High vis kids playing outside,

High vis kids nowhere to hide.

High vis kids, a dangerous tone,

High vis kids don’t leave them alone.

To play, to run, pickup sticks and climb.

High vis kids, “its dinner time!”

High vis kids playing outside

High vis kids nowhere to hide.

High vis materials have an intrinsic place within my practice. I have explored them throughout the course in nearly all the works I have made. Originally called ‘Day Glow’, the material itself was developed in the 1930’s and was used first in theatrical settings, stage shows and for movie posters. It then became of interest to the U.S army as a way of protecting against friendly fire situations. It is interesting to me that the first two uses of this material were both theatrical/playful and to protect/expose, this is something which directly feeds into my work. The material creates a duality which says look at me, come closer, stay away and let’s play!

I use this material in my work to attract viewers like moths to a flame and to repel them from the sharp edges of the work. It adds a playful, theatrical warning system. High vis or neon materials also hold a place within queer history, here they also have a kind of duality, one which is rooted in identity politics. Before LGBTQ communities had rights to express themselves freely, the neon lights of clubs, bars and underground places represented a geographical point of reference for those who seek acceptance and community, and still does today.

The kitsch and camp quality of neon materials harks back to the 1990s raving scene, to burlesque, to neon stockings and beautiful drag queens. It is the ultimate ‘look at me’ material, an expression of undulating sexual freedom, a seedy strip joint staple, a 1980s wet dream!