God's Own Junkyard
Anyone who’s wandered through Soho will recognise the neon signs that populate God’s Own Junkyard in Walthamstow. Founder and artist Chris Bracey made a name for himself in the 80s by creating some of Soho's most iconic sex shop signs. Bracey was soon picked up by film studios, and made pieces for movies like Eyes Wide Shut and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The art world also took notice, and enlisted him to create neon works for the likes of Martin Creed and David LaChappelle. Bracey set up God’s Own Junkyard to house the neon art that he had made himself, or saved from the scrap heap by others.
Bracey, also known as the Neon Man or the Master of Glow, passed away last year, but his legacy lives on in Walthamstow. The showroom-come-gallery is fittingly called God’s Own Junkyard considering all the electric religious imagery scattered about the space. Bracey set up shop in this space in 2013, after being kicked out of his previous neon home and deciding it was time for an upgrade. There’s nowhere quite like it in London – crammed full of every colour and glowing light imaginable, it is a true bombardment of the senses.
Because’s trip to the Junkyard involved our old friends Givenchy and Marni. Sparkles seemed obligatory in such a setting. Cult film fans might recognise the style of our film as an homage to the opening credits of Gaspar Noé’s cult film Enter the Void, set amongst the neon lights of Tokyo. Noé has a reputation for sexually explicit films - see the hype around his most recent film Love, which was released in the UK yesterday. It is an appropriately salacious tribute, considering how tied up Bracey’s work is with Soho sex shops.
Even if neon art isn’t quite to your taste, we can promise that it’s one of the most Instagram-worthy places you can go in the city.
God’s Own Junkyard can be found at:
Ravenswood Industrial Estate
Look one Givenchy by Riccardo Tisci
Look two by Marni
Text by Prudence Wade