Scott McNeill, “Scottsdale artist has a glow about him”, AZ Republic, Sept. 2008





Scottsdale artist dreams in color

by Erin Norris

Sept. 24, 2008

The Arizona Republic

Walking into the south Scottsdale home of artist Scott McNeill is like entering a dream world.

Vibrant colors radiate from fish and bird sculptures. An animated jungle hangs on the living room wall. Neon skulls are piled in cardboard boxes.

Turn out the lights, the room intensifies with the glow of art scattered about.

These are McNeill's latest creations.

McNeill has been a woodcarver for more than 15 years, a craft he learned after college as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Honduras. About four years ago, he started turning those woodcarvings into glow-in-the-dark masterpieces.

"It was an accident," McNeill said of his art. "I stumbled across this material on the Internet."

He produces the glow with strontium aluminate, a crystal-like material often used to illuminate the hands of watches. He mixes it with a resin and layers it until a solid sculpture is formed.

Because every layer of the sculpture contains the crystals, the result is an intense glow from within.

His luminescent art will be exhibited in "Way to Glow! Scott McNeill," beginning Oct. 3 at the Arizona Museum for Youth, 35 N. Robson St. in Mesa.

The pieces will be displayed in a darkened room, where the lights will come on and off periodically, said Latonya Smith, the community arts coordinator for the museum.

"They will actually be able to experience the art both in light and dark," she said. "That's captivating to the child and their imagination will be stimulated."

The process of making the glow-art takes several months and is often frustrating, McNeill said.

"Actually, I think I'm finished with the glow stuff," he said.

He said it was never really something he set out to do.

"I was just so intrigued with how cool it was that I had to keep going with it."

So what's next for McNeill?

He plans to continue with his multidimensional art, woodcarvings painted on both the flat background and the raised carvings. The effect is artwork with multiple dimensions - like two paintings in one combined with a sculpture.

The art reflects McNeill's philosophy that, "there is something bigger happening than we're aware of."

For now, though, the glow-art will take center stage.

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