|THE PROOF is a weekly roundup showcasing local creatives. A column for creatives to share their story and work, in a unique, concise format: each creative shows 8 pictures and answers 8 questions. Past participants include Bob Kronbauer, Omer Arbel, Hannah Georgas, Carson Ting, Lizzy Karp, Andy Dixon, Graeme Berglund, Karen Duncan of VOKRA – all living in Vancouver.|
Endeavour Neon started when my dad handed over the reins of the neon side of our signage company to me. The name ‘Endeavour’ came to me because it means to try hard and achieve something. With this company, that is what I strive for everyday – I love what I do.
At age 13, I began pumping neon – filling them with the reactant gasses that give the signs their light and colour – beginning a career that is still going strong 16 years later.
My signs are a big part of me since I have learned this art form from my dad, David Hibbs, who had been bending neon for over 30 years. There are not too many neon benders left and not too many people learning the unique trade as it takes years to learn. I am happy to be able to continue on his legacy. The neat thing about what I do is that customers can send me a design or even there own handwriting and I bring it to life for them. It’s pretty cool seeing designs on the computer make it to the customized finished product.
I always liked to work with my hands. Ever since I was young I would always go fix stuff, would always be working on something, This is all hands on. Everything is done by hand. Nothing is bent by machines or anything.
1. Time is Precious sign for Kit and Ace in Gastown.
2. This is me bending the glass in the cross fires.
3. me attaching the unit to the pump.
4. using the block to flatten the glass on the bench.
5. A finished unit on the pattern.
6. A sign i am working on right now in Vancouver, repumping and repairing this iconic sign in China Town.
1. What neighborhood do you live in and why?
I live in Fraser heights, the city is to busy and fast for me, i like property and being able to spread out a little.
2. What do you do and where?
I bend neon out of our family shop in south surrey.
3. How did you come to be neon bender? What drew you into sign design?
I watched my Dad bend neon out of the shop in our back yard ever since i was little and was always fascinated by it, my dad let me start pumping the neon when i was 13 and i knew that is what i wanted to do with my life.
4. Could you describe your process?
It starts with an email and a design on the computer, I then print out the pattern and trace it out with a tracing wheel, i have to bend everything backwards so the raises and drops of the glass will end up on the back side of the neon sign, after the neon unit is finished i attach it to the pump and suck all the air out of the glass to replace it with either argon (blue gas) or neon (red gas) after it is pumped i paint the raises and drops of the glass so each letter looks like it is separate from the others, i then build the sign and attach the neon.
5. What is your most cherished tool?
My fires would be most cherished tools as i wouldn’t be able to do anything without them.
6. Which of your designs are you most excited about right now and why?
I’m not excited about just one design, I love seeing designs come to life. It is the most satisfying feeling.
7. If you weren’t a neon bender, what would you want to be?
If i wasn’t a neon bender i would probably be a mechanic or something in the building industry as i love working with my hands.
8. Is there anything else you would like to share with us?
All the pictures except the last one are by Janis Nicolay @pineconecamp on Instagram