I remember the day I went and saw Back To The Future at the cinemas – vaguely, anyways, with popcorn in hand – and when I entered that movie cinema to see it for the first time, it blew my young mind. Back to the Future wasn’t just a “scifi movie”, it wasn’t just a time travel movie and – it wasn’t too kitsch and clichéd (though, part of the fun of it is certainly that element), it was … well, it was Back To The Future, one of Michael J Fox’s most remarkable legacies, and a series of movies that changed history (total pun intended).
“Roads? Where we’re going, we don’t need roads …” has since become one of the most iconic end phrases in movie history. The cliffhanger of the first movie lead me to think that the next one was just around the corner. Alas, it was quite a few years until we got to see the second one, but it was totally worth the wait. In some corners of the world, it stands out as the best movie in the entire series – okay, well, in my mind anyways (that’s how you do a sequel, Hollywood – pay fucking attention!). The following year, 1990, BTTF3 came out in all its Wild West glory … and, well, as Callum Preston said when I caught up with him last week to talk about his upcoming BTTF tribute show at Hogan Gallery, Bootleg to the Future, “even on a bad day, its still a Back to the Future movie – its one more film than we had before.”
Callum Preston (aka The Tooth, EFC) is a huge fan of the BTTF franchise. That his fandom for the movies was sincere and humble was evident in everything we talked about – his upcoming show, however, delves much deeper into the franchise than is found within just the movies. With notebooks full of ideas, and with a history of remarkable DIY projects, set making, illustration and a passion for alternative music and street culture, Callum set about furiously creating a remarkable body of work featuring epic sculptures, interactive games, beautifully rendered singage and whimsical, humourous paintings with his illustrative flare.
The results of this passionate project is a grand tribute to the movies, and is a show that is, quite simply, for the people. There are in jokes aplenty, however Callums work is such that you won’t need to be a BTTF fan, or even have seen the movies (but really, if you haven’t, what the hell is wrong with you???) to be able to appreciate it, and, you might even get converted along the way.
Read on for Callums words on this rad project, with photos courtesy of David Russell. You can also find all the info for the show down the bottom of the feature – see you all there, and enjoy this weeks feature!
Back To The Future, Delorians and Single Man Group Shows …
I’ve always been a Back To The Future fan. I’ve done a few pieces for group shows that have a BTTF twist to them, and earlier in the year I realised the date was coming up. I thought, hey, I’ll do a group show and get a bunch of people involved and it’ll awesome. Rone could do Martys mum and all that, Maka could do one of his pieces and then I was thinking of getting people from around Australia.
One day I was talking to a friend and they said, “That’s a really cool idea, but you’ll do all the organising … and get no joy out of it!” … and, really, the whole idea of it was a selfish thing, the joy of it is why I wanted to do it in the first place. So I spent the day being, damn, yeah, well that would suck. I ended up talking to Rone about it, and I was like, well … what if it was a group show and there’s … like, only me in it? I could do different things, different style and mediums, it doest have to be totally cohesive, its like, anything I can think of to do with the movies I can make it, and that’s how the idea formed.
So, it’s a group show mentality taken on by one person. That’s the thing I went for … and I wanted to explore both the “regular” stuff of the movie, as well as the fan fiction type stuff – I guess there’s a kind of idol worship going on with it all.
About That Photo At Universal …
That photo was in ’94! I went to the USA with my family, to Universal Studios, and its random, because all the photos on hat trip are family photos, and I was talking to my mum and like … there’s no other reason its just me in that photo, so I must have asked to have it taken – all the other photos are me and my brother or me and my dad. So, I thought I’d put that on the flyer, because it sums up the show more than anything else – BTTF has been a “thing” forever.
Exploring Hill Valley …
I wanted to explore other things from within the series of movies. People like Biff and his cronies – who else are they beating up on? What other things are happening in town? Why is the Doc this weird old scientist man with no friends except a teenage boy? There’s so many different discussions going on in the movies …
There’s a lot of stuff online about different BTTF theories – I mean, there was a dude that showed up at your high school, and then 25 years later, your son looks exactly like him – and you never noticed?? Then, the dude who tried to almost rape your mum washes your car now? So there are some weird loopholes in there but, hey, its all forgiven! I mean, if you want to get really, PC there’s some interesting dialogue in there – such as they claim that a white dude invented rock and roll! Some guy calls Chuck Berry on the phone saying “here’s that new sound you’re looking for” and its this white kid, and that’s not how it was … but you know, I don’t want to get too dark on it all, but there’s a lot of stuff I wanted to look at.
This painting (above) is theorising ons stuff that exists in the film. The township has a mayor and police force and there’s a whole design in the movies about what it takes to have a town. All the manhole covers will have a certain logo on them, Jims mowing in Hill Valley, who is it? Pet control … so this image is my take on the the centenary of Justice of the town hall. This would have been 1985 centenary. I turned this into a metal pin, and there’s a set of pins, one for 55, 1985 and one for 2015 … I wanted them to be physical, and there is about 100 sets of all three of them that’ll be available.
There are other references as well, like this painting (above) of a specific frame of BTTF2 thats etched into my mind. Up the top there’s a little corner of the truck he’s holding onto as he gets towed through town – there’s enough at a glance that you know exactly what the scene is – people recognise it.
When Style Aint Always Just Visual …
I really enjoy puns and funny mash-ups and stuff, so I wanted to incorporate my own interests as well as things in the films. Stuff like skateboarding and punk rock, so there’s a lot of things it the show that cross over into that kind of thing – because, humorous art is my favourite kind of art.
I wanted to do some sign writing, some paintings, I wanted to build stuff, I wanted to design textile stuff – I wanted it to be the kind of show that people talk about in a general sense, not just “did you see that painting at the show?”, which is great, but I personally don’t feel like I have my own style enough to have someone remember a specific piece – i.e. the lettering of Mayonaise is beautiful, it has that thing to it, whereas this is more a group show by one person. I want people to be like “there was so much shit there,’I did this and I saw this!”, and the interactivity of it all.
Apparently, one of my downfalls is that sometimes I take on too many project and too many things and go to big, so maybe my style is over doing it! But that’s okay, I usually get things done in the end!
From Future History To Fantasy …
I wanted to create sort of religious stained glass portraits that connect with Marty in the three films … I mean, well, now we are hitting the date (21.10.2015) that he went to the future. So from this point of time, the movies are purely historical – but up until now its always been “theorised” on the future, and though the date is almost here, we don’t have flying cars or whatever. I just had that realisation while was working on this that .. shit, this is it. Now it becomes historical, instead of fantasy.
The Dynasty Of An Asshole …
So, Biff Dynasty. KISS and the album Dynasty was super influential for me when I as younger. When I started playing drums, I’d just play KISS songs all day long. So, as a pun, I was thinking about it and there’s these generations of this … this fucking dick! I mean, he’s such an asshole – and on top of that, future alternate 1985 Biff is like Donald Trump, he’s an evil rich millionaire mastermind kinda guy.
The idea was a really rough sketch, so I went back to the films and found the images associated with those era, and I was like shit, all of them together kind of looks like KISS, and the word BIFF translates really well into the KISS logo …
DIY Delorian … Yes. Really.
For many years, I’ve always wanted to build a cardboard Delorian – me and Rone talked about this six or seven years ago. I thought, “one day ill have a chance to do that, but I don’t know what for”. When I started to plan the show I though, shit, this might be it! I though, cardboard wont really work, I want to build it full size, as close to real as possible, but not trying to be real – its a sculpture, and its my take on it. The Delorian crosses over with my whole ethos – DIY, scrap wood and re-purposed stuff and junk – its like a Peter Pan Lost Boys version of a Delorian.
It’s a little messy, but its steady as fuck, and it completely rolls – and its strong. You can stand on it, and people can climb in and out of it on the night.
So, it’ll have the doors .. the flux capacitor – its the car from BTTF2, with the Mr Fusion on the back. It’s built like a skate ramp, which is how I learnt to build shit, so its sturdy.
I guess I’ve told too many people that this is what I wanted to do for the show, and I cant be full of shit and not do it … its come up pretty quick though. It’s basically just built off a scale model, a 1.15 replica, and I used a scale rule and measured it out. You can see it has the silhouette of the Delorian, and at this point its just by eye – I don’t want it to be too perfect, its sculptural. Its really cool. We moved it out on the street the other day as we had a delivery. and people are like what the fuck is that? And I’m like, its a car … they’re like, is it a Delorian? and I’m like, yeeaaah … does it have a motor? … and I’m like. . ahh, no?
It’ll be up for price on application, but it has a home to go to if it doesn’t sell, it’ll go to a farm – where, well, we might set it on fire to film it, or we might let it stay there and just rot away … either way is cool with me.
Hoverboards Are Cool, But …
Along with all the fan fiction theory work are some prototype Hoverboards. You know, Hoverboards are sick, but … personally, I don’t think we need them. I wish people would stop trying to make them. They’ll never be as cool as a skateboard – its all a bit romanticised. I feel like, if you think throughout the last few decades, about any of the”new” incarnations of a skateboard, none of them have ever been as cool as the original thing! I just think a hoverboard will always be in that category – but people will still try to make them.
Hoverboards in the movies are really rad, but there’s work-shopping behind all that .. so I’ve been making prototypes. and I’m building them out of re-purposed sports objects. I’ve made some out of a pair of water ski, cricket bats, tennis rackets, guitars …
On The Night …
I only started work on the show a month and a half ago, and I’m hoping to have thirty or forty pieces finished for it. They’re not all huge – the DeLorian is the show-piece, and right now I’m working on finishing it so I can wrap it up and have it unveiled on the night.
There’ll be some Huey Lewis on the play list of the might, and I just want the want the opening to be a party! The movie were just fun, so I want it to be a fun show where people can go “oh shit!”Not everyone will get all the references, but some people will.
I’m not the Back To The Future guy – its a time and place thing. This is the date, this is the year, so it sorta works. I’m not claiming it to be the ultimate, or the most detailed, correct or accurate Back To The Future show, but I want it to be my tribute. I want to do it, show it, wrap it up in a box and put it to bed.
It’s great! I can get it out of my system, and then there will probably be some other movie I can move onto, who knows …
About The Exhibition – Callum Preston – Bootleg To The Future
The debut solo exhibition from founding Everfresh Studio member, Callum Preston.
Opening Wednesday October 21st, 6pm. Hogan Gallery, 310 Smith St, Collingwood.
A tribute to the trilogy of Back To The Future films, which were released in 1985, ’89 and ’90, Bootleg to the Future is taking place on the final remaining date mentioned in the film series – the day that Marty arrives in the future in the second film, Wednesday October 21st, 2015. Artist, Callum Preston, was born in 1984 and as he puts it, “the inspiration for this show has been a lifetime in the making.”
The show contains work across a variety of mediums, including canvas and paper works, sign writing, replica props, costume designs, sculptural work and collage.
The show represents Callum’s favourite moments in the films, as well as exploring the unknown of the surrounding zeitgeist from the iconic and fictional Hill Valley, California. With works detailing possible crossover spin offs and sequels, theorised gang activity in the town, and prototype Hoverboard research and development. The crowning glory being Callum’s true-to-scale interpretation of the famous DeLorean Time Machine: built by hand and entirely out of timber, found objects, and discarded electronics; a Lost boys-style, treehouse version of the icon.
Callum is best known for his artwork within the alternative music scene, both locally and internationally. His work began with flyers and band merchandise in his late teens to now being responsible for creative direction, design projects and music videos for a range of top selling acts, including the latest album “Ire” by Parkway Drive which debuted at Number 1 on the Aria charts.
His client list includes: Something For Kate, Violent Soho and The Smith Street Band.
Along with his music-based design work, he has designed and created spaces for Fitzroy vegan destination restaurant: Smith & Daughters, as well as its little sister, Smith & Deli, mural work and window displays for Converse, set design for Channel 9, and he’s even painted 15 metres of snarling teeth on the hull of the Sea Shepherd ship the S.S. Sam Simon for its journey to the Antarctic. Callum has been a member of Melbourne artist collective “Everfresh Studio” since 2005 and exhibiting in street art-based group shows since 2003.
Who: Callum Preston
What: Bootleg To The Future – A Back To The Future Tribute
Where: Hogan Gallery, 310 Smith St, Collingwood
When: Wednesday October 21st at 6pm til 9pm.
Live Film Commentary: Saturday 24th October at 5pm Hogan Gallery and Off Track Commentary Squad will be presenting a special comedy commentary screening of BTTF. With Bart Freebairn and Steele Saunders of I Love Green Guide Letters Podcast. With Steele Saunders Along with two special guests! – book online for this one at Trybooking.com – and there will be limited tickets available at the door on the night (this will be a limited event!)
Check out the facebook event page for more info on the show! Also, check out the full set of preview images for the show below!