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Heart of Glass Mentorship Program

  • Write Light Neon 1/4 Gordon Road Osborne Park (map)
 Image Credit: Benjamin Kontoullas 

Image Credit: Benjamin Kontoullas 

What is it?

The Heart of Glass Mentorship Program offers two emerging Design and Arts students a hands-on opportunity to work with incredible local artisans, and be guided through the delicate and arduous process of creating neon lettering which will be publicly displayed throughout the Youth Week WA KickstART Festival 2018.

From original artwork, to final, luminous product, successful applicants will be actively involved in drawing up artwork ready for delivery to the glass bender.

Once the artwork is finalised, participants will observe one of Perth's last remaining glass benders heat and form the glass tubes into letterforms and neon elements, pump them with gas, and bring them to life!

This opportunity is proudly presented by Propel Youth Arts WA, Write Light Neon and Dream Neon. The Youth Week WA KickstART Festival 2018 is presented by Propel Youth Arts WA, and is funded by the State Government of Western Australia. The KickstART Festival is also supported by Lotterywest and the Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority.


What is neon?

Since French chemist and engineer Georges Claude applied an electrical discharge to a sealed tube of neon in 1902, the neon process has remained largely unchanged and untouched. Neon, from the Greek 'neos' is a rare gaseous element present in the atmosphere, obtained by liquefaction of air and separated from other gasses by fractional distillation. Through a highly technical process, this inert gas is pumped into hollow glass tubes, sealed at both ends and electrified, producing an unparalleled luminous glow that is still seen in cities around the world.

Highly skilled artisans and glass benders slave over pen and paper, torches and fires to produce these gas-filled units of glass, that are still used in signage, artworks, architecture and many other applications. No machine, computer or smart phone app will ever replace the human hand when it comes to producing this truly beautiful art form.


About the mentors

Benjamin Kontoullas is a neon designer, assembler and installer, working under the guidance of mentor and neon artist George Aitken since 2016. Benjamin is currently undertaking an apprenticeship in neon fabrication and glass bending, with a view to keep this lost art form and diminishing industry alive in Perth. Working out of the Write Light Neon studio as well as for him self as Dream Neon, Benjamin has produced many iconic pieces around the streets of Perth and beyond.

With extensive experience in neon art and design, Benjamin will guide students through the many artistic processes required to bring neon artworks from inception, to completion. Benjamin will allow students to experience exactly what is involved in creating a template ready for delivery to the master glass bender, as well as finishing techniques through to completion of a neon installation which will be displayed as part of the KickstART Festival during Youth Week WA 2018.

George Aitken has more than 30 years of professional experience in providing quality neon to the retail and private sector through his well-established company Write Light Neon. George has worked extensively with designers, architects, lighting consultants and artists. George has collaborated and produced excellent art pieces for numerous artists – Brendan Van Hek, Paul Caporn, Darius Kowal, Jeppe Hein, Danie Mellor, Steven Morgano and George Kosturkov to name a few. Many of the pieces hang in private collections, but others are in various art galleries throughout Australia.

George will act as the conduit between artwork and final product, demonstrating professional glass bending and production techniques to students. Students will be given a rare glimpse into the world of neon production, witnessing hollow tubes of glass filled with an inert gas being brought to life as they are guided through this delicate and beautiful process.


Who should apply?

  • Applicants must be aged between 16 and 26 years old.
  • Graphic Design / Arts students and recent graduates will be especially interested in this experience, as it involves a high level of hand-eye coordination and an interest in type faces.
  • Applications from Science students and young people undertaking a trade are also very much encouraged, as this mentorship program is an opportunity to develop an extremely rare and valuable skill!


Where will it take place?

  • Write Light Neon (commercial studio): Unit 1/4 Gordon Road, Osborne Park
  • Dream Neon (home studio): 140 Alma Road, North Perth
  • Propel Youth Arts WA (admin office): 53 James Street, Northbridge


Key Dates

  • Wednesday 21 February: Expressions of Interest close at 5.00pm
  • Friday 23 February: Selected applicants contacted and confirmed
  • Wednesday 28 February: First meeting with mentors and participants. Dates selected for design and fabrication.
  • March: Design pushed to Fiberglass and Fabrication. Two dates selected by mentors and participants.
  • Sunday 7 April: Installation of final product in Perth Cultural Centre
  • Saturday 14 April: KickstART Festival Day


How do I apply?

Click the below button to fill out the Expression of Interest application form before 5.00pm on Wednesday 21 January. Late submissions will not be considered. 



If you have any questions about this opportunity or the application process, please contact Zal Kanga-Parabia, Creative Coordinator for Youth Week WA - KickstART Festival 2018, by phoning 08 9328 5855 or emailing



The Youth Week WA KickstART Festival 2018 is presented by Propel Youth Arts WA, and is funded by the State Government of Western Australia. The KickstART Festival is also supported by Lotterywest and the Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority.

All enquiries can be directed to or 08 9328 5855.