Neon Nevada

Book Description

There is no neon to match Nevada’s. The combination of Wild West mythology and the remaining untamed pitch-black nighttime landscape, replete with real cowboys and real gambling, makes the Silver State a unique and appropriate canvas for neon art. Modern Nevada began with a nonstop desire for riches. It continues for many as a state of dreams often vividly expressed through exploding neon. Neon Nevada brings all this alive.

Cameras in hand, authors Sheila Swan and Peter Laufer embarked on their first Nevada neon trek in the 1970s. They followed this up with a second nocturnal treasure hunt in the early 1990s—and a third in 2010, in the course of which they discovered that neon is fading fast; most notably on the Las Vegas Strip. Most of all, though, they realized that their passion for the art and craft of neon had not waned.

A compelling blend of full-color photographs and absorbing prose, Neon Nevada takes us on a literal and figurative journey not only down the Las Vegas strip but also down quiet two-lane roads punctuated occasionally with neon signs, those glittering beacons of civilization against the desert night sky. The authors talk with sign owners, with those who created and maintained the neon, and those who collect it.

About Laufer, Peter

Peter Laufer, PhD, is the award-winning author of more than a dozen books, including his widely praised Forbidden Creatures, No Animals Were Harmed, and The Dangerous World of Butterflies (all Lyons Press). He is the James Wallace Chair in Journalism at the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication. Visit him at 

Sheila Swan learned photography as an assistant in her father’s California portrait studio. She joined the Nevada Craft Guild shortly after it was founded and there began her study of Nevada’s relationship with neon.