Scott McNeill, Here they glow again, AZ Lifestyles, 2008




Here they glow again

by Lynette Carrington - December 2008

AZ Lifestyle Magazine

Last year, Arizona Museum for Youth (AMY) presented "Underwater Fantasea," an exhibit that showcased oceanic art in various mediums as created by many talented artists.  One artist from that show has been invited back for his own exhibition: The incredibly unique creations of Scott McNeill will be featured at AMY Oct. 4 to Feb. 8, 2009.

One of the more fascinating things about McNeill's art is how he got started on the journey that led him to where he is today.  In the early 1990s, McNeill was with the Peace Corps where he was assigned to a small village in Honduras.  Valle de Angeles is a town of only 3,500 people - about 300 of which are skilled woodcarvers.  McNeill took a shine to woodworking and began assisting in a workshop with 20 workers, three of which were master artisans.

After his stint with the Peace Corps, McNeill continued to perfect his intricate woodworking skills.  As he painstakingly created artwork via woodcarvings, he had the idea to evolve the work into something completely different.

A few years ago,  McNeill began experimenting with making rubber molds of his carvings.  "Then I thought, 'What am I going to do with this?'" he said.  He began developing artwork using resin and a special type of crystal powder with luminescent qualities.  "It's more of an industrial product," he said.  He has never seen another artist use this technique.

Over the course of a couple of years he developed his own technique of pulling the molds from his initial woodcarvings and combining various consistencies and thicknesses of glowing powder with resin to create works of art.  The resulting pieces glow brilliantly, usually all night long.  "The glow comes from deep within the artwork," explained McNeill.

About 60 percent of McNeill's art follows an ocean or underwater theme.  His work contains intricate details with a dreamlike quality that often carry metaphoric messages that reveal themselves the longer the viewer gazes upon them.  Arizona Museum for Youth has made special preparations for the McNeill exhibit.  "We're preparing a special showcase for him, complete with black walls, a blackout curtain and special lighting," said Museum Curator Jeffory Morris.

Museum visitors will be whisked away to another dimension while basking in the glow of fish, seagulls, thriving underwater ocean worlds and vibrant bustling environments.  "Jungle Boogie" is a wall relief thriving with activity.  Branches create a base "structure" within the piece and are then interwoven with brilliant tropical flowers and green-vined, yellow-tipped leaves.  Monkeys, toucans, parrots, frogs and a jungle cat come alive with glowing brilliance in McNeill's artistic interpretation.

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