We have to admit: up until a few days ago, we were one of the many Austinites to pass by the Roadhouse Relics building on S. 1st St. and think it was nothing more than a museum of old vintage neon signs. How wrong we were. Owner Todd Sanders doesn't curate some dusty exhibit of old signs...he custom crafts vintage-inspired neon sign art for commercial and residential customers!
He calls it "modern vintage". For 15 years, Sanders has created stunning works of mid-century glowing art so good, many think the signs are actually over 50 years old. They're all brand new, though, and they're custom made to order. Many restaurants and businesses use his handiwork, as well as movie sets and even celebrities. But Sanders says the bulk of his custom orders go to residential customers who want neon signs for their homes. Glancing around the glowing and cheery showroom, it's easy to see why. Sure paintings and photographs on a wall look great, but something like a custom neon sign in your home would be utterly gorgeous and dynamic! And, unlike finding actual antique neon signs for home decor, the signs Sanders make use less energy, are safer and are even able to dim!
Priced reasonably for their size and work involved, Sanders' pieces really bring an air of life and energy into a space. His years of experience in doing this sort of work is evident, even up close it's almost impossible to tell the age of his work. In fact, there's a business close to my home that uses his work, Doc's Motorworks and Grill, and we've totally thought the sign was from the 50's. Incredible! Sanders even stocks up on popular signs that you can purchase and take home in one day. And while neon's made him famous, Sanders also applies his amazing artistic talent to non-glowing signs and banners, also available for custom purchase. You can read more about Todd Sanders and Roadhouse Relics on his website.