Greg Escalante has been an important figure and catalyst of new contemporary art for the past twenty years. Through his work as Copro Gallery director, co-founder of Juxtapoz magazine, and avid art collector, he’s helped catapult some of the scene’s most well known artists to prominence. On Saturday night, he began a new venture with the grand opening of the Gregorio Escalante Gallery in the Chinatown area of Los Angeles. The gallery’s first exhibition showcases some of the most notable and interesting pieces in Escalante’s collection, aptly titled “The Collection.”
The art world’s heart has a hole in it today. “The Pizz” (a.k.a. El Pizzo a.k.a. Stephen Pizzurro), the self-described Lowbrow artist who evolved into a celebrated influence to a generation of artists, has left us. He was only 57. Born in 1958 and raised in a large Italian family in Orange County, California, The Pizz grew up creating art – he once said that he began drawing since he had a pen in his hand. He caught his first big break working on Rat Fink comics for his personal inspiration, cartoonist Ed “Big Daddy” Roth, before going on to design cover art for punk label Sympathy for the Record Industry, and eventually entering the gallery world with fellow notable artists like Robert Williams.
Baby Tattoo is an independent publishing company that was created in 2003 to share the unusual works of then-up and upcoming artists and counter culture. Featured here, the publisher also hosts a number of events for art lovers, such as their popular Baby Tattooville annual retreat. Co-curated by its president Bob Self, Baby Tattoo recently celebrated over 10 years with its exhibition “Baby Tattoo: Carnival of Astounding Art”. Currently on view at the Oceanside Museum of Art (OMA), the exhibit highlights the pioneers of Lowbrow, Pop Surrealism, Pinup and other such works that have graced its pages (and ours).
Los Angeles based artist Anthony Ausgang, coined a “godfather of Lowbrow,” has made a career of depicting his own struggles in his kaleidoscopic cat paintings. Colorful and intensely surreal, his playful images portraying cartoon cats in unusual scenarios are loosely inspired by reality. Ausgang makes no secret of his experimentation with psychedelics, and these experiences have carved their way into his hallucinatory visions and bright palette. In his upcoming solo exhibition “Catascopes”, opening May 30th at Copro Gallery, Ausgang’s trippy paintings of cats get even trippier.