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May 24, 2008
© Douglas C. Towne

Meet the Author . . . .

Doug exhibiting his poster at
a Phoenix coffee house.
  When not touring bypassed highways that serpentine through dying towns and blighted urban neighborhoods in search of undiscovered neon wonders, Douglas Towne works as a hydrologist with the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality in Phoenix, Arizona. He credits his particular fascination with neon motel signs to the idyllic Southwestern expeditions undertaken during college with a particularly eclectic set of accomplices.

Possessing degrees in environmental science and geography, he has published on topics dealing with various physical and cultural aspects of the Southwest in a wide variety of books, journals, and newspapers. Included in these works are contributions to the book "Western Water Made Simple", which won the 1986 George Polk Award for Environmental Reporting. His articles on neon motel signs have been featured in the Society for Commercial Archaeology Journal (Spring/Summer 1995), Sign Builder Illustrated (May/June 1998) and IKEA's Space Magazine (Issue 4, 2000). In addition, Doug was a major contributor to the coffee table book, "Vintage Neon" (Schiffer Publishing Company, 1999). He has won photography awards from the University of Arizona and the Phoenix New Times and his neon photography has been featured in the Arizona Science Center's production of Light Speed (January-May, 1999) and Tohono Chul Park's exhibition, Saguaro: Popular Image and Cultural Icon (May-July, 2000).

Doug was one of the neon aficionados cited in the story under the subtitle, "Lights Out?" in reporter Mark E. Jones article entitled "Neon: For 90 Years Liquid Fire Letters Have Lit the Night of America's Marketplace" which was in the December 9th, 2001, edition of the East Valley Tribune.

A freelance writer/photographer, Doug is interested in opportunities to compose articles for publications, do collaborative work on book projects, and locate venues to display his work. Please contact him by email to further discuss any projects.

Ask the Author . . . .
Thinking of staying in a classic neon motel during your roadtrip? Doug can help you.