Ottawa·Photos

Neon sign maker's art now on display in Almonte

When Scott Adamson got so busy making neon signs for commercial customers that he didn't have time to focus on his own projects, he decided to make a change.

New gallery/café in Almonte, Ont., showcases luminous works

Scott and Karyn Adamson inside the Gaslight Café & Sign Gallery in Almonte, Ont. (Mario Carlucci/CBC)

When Scott Adamson got so busy making neon signs for commercial customers that he didn't have time to focus on his own projects, he decided to make a change.

He and his wife Karyn Adamson, a coffee barista, combined their passions by opening Gaslight Café & Sign Gallery in the small town of Almonte, southwest of Ottawa.

"They say it's a good problem to have if you're too busy but there's so much potential for creative expression with this type of medium," he said on CBC Radio's All In A Day last week.

"I really had to find a way to break away from the commercial work, even for a short period, to be able to pursue some of these ideas that have been percolating in my head."

The cafe opened in mid-July after the couple spent two months converting an old antique store on the town's main drag, Mill Street.

A piece called 'Ruby' is displayed on a wall at Gaslight Café & Sign Gallery. (Mario Carlucci/CBC)

"We love Almonte. We moved here about five years ago, and we thought it was a really good spot to put down roots. The town is super friendly, super supportive, very entrepreneurial, which is a nice place to be," Karyn Adamson said.

Before pivoting to retail, Scott Adamson created neon lighting for several Ottawa businesses, including the Riviera and Citizen restaurants.

CBC Ottawa's Mario Carlucci decided to pay them a visit and find out more about their evolving business. 9:28

"I think that's mainly to do with the fact that it's just so rare now. Up until 10 or 20 years ago you'd see neon pretty frequently … but those are gradually being phased out in favour of newer LED, more modern technology," Scott Adamson said.

"So I think the resurgence you're seeing is mainly the fact that it's so rare, and it's so different, and it had such a quality that you don't really see with any of the newer technologies. And when people see it, it's really eye-catching." 

Here's a visual tour of some of Scott Adamson's neon signs in Ottawa, Almonte and Kingston, Ont.

Gaslight Café and Sign Gallery, Almonte

Almonte Lobby Bar, Almonte

Banditos, Ottawa

Citizen restaurant, Ottawa

Kichesippi Beer Co., Ottawa

The Screening Room movie theatre, Kingston

Zak's Cantina, Ottawa

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