Ceramicist’s shun Dingbats and Raygun Gothic




Starburst dingbat



Birth of Raygun Gothic

In these testing times with the likes of Korean dictators over-compensating with missile threats, humour is the order of the day. Raygun Gothic and Dingbats, as a 50’s and 60’s architectural style, had a connection to missiles, as the ray-guns had a missile shape and some of the Dingbat features looked like atoms.

The term “Raygun Gothic” was coined by science fiction author William Gibson (who also coined the term “cyberspace” and created the cyberpunk genre) in his short story “The Gernsback Continuum” (1981). Techno-noir* aptly described it as ” retro futurism ” As a style, Raygun Gothic is seen in comics such as Flash Gordon or Buck Rogers and old sci-fi movies such as Metropolis and Forbidden Planet. Mad scientists in huge labs, industrial landscapes, advanced weaponry such as rayguns, rockets and robots. A vintage Sci-Fi look born from a merging of Art Deco and Streamline Moderne.



Tucson-raygun-gothic garage

Tuscon Raygun Gothic

( Woodland Shoppers Paradise Blogspot )



Mecca Cafe by AlainLucier

Mecca Cafe by Alain Lucier




Neon Outdoor Theatre Sign

Neon Outdoor Theatre Sign – Jefferson, USA

( waymarking.com-nneuman )



Most of the architecture styles have been represented in the ceramic arts. Classical, Baroque, Nouveau, Deco, Abstract Expressionism, Modernist all had brilliant interpretations that helped to  popularise the forms. However both Dingbat and Raygun Gothic have been generally ignored.  Granted, they were fairly offbeat styles that didn’t really attract the same mass appeal.

I decided to go and search for some examples of this obscure style in ceramics, and I must admit it was a challenge. Even Google search was at sea.  Dingbats and Raygun Gothic are  connected to Googie Architecture, which had a tendency to be flashy and audacious. The original coffee shop known as Googie’s, which gave the movement its name, was designed by John Lautner and opened on LA’s Sunset Strip in 1949.

I only managed to find a few ceramic pieces that faithfully reflected the style , but earlier temple forms of the style came up which widened the scope. I also took the licence to include ray like decorative styles as a representation. I will include more examples  when they turn up.



Indian bronze head wall sculpture

Raygun Gothic Prophetic



3-Ceramic-Jars with pagoda style lids

3 ceramic jars – Neil Patterson





Grundtvig's Church in Denmark

Grundtvig’s Church – Copenhagen, Denmark

Expressionist architecture with a touch of the Raygun Gothic





Loetz vase orange and blue glass

Loetz vase

( Treadway Toomeys )





spanish-pottery-vase in gold and black

Pair of tall Spanish pottery vases

( 1stdibs )



Amphora-vase with yellow rose motif

Amphora peace missile vase






‘Palau de les Arts Reina Sofía’ in Valencia, Spain




Austrian artist Franz West sculpture




Ceramic spiral vase by Susan .Anderson

Susan Anderson spiral vase





Dale Chihuly Glass Cadmium Red Venetian with Blue Rings vase

Dale Chihuly – Cadmium Red Venetian with Blue Rings




 Dingbat architecture – Los Angeles





Jean Durand-blue and white glass vase

Durand vase





Archimedes burning ray reflector

Archimedes burning raygun

The Reunification Monument in Cameroon

The Reunification Monument

Yaounde, Cameroon , Africa



Mid Century Dingbat-feature

Typical Dingbat starburst wall feature




Rectangular ceramic vase


Australian Aboriginal  ceramic plate

( Raygun Gothic sea turtle ? )





Lingaraj temple complex


L.C-Tiffany-humidor - lime green with gold lid

L.C-Tiffany humidor





Raygun coffee cup






 Righteous Bison Indivisible Particle Smasher Ray Gun






Jeanette-Harris cream porcelain ray gun

A porcelain raygun by Clay Engineer Jeanette Harris.





robj Art Deco female head

Art Deco ceramic head – Robj




Sun_Ra holding a starbusrt dingbat

Jazz musician Sun Ra




teapot-roundabout at Doha

Coffee pot roundabout – Doha




The Singing Ringing Tree in Yorkshire

The Singing Ringing Tree in Yorkshire, UK





tower-stella-monument in Iceland

Iceland church





Mid Century-funnel-vase-Innes-Olshansky

The funnel vase – Innes Olshansky

 Modernist blunderbuss raygun.

http://fineartamerica.com )




Shewadon Pagoda - Yangon

Shewadon Pagoda – Yangon





Red glaze Scheurich vase

Scheurich vase 1960’s





phoenix observation tower

Phoenix observation tower – Arizona

Planned for 2015 ( Raygun Gothic resurrection )





You Blew Me Away-metal sculpture by Penny Hardy

‘You Blew Me Away’ by Penny Hardy





Abstract wall plate – Rucni Rad 1970

Michael M Glancy Golden Ascension ceramic vessel

Michael M Glancy – Golden Ascension

Vertical Red rocket lamp

Red rocket lamp

( custommade.com)


Dale Chihuly, glass sculpture. Lobby of The Atlantis, Dubai.

Kring Kumho Culture Complex

Kring Kumho Culture Complex

( with attachable lenses )


Eileen Gray floor lamp  – 1923

Collection of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.


Large Flamenco Vase  – Thomas Kelly


A Theory Of Everything  – Walter McConnell

Vipoo Srivilasa ceramic head sculpture

Vipoo Srivilasa





‘Minium Maximus’ by Rik Allen

Habatat Galleries


A  life-size replica of Tetsujin 28-gō. It measures 18 meters high and weighs over 50 tons.

Wakamatsu Park

Kobe, Japan

Otto Keramik UFO ceramic vessel

Otto Keramik UFO

NY Midtown Manhattan, Rockefeller Center Art Deco facade

Midtown Manhattan, Rockefeller Center

Photo – Rick Stasel

Dan DeCarlo's Jetta

Dan DeCarlo’s Jetta

Graham S Rocket Riding Robo

Graham Shaw –  Rocket Riding Robo

Mid Century Large atom burst wall sculpture

Large star burst wall sculpture

Spring Uprising Tunisia kneeling man confronts troops

Spring Uprising Tunisia… when all else fails use a baguette.

Green Alien with ray gun Andy Titcomb Take Me To Your Leader Teapot - green alien with a raygun

Andy Titcomb ‘Take Me To Your Leader’  Teapot.


Ryugyong Hotel

Green 1951-Buick-LeSabre-Concept

Buick LeSabre Concept Car



Josef Hoffman—Art Deco Rocket Vase

Dymaxion house Buckminster Fuller

The Dymaxion house by Buckminster Fuller – Conceived and designed in the late 1920’s for mass production but not actually built until 1945.


Tail Fin – -Photo – Wayne Young


Art Deco galss vase – Loetz


Modernist German Polished Brass Vases


Gouda vase,-double-handled-six-sided-shape-with-colorfully-painted-floral-design

Gouda twin handled, six sided art deco vase




Monumental-Ceramic-Ewer-by-San Polo , Venice

Monumental mosaic ewer – San Polo, Italy




Pascale Proffit quad legged sculpture

Résonances Terrestre-bronze- Pascale Proffit, France

height 65cm





Soviet rocket mosaic mural,- Ulan Ude Airport





Atomic retro rocket lamp. Metallic peridot and metal leaf.




Tall and interesting metal vase by J. Verschneider depicting Jellyfishes using the Dinanderie technique 1915 Valerio

Art Nouveau metal vase by J. Verschneider depicting Jellyfishes using the Dinanderie technique 1915

Valerio Art Deco




Telstar Predicta Meteor television

Telstar Predicta Meteor television – reproduction of the 50’s TV





el-gato-gomez retro atomic space age art

Retro Space Age art by El Gato Gomez





Academy Theatre – Julius Shulman

LA, 1940



UFO sighting

 *Sources cited : http://techno-noir.jedi-hobbit.net/scifi/raygun.php



1 Comment

  1. Deborah Gackenback
    Posted October 10, 2022 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

    I’m almost speechless! What a feast for the eyes and mind. Stunning photos and article. Thank you!!!

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