Bulleit Expands Frontier Works Neon Project

NEON In A Bottle, created by Neon Queen Lisa Schulte, part of the Bulleit-inspired NEON Collection, for sale exclusively via Saatchi Art. (PRNewsfoto/Bulleit Distilling Co.)

The Bourbon brand launches limited edition Bulleit inspired neon in a bottle art collection.

From the dazzling marquees of Broadway to the unmistakable sparkle of Las Vegas, neon lights shine as many of America’s most iconic landmarks. As thousands of neon signs across the U.S. have fallen into disrepair and neon art has shifted from a cultural mainstay to vintage afterthought, Bulleit looks to champion its reemergence with an innovative neon collection.

“Through the Bulleit Frontier Works program we’ve united those on the cultural frontier who embody the spirit of our brand. The collaborations connect modern makers, celebrate the unified work and provide a platform to shine a light on their craft, creation and remarkable vision,” said Sophie Kelly, Sr. Vice President of North American Whiskeys at Diageo. “As part of the Frontier Works NEON project, which the Bulleit brand launched earlier this year, we look to continuously fuel neon art. Today we’ll unveil the NEON In A Bottle art collection, a Bulleit Frontier Works collaboration with preeminent neon artist Lisa Schulte and our friends at Saatchi Art.”

Lisa Schulte, also known as The Neon Queen, is introducing the Bulleit inspired NEON Collection during Miami Art Week, for exclusive sale via Saatchi Art. This limited edition collection will be the first neon art collection ever sold by Saatchi Art and features words and phrases that celebrate the frontier spirit, inside Bulleit Bourbon bottles. Each NEON In A Bottle piece of art features neon glass which is hand-blown by Schulte and crafted into works of art, then meticulously inserted into the brand’s classic frontier-inspired bottle.

Bulleit Frontier Works NEON Project Billboard at LA’s Grand Central Market celebrates the modern cultural frontier. (PRNewsfoto/Bulleit Distilling Co.)

Earlier in 2017, Bulleit teamed up with Schulte and artist Brendan Donnelly to construct a 26 ft. wide dynamic neon billboard in downtown Los Angeles at the historic Grand Central Market. As the inaugural Frontier Works NEON project, the sign sparked a passion in Bulleit to further champion the lost art of neon and showcase the craft on a larger scale.

This holiday season, in order to bring the frontier spirit to consumers across the nation, Bulleit has served as the inspiration for Saatchi Art, on the exclusive NEON collection curated by Rebecca Wilson, Saatchi Art Chief Curator. The NEON collection includes 13 neon bottles alongside a number of vibrant neon artworks by Schulte and select Saatchi Art artists. Art collectors and design enthusiasts are able to purchase the entire collection or shop piece by piece beginning today via www.saatchiart.com/bulleitneoncollection. Prices will vary across the collection, but each NEON In A Bottle artwork will be sold for $1,000.00, including shipping.

“Art is an expression of who we are and who we want to be,” said Schulte. “For me, that’s a constant desire to live on the edge of the modern cultural frontier. From the form and function of the Bulleit bottle to the inspirational messages that live within, that’s what I’ve tried to create with NEON In A Bottle.”

Renowned as the preeminent neon bender of her generation, Schulte has forged new frontiers in art and color. Motivated in part by losing her sight in a freak accident at the age of seven, for months she lived in darkness as her eyes were covered in patches and doctors worked to restore her sight.  When the bandages were removed, Schulte found that not only had she recovered her vision, but she’d gained a perspective and appreciation for light that few could ever truly understand. Decades later, her brush with blindness continues to inspire her work.

“Saatchi Art is proud to partner with Bulleit and Lisa Schulte to showcase the incredible talent of artists working with the magical medium of neon,” said Wilson. “The pieces selected for this collection are visually striking, and reflect the passion and craft of neon culture.”

To further shine a light on neon art and preserve its legacy, proceeds from every NEON In A Bottle art sold will go to The Museum of Neon Art to revitalize the lost art of neon bending. Starting with the Bulleit NEON billboard in LA featuring more than a dozen LA-inspired designs, Bulleit is committed to preserving neon culture through the restoration and creation of new neon art. To additionally ensure this valued art form is celebrated, Bulleit plans to engage in neon sign restoration projects across the United States.

The NEON project follows on the heels of inaugural Bulleit Frontier Works program, TATTOO, which united 24 tattoo artists to create the world’s largest collaborative tattoo. For more information on Bulleit Frontier Works, follow Bulleit on Instagram @Bulleit and check out the hashtag #FrontierWorks.

Caroline Paulus
Caroline Paulus is the Senior Editor for The Bourbon Review. She lives and writes in Lexington, Kentucky. Follow her on Instagram @misswhiskeyhistorian to keep up with her latest in bourbon news - and a few old finds, too.