While a handwritten letter can hold news or sentiments that positively burble with emotion, we can't say, with total truth, that the stamp on the envelope glows quite as brightly.
Stamps can be gorgeous, of course, and wee works of art, but only one recent example of postage stands out as being especially "bright": The Neon Celebrate! stamp, which was first issued in 2011 and was tapped for reissue in 2015.
Artist Michael Flechtner created the zazzy, colorful rectangle, a piece that hung on millions of "walls" (if you want to think of an envelope as a miniature gallery). Mr. Flechtner regularly fashions fabulous things from neon, a form that is much identified with signage but, of course, has plenty of "buzz" in the art world, too.
What to do, where to go and what to see
A chance to spy a neon-neat art studio is an unusual one, but Flechtner fans, neonists, and stamp mavens alike will make for Flektro Studios on Sunday, Feb. 5 to get the 411 on these mysterious tubes of light.
Well, not so mysterious: How the elements work to illuminate an artwork is science, and learning about that, as well as Mr. Flechtner's process, from "design to fabrication and electrification," is on the docket for the special Atlas Obscura field trip.
It's a field trip that'll include a "glass-bending demonstration," too, proving that neon isn't simply filling up a clear tube with the requisite gases and necessary, make-it-glow additions. There's a physicality to working in neon art, beyond a talent for imagining how incandescence can create an eye-catching object for the ages.
Plan on donning closed-toe shoes, as you'll be inside "an active art studio with glass, machinery, electronics, and other materials."
And plan on securing your $50 ticket, soon. Neon is as much a part of Southern California's cultural legacy as noir, and we see this each night, along our roads, after the sun goes down.
That this same form can appear in fanciful artworks, and the occasional much-celebrated stamp, invites us to become acquainted with how illumination transforms into a piece that uplifts, inspires, and touches the imagination.