I don't think there are many institutions like the Huntington Beach Art Center that are getting support [or] even able to survive at this point. Major museums are closing because they can't find funding, and they can't find the market, and they can't figure out how to work. Yet we got a proposition with renegade art forms being presented in the middle of this explosion of athletics and art on the beach in Huntington and have a million people show up.

Why do you think Kustom Kulture is seemingly more popular than ever?

I think people want to communicate, and I think it's individual expression—I think people want personalized transportation forms that are somehow special or somehow different. Some [of those] involved become connoisseurs. Other people go to a dealership and order factory options—which, to a certain extent, are manifestations of, I guess, your dreams and aspirations and your comfort level and maybe wanting to be seen differently. You'd be . . . you know, the one guy who gets the purple interior in a Prius instead of the blue one.

From left: Paul Frank, C.R. Stecyk III and Greg Escalante
John Gilhooley
From left: Paul Frank, C.R. Stecyk III and Greg Escalante
Escalante with a refurbished Rat Fink oil barrel
John Gilhooley
Escalante with a refurbished Rat Fink oil barrel

Location Info


Huntington Beach Art Center

538 Main St.
Huntington Beach, CA 92648

Category: Art Galleries

Region: Huntington Beach



VIDEO: Greg Escalante, C.R. Stecyk and Paul Frank Discuss 'Kustom Kulture II' Art Show

SLIDESHOW: 'Kustom Kulture II' is the Return of Rods, Rags & Rat Finks

"Kustom Kulture II" at the Huntington Beach Art Center, 538 Main St., Huntington Beach, (714) 374-1650; www.huntingtonbeachartcenter.org. Open Tues.-Thurs., noon-8 p.m.; Fri., noon-6 p.m.; Sat., noon-5 p.m. Opening reception Sat., 7-9 p.m. Through Aug. 31. Free.

Why does Rick Rawlins have a 13-bay garage inside an industrial building? That's a personal vision. He sees the logic in it and has to pursue that. Someone has to save these things; someone has to study this knowledge.

The OC automotive scene was always really vital—Boyd Coddington had a big impact on stuff. He worked at Disneyland and was an engineer, probably [most] famously on the People Mover. He was a pre-eminent custom-car builder. We used to have Orange County International Raceway; we used to have races down here. We used to have a lot of stuff going. . . .

How do you think "Kustom Kulture II" will differ from the first show?

Originally, we thought about including surfing because, logically, it had a lot to do with it: It developed in the same period; it used a lot of the same materials. Ed Roth's cars in particular were using surfing materials . . . and Ed was bringing aerospace materials, aircraft-building materials into automotive building, and he was aware of them through surfboard builders who were bringing the same materials—balsa and fiberglass, which came out of aircraft plants that were operating in the mid-'40s for the war.

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