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(american, BORN 1967)

When I Rise, 2018
mixed media neon
dimensions variable
Laumeier Sculpture Park Commission, with funds from Nancy and Ken Kranzberg

St. Louis artist David Hutson’s neon “tube bending” casts a cool, buzzing glow in the Park,expressing neon’s power as an artistic medium. Sited on a towering tree, When I Rise, 2018, is a significant text-based artwork using gaseous typography, cascading a quote from The Mad Farmer’s Poems by celebrated American novelist Wendell Berry: “WHEN I RISE UP LET ME RISE UP JOYFUL LIKE A BIRD. WHEN I FALL LET ME FALL WITHOUT REGRET LIKE A LEAF.” Hutson’s work speaks both literally and metaphorically about connection to place, one of Berry’s fundamental concerns, brought to life here through alchemy— a crafted language stuck to a symbol of life itself. Using the power and inspiration of nature, Hutson’s piece becomes a delightful addition to our light-based sculpture collection saturating the outdoor galleries with moments of illumination.

 ©1971, 2011 by Wendell Berry. Reprinted by permission of Counterpoint Press.

This work was part of the 2018 Kranzberg Exhibition Series: David Hutson, Memory & Desire: A Personal Exploration of Neon Art Past and Present.

Sculpture Interaction Guideline: Look, But Do Not Touch 


David Hutson is a neon artist with a specialization in theater production. He has exhibited his artwork nationally and is a consultant for internationally renowned theatrical productions. Hutson lectures extensively about his collection of restored vintage neon signs and serves on numerous historic preservation commissions with a focus on the care and maintenance of objects related to Historic Route 66. Hutson is a key member of the Neon Heritage Preservation Committee of the Route 66 Association of Missouri. Hutson lives in St. Louis, Missouri and owns Neon Time in St. Charles, Missouri where he creates his own work and restores neon signs.