Monday, 12 June 2017

The brightest spot in East London

All artwork copyright of God's Own Junkyard. Photo: Laura Reynolds

"Are you getting enough?" glares one sign, while "God save the Queen" screams at you from another direction. An arrow points one way for "thrills", another way for "happiness", and a different direction entirely for "beer, girls, porn".

All artwork copyright of God's Own Junkyard. Photo: Laura Reynolds

To describe God's Own Junkyard as 'chaotic' would be an understatement. It's a visual cacophony of lights, colours, and tongue in cheek humour, spewed out in a captivating neon overload.

All artwork copyright of God's Own Junkyard. Photo: Laura Reynolds

God's Own Junkyard is a neon light gallery in Walthamstow, east London. Set in a bog-standard warehouse on an industrial estate, the exterior does no justice to what hits your as soon as you walk in the door.

All artwork copyright of God's Own Junkyard. Photo: Laura Reynolds

It was founded by Chris Bracey, a neon artist who created works for Hollywood film sets, Soho sex shops, and celebrity collectors. Sadly, he died in 2014, and his family now runs God's Own Junkyard, allowing the public to still see his captivating and eclectic works. There's also a Just Giving fundraiser in his name.
All artwork copyright of God's Own Junkyard. Photo: Laura Reynolds

It had been on my London to-do list for well over two years (it's at the very end of the Victoria line, so y'know...) before I finally got round to visiting.

All artwork copyright of God's Own Junkyard. Photo: Laura Reynolds

Of course, I'd seen photos of the place on social media, filtered up to the hilt to make it as colourful as possible - or so I thought. Turns out, it really is that colourful and bright, no filter required.

All artwork copyright of God's Own Junkyard. Photo: Laura Reynolds

The whitewashed walls take on a pink hue from the neon overload. Along with the ceiling, floor and tables, they're are covered with neon signs of different shapes, sizes, colours and styles. Some are carefully arranged, others hang haphazardly, squeezed into any space that can be found.

All artwork copyright of God's Own Junkyard. Photo: Laura Reynolds
As well as the light attractions you'll find knick-knacks dotted around the place, from shopping baskets from an old Woolworths store, to various garish statues of Jesus.

All artwork copyright of God's Own Junkyard. Photo: Laura Reynolds
Tucked away in the corner is the Rolling Scones Cafe (see what they did there?), which I  didn't have time to try on my whistle stop tour. It'd be easy to complete miss the small fire exit style door at the back, which leads out onto a small, concrete garden area, an extension of the cafe's indoor seating.

All artwork copyright of God's Own Junkyard. Photo: Laura Reynolds
A word of warning - they're very strict on photography. Camera phones are allowed, but standalone cameras are not. It's understandable really - if I'd whipped up somewhere this incredible, I'd be doing everything I could to protect my copyright too. There is a small shop on site where you can buy postcards of some of the artworks, as well as other bits and pieces.

All artwork copyright of God's Own Junkyard. Photo: Laura Reynolds

All artwork copyright of God's Own Junkyard. Photo: Laura Reynolds

God's Own Junkyard, Unit 12, Ravenswood Industrial Estate, Shernhall Street, London, E17 9HQ. Entry is free, but consider donating to that Just Giving page.

All neon artworks shown here are copyright of God's Own Junkyard (photos by Laura Reynolds).

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