Jerry Therio – New Orleans Neon Artist
Jerry Therio creates neon designs for theater and movie sets, for local and out of town production companies, art exhibitions and special events. He creates neon art for private commercial and residential clients, as permanent installations or enhancements for events such as the Gambit Weekly Holiday Party at NOMA in 2007.
New Orleans native Jerry Therio has collected, restored and designed neon since 1978. Over a ten year period he accumulated more than 800 pieces of vintage neon and graduated from salvaging neon as a hobby, to a career in neon design. He now uses neon, new and vintage, as a medium for fine art, in full scale art
installations and gallery exhibitions that have earned critical acclaim.
In recent years he has worked with the art departments of movies that filmed in New Orleans, including: Mardi Gras (2007), Backwater (2004), Ray (2003), Love Song for Bobby Long (2003), Dracula 2000 (2000), Pelican Brief (1993) and JFK (1991).
He also created neon for New Orleans Carnival Krewes’ floats, Endymion, Bacchus, and Orpheus.
Therio's first exhibit as a neon artist was held in the lobby of Le Petite Theatre du Vieux Carre in conjunction with the production of the musical "Grease". Since then his designs have been included in the Contemporary Arts Center's annual group exhibits, "Art Place/Canal Place" and "Art for Art's Sake". As one of three artists selected for a group show at Simms' Fine Arts Gallery entitled “Neon: Vintage & Contemporary", he achieved critical recognition. Arts Critic Roger Green of the Times-Picayune said in his revue:
"Of the artists, Jerry Therio is by far the most inventive, utilizing neon in free-standing and relief sculptures that demonstrate the wide variety of artistic uses to which neon lighting can be put."
Neon Designs by Jerry Therio have been featured at New Orleans' most prestigious galas including: "Zoo To Do", "Sweet Arts' Ball", "The Odyssey Ball" "Young Audiences Ball", and "Dollars For Scholars" , “The Big Easy Entertainment Awards”, and in New Orleans' City Park's "Celebration In the Oaks".
He has created unique, site-specific installations for numerous special events in collaboration with various design consultants, and as a designer in his own right. He collaborated with jazz musicians to produce "Neon Sound Performances", innovative, interactive combinations of music and visual art. Their productions at the Contemporary Arts Center, galleries and music clubs won critical acclaim. The concept earned the team a Regional Artists Project grant (National Endowment for the Arts, Rockefeller Foundation and Andy Warhol Foundation) in 1993.
He completed a course at Ed Waldrum’s School of Neon in Irving Texas in 1999, expanding his knowledge of blowing and bending his medium of choice.
Jerry Therio maintains a collection of vintage and new neon pieces from which he continues to create neon designs for theater and movie sets, and for special events. His improvisational neon art is creative and site specific for his clients. For 2008 he is creating special work for the Voodoo Music Experience in New Orleans.