilian family in Brooklyn, New York. He learned how to work as a young boy helping his family around their bakery and as he matured decided to study as an electrical apprentice.
Thank goodness for anyone that appreciates neon.
He has resided in Albuquerque for 27 years and repairs, designs, installs and maintains neon work all over the country. Over the years Robert has tried to bring in new artists excited about learning the lost art of neon but had a hard time finding anyone that has the same kind of interest or “fire” within to continue on creating the beautiful lit up “works of art”.
It turns out “Absolutely Neon” is a museum of sorts showcasing Robert’s work and 30 year history of creating neon art. He gave us a full tour and talked about his life making neon and all the interesting projects he had been involved in over the years. Much of the neon you see in and around Albuquerque was installed or maintained by Robert.
If you are in Albuquerque and want to meet a unique individual that uses the pragmatic process of combining glass, gas and electricity to create something artistically mesmerizing and powerful be sure to go to Nob Hill and tap on the windows.
Robert and his work is worth the time.
Here is a video clip from Roberts web site highlighting neon along Route 66.