Jim White, photoArt
Sculptor and professor James White has been creating and exhibiting art using emitted light since the late 1960s. His art is simultaneously a playful interpretation of a dream, and a simple daily experience. With symbolism throughout—chairs, spheres, and “human-like” figurines—most pieces are dominated by neon and other noble gasses. For artist James White, emitted light from neon tubes is almost magical, bathing each creation in colorful, emotion-inducing light. Neon (orange-red) and its cousin argon (blue), force an intense conversation with the viewer, sometimes to the point of playfully screaming, “look at me!”  Wood, steel, found objects, and an array of other materials also make their way into his sculptures.

His architectural-scale public art installation “Square Wave,” created for University of Northern Iowa, was the largest single animated neon art installation ever built, filling more than three acres.

View video of James White discussing and creating his neon art work.


Professor White teaches sculpture at Arizona State University (ASU) in the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts. He fosters development of conceptual thought and creativity in his students, teaching them the vocabulary and structure of sculpture to allow them to craft their ideas into their own unique visual poetry. Professor White has been twice nominated for the ASU Outstanding Professor of the Year Award.

An expert in technical knowledge, Mr. White teaches all types of sculpture fabrication, including metal, wood, and plastics, along with architectural sculpture, neon, and other forms of light in sculpture. He is also founder of the ASU Neon Workshop.

Jim White, Neon Chef“Neon Chef,” Professor James White, celebrating the 20th anniversary of the ASU Neon Workshop

In the Neon Workshop and in his neon courses, Mr. White teaches student sculptors how to use neon in their art, and the practical craft of bending and processing their luminous tubes. Professor White also presents neon demonstrations and hands-on neon art workshops throughout the Western U.S. using his portable Traveling Light neon equipment.


Mr. White exhibits his sculpture and neon art throughout the U.S. and internationally including in England, Scotland, Japan and China.

He also stresses the importance of exhibiting to his students. Working throughout his tenure with local businesses, Professor White has created “stealth” art spaces for students, alumni, and faculty. His most enduring gallery inspirations thrive today: the ASU Step Gallery, exhibiting works by current ASU undergraduate students; and the ASU Night Gallery, exhibiting works by ASU graduate students, alumni and faculty (operated with the support of local developer Vestar, he continues as Faculty Advisor). Mr. White was also co-owner of the Center for Neon Art during the late 1980’s, one of the largest neon galleries at that time in the nation.