ArtArt Interviews

Sensational Neon Artist Chris Bleicher creates ‘St. Gertrudis Stick’ and Plans NYC Solo Show

Chris Bleicher is a famed multimedia neon artist from Germany who is currently planning an exhibition at New York City’s Artifact Gallery in September of 2018.

Chris is also exhibiting in South Korea at the Fourth Geoje International Art Festival titled “LOVE & INSPIRATION.” At the same time, a neon piece of hers titled “St. Gertrudis Stick” is on display at the Heimat Museum Beuel, Germany.

The “St. Gertrudis Stick” sculpture is the most complicated neon piece that Chris ever created. Completed in 2014, the piece was donated to the Frauenmuseum Bonn (museum for female artists) and eventually blessed by the dechant of a church in Nivelles, Belgium. Afterit’s blessing, it went on to travel from church to church and now it is in the

Heimatmuseum Beuel in the exhibition “Europes Holy Wayfarers” which means Saints on the tramp.

The “St. Gertrudis Stick” includes a neon engraving reading:


Which translates to mean:


Chris hopes the artwork will travel around the world, bringing peace. The exhibition celebrating the artwork was titled “Europe’s Holy Wanderer” in the Heimatmuseum Beuel (which means the “homeland museum” in Bonn-Beuel, Gemany) coincides with the occasion of the European Heritage year which runs until October 13, 2018. The “St. Gertrudis Stick with Neon” shines at this event—literally—and that’s just the way it’s creator, Chris Bleicher, wants it. Known for her work in neon, Chris wanted the piece to reflect joy and happiness. In fact, the piece has already made a name for itself in the art world. On October 4, 2014, it was blessed by the dechant Albert-Marie Demoitié in the Stiftskirche St. Gertrudis church in Nivelles, Belgium. The event was attended by approximately 5,000 people.

Chris was first given the idea to create the stick from Curt Delander who was vital to the reconstruction efforts of the St. Gertrudis chapel in the Frauenmuseum Bonn, Germany (which translates to “museum for female artists”). Chris researched info of the history of Saint Gertrudis and became fascinated by the saint. As an ecumenical saint, she connected countless Protestant and Catholic churches and chapels worldwide. She is also the only Saint she did not fall victim to the reformation. Saint Gertrudis taught women and girls and helped the poor and travelers. She is, in fact, also the patron saint of travelers. She once saved a town from a mouse and rat plague which earned her the title of patron saint of gardeners and farmers to protect their harvest. Therefore, Saint Gertrudis is often shown with a stick depicting mice (in Italy and Spain she is shown with cats, hunters of mice).

At first, Chris Bleicher assumed that it would be easy to create a stick with a neon installation inclusion, but it turned out to be the most complex (both in technique and artistically) neon art piece she ever did in her more than twenty-year career. It had to be transportable and capable of standing on its own; figuring out the colors and materials were among the many challenges.

Chris eventually started to pray to Saint Gertrudis: “If you want me to create the stick, please help me!”

And St. Gertrudis helped Chris, step-by-step, realize the neon stick (with mice depictions too) in time for the St. Gertrudis festival 2014 in Nivelles, Belgium! Chris was so grateful for her help that she engraved the stick “worked by Chris Bleicher” instead of “created by Chris Bleicher” because she feels that she was the executive hand who got the inspiration by St. Gertrudis!

Chris also needed to make a special case so that it could travel safely.

Chris is now embarking on another adventure since from September 5 to September 23, 2018, she will be having a solo show at the Artifact Gallery in NYC called “Neon Paradise” which she is very excited about. To learn more, visit her official website.

Meagan Meehan

Meagan J. Meehan is a published author, poet, cartoonist and produced playwright. She pens columns for the Great South Bay Magazine, Examiner and AXS. She is also a stop motion animator and an award-winning abstract artist. Meagan holds a Bachelors in English Literature and a Masters of Communication. She is an animal advocate and a fledging toy and game designer.

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