Interview: The Founders of the Neon Art Collective ‘She Bends’ Discuss the Womxn at the Forefront of the Trade

Artwork by Megan Stelljes. All images courtesy of She Bends, shared with permission

Since co-founding She Bends, Meryl Pataky and Kelsey Issel have been upending the notion that neon signage is solely a commercial endeavor. The duo fosters a collective of womxn creating the illuminated works, offering support for the artists while working to make the medium more sustainable and diverse.

Especially in times like these, there should be an inherent responsibility that messages, especially those in bright lights, be important messages or calls to action. Talking about things that are uncomfortable, shedding light on them, should be the role of neon art, and in my experience is the work I like the most. —Meryl Pataky

Contributor Claire Voon recently spoke with the duo in a new interview that’s available to all readers thanks to the support of Colossal Members. The three dive into how COVID-19 has changed She Bends’ plans, the commercialization of neon, and the role toxic positivity plays in modern messaging.


By Meryl Pataky