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Artist and designer Abigail Dougherty, alias Neon Saltwater, creates digital interiors and real installations, saturated with colors and neons, that make the nostalgia of the 80s and 90s vibrate.

© Neon Saltwater
© Neon Saltwater
© Neon Saltwater

Abigail Dougherty transcends time and place through her digital and tangible designs. This 33-year-old emerging artist from Seattle has always been fascinated by colors and interior spaces. 

“When I was a kid, I was obsessed with pencils and then later with oil painting. And I always liked the rooms, I reorganized my furniture all by myself. I loved the feeling of changing space. It is more than a simple form of functional or aesthetic expression. The energy that exists within the spaces seems spiritual to me and is my greatest inspiration.”

This former interior design student at the Cornish College of the Arts quickly took off by creating her own universe through 3D modeling.

© Neon Saltwater

Her work draws on silver photography, film sets, video clips, fashion, vintage typos, neon lights, cult horror fiction covers, magazines, catalogues, and other advertisements from the 1970s to the 1980s. In this way, it transcends ordinary and familiar spaces into dreamlike environments in plays of colors, lights, and atmospheres that structure dreamlike scenic spaces.

From virtual to real

Everything thus invites nostalgia. With emotion, tenderness, energy, and imagination. If digital has become her outlet, Abigail Dougherty has quickly transposed her universe into the real world through installations, pop-ups (Barneys in New York), and exhibitions.

© Mystery Cruise 1990, curated by Charlotte Dutoit for Justkids

One of her recent creations, Mystery Cruise 1990. Justkids invited her, at the end of 2022, to refresh a 1930s gas station in Las Vegas for Life is Beautiful.

The multidisciplinary artistic platform has been in charge of the festival’s programming since its creation in 2013, inviting many talents, such as Shepard Fairey, Lakwena, Okuda San Miguel, Felipe Pantone and Camille Walala.

“As artists move from physical to digital, it was thought that it would be interesting to export Neon Saltwater’s cybernetic wonders into a nonvirtual artistic experience, not just on a screen, but in a tangible public art form,” explained curator and director Charlotte Dutoit.

© Neon Saltwater

The vintage architecture is transformed into a beautiful retro landscape in neon-doped colors, which has not failed to touch both the nostalgic and the Z generation, fond of this resurgence of the Y2K aesthetics and the 80s and 90s.

Seattle – United States

Nathalie Dassa