Calfornia Screamin’

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Calfornia Screamin’


Custom culture enthusiasts Tony Peake of Melbourne’s Kustom Lane Gallery and Mark Waldman of Gasoline Gallery in California join forces to present Calfornia Screamin’

Custom culture enthusiasts Tony Peake of Melbourne’s Kustom Lane Gallery and Mark Waldman of Gasoline Gallery in California join forces to present Calfornia Screamin’, a competition and exhibition of Australian low brow works at Kustom Lane Gallery.

Entries are open for Australian artists to submit three pieces which will be judged against the rest of the exhibition by Waldman. The winning pieces, and artist will be flown to California for the California Screamin’ exhibition. The Australian works will be hung amongst some of California’s finest.

Peake and Waldman first met as Kustom Lane stocks T-shirts designed by Waldman. "We sell his T-shirts and we’ve been in touch with each other for four or five years," says Peake. "We went to a couple of events, one in the states and one in Japan and he’s just a gallery owner like myself. He supports the low brow arts scene and tries to get things happening and events."

"It’s just about the Australian artists from my point of view," says Peake, "Not many Australian artists get really recognised, so I try and promote as much as I can the Australian guys." In the gallery, to appeal to a range of customers, Peake says they have a mix of international and Australian artists, but for the California Screamin’ exhibition is strictly Australian artists."

California Screamin’ has been running for six years and this is the second year of the Australian event. "It was our first time doing it last year and one of the artists won the event and he spent a week in LA. The idea is that the trip [is to go] over for the opening of the Screamin’ show. It’s one of the most popular low brow art shows for the year in California and it’s how would you describe it’s supported by all the major Californian low brow artists.

"Basically what it’s doing is putting their artwork along with major American artists: Damian Fulton, Max Grundy – there’s a whole pile of well known American artists who contribute. By getting Australian artists involved, they get our face out there so people can see that we’re pretty good at it too. Last year Mark actuallyfound it quite difficult to select the winner, because all the artwork was of such high quality."

Whilst Peake won’t be heading over to California with the winner, he says, "They get looked after well, Mark’s a good fella, they’re good guys, the scene’s very, very similar to what we’ve got here, except in a more intense way in terms of the number of people they get to shows and probably a wider appreciation for what they’re doing. If you go over there and everybody’s asking for your autograph – that shocked [last year’s winner], Dave when he got over there. He didn’t know what to do, people were going oh cool Dave Kohlman, let’s get his autograph and all this kind of stuff. And he found that quite bizarre."

It’s a great opportunity which wouldn’t be possible without Peake’s dedication. Kustom Lane Gallery is larger than Waldman’s Californian shopfront and consistently tries to profile Australian low brow artists. Peake says he can’t pigeonhole the buyers. "It’s a really wide range of people. It’s interesting to see the difference. Just anybody really, there’s just a really diverse range of people who buy this sort of art. It’s not particularly people with money or massive wall spaces or whatever, they generally buy it because they like it and it’s usually not that expensive. Most of the artworks are under a grand. There might be original pieces from $200 to $1,000 dollars. Some of the [artists] are trying to make it as a full time thing, but 95% of the artists have got day jobs. It would be nice if you could do it full time but Australia is a tough place to be an artist I think, because we don’t get a lot of support from other avenues. Other than suckers like me who try to get something happening."

California Screamin’ entries are still open – see The exhibition runs from Sunday April 3 until April 17. Kustom Lane is at 8 Luton Lane, Hawthorn.