Neon lights, they're everywhere you go. Theaters, motels, and now, in your mailbox?
In 2009, an art director from the U.S. Postal Service asked Michael Flechtner to create a neon postage stamp. At first, the neon artist in Van Nuys thought they were kidding.
"I thought, a postage stamp?" said Flechtner. "I just thought he was putting me on. He said the theme is 'Celebrate,' so I started thinking about what's universally recognized as a form of celebration."
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That's when he thought of fireworks.
"You see fireworks are in any culture," said Flechtner. "And they're always celebrating something."
The vibrant design he created has the word "Celebrate!" arching between festive fireworks and balloons.
After the design was approved, he created a neon sign by bending glass rods over a 1,400 degree flame and filling them with gas that explodes into neon-color when hit with voltage.
The next step was photographing the sign.
"We took a series of exposures to give the Post Office a variety of exposures to decide which one worked best for them," Flechtner said
The stamp hit post offices across the country on March 25th.
"I stopped at the Post Office in Reseda and there's the poster with my stamp in the middle of it," said Flechtner.
He said his mother in Austin, Texas bought the stamp earlier in the day.
"It just made my head buzz and tingle," said Flechtner. "It was just this incredible feeling."
The Postal Service is so happy with it's stamp, Flechtner said there is a good chance he will get to design another neon stamp.
Besides the Post Office, Michael Flechtner's work can also be seen at the Museum of Neon Art, his neon aquarium above the Starbucks on the corner of Olympic and Sawtelle, and his public art commissioned at the Warner Center Hub, on Owensmouth.