Callum Preston is a sucker for nostalgia. As a child of the Melbourne suburbs in the 1990s, Preston remembers his neighbourhood milk bar as a place of wonder: the buzzing neon, the faded posters of Diet Coke-loving windsurfers, collector cards, musk sticks, jelly snakes, cigarette ads, the ubiquitous smell of pies and the enticing crack of opening soft drink cans.
For this exhibition Preston recreated his own childhood milk bar completely by hand, one chip packet and Coke can at a time. Like any milk bar, Preston’s is filled with the usual objects: magazines, chocolate bars and cereal boxes. He explores nostalgia and how commodification and shopping has changed.
Presented as a shop within the gallery, MILK BAR features over 500 items, with thousands of tiny details all contributing to a unique and immersive experience which Preston describes as “a lo-fi recreation plumbed from the depths of memory and feeling.”
More than just a nod to nostalgia, the project seeks to capture the magic of a long lost time – invoking a sense of childlike wonder in all who view it. “For most of us, these simpler times might have passed,” said Preston. “Sure, the memories may be a little blurry now, but it’s my hope that when all the elements are recreated you can be transported right back to when “going down the shop” was an experience of pure joy.”
Callum Preston is a multi-faceted artist and designer from Melbourne, working across illustration, mural work, sign-writing, sculpture, video and print. He has been a part of the Melbourne street art scene since 2002 and had his first solo exhibition in 2015.
Melbourne-based street art collectors, Sandra Powell and Andrew King (SANDREW), discovered Preston’s MILK BAR on display last year and, by acquiring it for their collection, have kept it together as a single work.
Callum Preston’s MILK BAR
Hamilton Gallery, 107 Brown Street, Hamilton
Exhibition: 15 August – 16 September 2018
For more information, visit: www.hamiltongallery.org for details.
Image: Callum Preston, MILK BAR, 2017 (supplied)