I was house sitting a few years ago and was messin around in my sketchbook one day, just doing some portraits of people I'm interested in, and there was one Tom Waits portrait I did that I was particularly happy with. Fast forward a few years and now that I'm messing around with all these night scenes and neon lights I figured I'd push the sketch into new territory. I'm trying to find a balance between all the neon paintings and my detailed line work and this piece seemed like it'd be a good exercise for this. I also visited New Orleans while I was working on this piece and I felt like the vibe of the nightlife there helped me create a more specific mood here.
My sketches/color studies sometimes feel like they come dangerously close to being better than the finished piece. This was one of those times.
Thomas Rinaldi's book on the history of neon lights in NYC has been an endless source of inspiration and great for reference material.