Artist Callum Preston takes most things in his stride. As a self-employed creative, 2020 has brought its fair share of challenges, but Callum is feeling ok. He’s used his time in lockdown making art, hanging out with his wife Mo (real name!), and fostering rescue greyhounds. He’s also been working on a special project – ‘The Art Of Moustachery’.
This project sees five Australian street artists reimagining the iconic MR MONOPOLY character, celebrating MONOPOLY’s 85th Anniversary year, and a very meaningful partnership with Movember! Together, via the art auction and sales of the boardgame, the campaign aims to raise funds for Movember to support men’s health.
The Movember Edition MONOPOLY game features six new collectable tokens, and iconic Australian locations important to Movember’s story – as well as barber’s poles and moustaches, in place of houses and hotels! $5 from every game sold will go to Movember, aiming to raise $150,000 for men’s health including mental health, suicide prevention, prostate cancer and testicular cancer.
Support the cause and buy now, available exclusively at BIG W online and in-store. Read on for our chat with Callum about this unique creative collaboration.
Hey Callum – you’re a street artist, a woodworker, a set designer and so many other things. How would you describe your creative practice?
I feel like its just an ever evolving set of adjacent interests, all of the different things I do yield different results, but I approach them all with the same plan of attack, which is kind of a “This may not be the way that its technically ‘done’ but this is how I do my version of it”. I never even got my pen license ‘cos my teacher in Grade 4 went on maternity leave and I lied when the new one arrived and said I had it. I’ve pretty much just carried on with that same plan since.
Your work has this real sense of nostalgia to it – you create artwork and objects that almost feel like relics or collectibles from a previous era. Where does that aesthetic and fascination come from, what inspires it?
It is definitely intentional, I feel that the “handmade” aesthetic of a lot of my work adds to that, but it definitely comes from growing up in the suburbs through the 90s, and having so much attachment to those simple times now as an adult.
I’m really thankful to have been born just a little too early for the internet and phones and computers to be so all encompassing, it meant so much more seeking out stuff in real life, rather than on a screen, and by default that creates deeper memories. It meant the ‘city’ felt like a real adventure, and a bike or skateboard was not just fun but freedom.
For the ‘Art of Moustachery’ campaign, you were asked to create a unique artwork reimagining the iconic MR MONOPOLY! Tell us about the artwork, and the inspiration behind it.
The chance to get to play around with such a classic icon was too good to pass up, I mean I’ve done plenty of ‘cease and desist’ worthy parodies of all sorts of brands in my time, but to get asked to reimagine MR MONOPOLY with the blessing of the game itself was great. It’s wild ‘cos there has always been a beaten up game of MONOPOLY in every holiday house or friend’s games cupboard, and as a kid, I’ve just always seen that guys face, now I get to mess with him!
Movember focuses on men’s health and specifically for me I wanted this creation to highlight the mental health element of that, which is a work in progress always, for all humans. All things take time and hard work, working towards goals, bettering ourselves, chasing a dream or just keeping our heads above water, it’s all a journey, so I’ve explored MR MONOPOLY (with inspiration from Tom Petty) to be literally “Runnin’ down a dream“. He has been at it so long his suit is a little tattered, and his Mo has grown out long and luscious, but he strides on still chasing.
How did this collab come about – and why were you keen to be involved with Movember?
Movember contacted me as a Melbourne artist and asked if I would like to be involved, which I was more than happy to do. I have been a long-time supporter of friends taking part. I have lost too many friends to mental health issues over the years, so anything working to help break that stigma and shine any light on the trap of masculinity is always appealing to me.
2020 has not been without its challenges – how have you been coping this year, and what has been getting you through?
It certainly has been a wild ride for all, as a self-employed creative, it’s been a little scary, but a good reason to take stock, and also get creative and try some new things. I’m super appreciative that I have been able to sell some artwork and other cool things online (like this really hard puzzle).
There has been a real lull in not only creative freelance work, but the ability to gather and have art shows. I really can’t complain, though, we are all in it together, and honestly, with my wife (who’s name is MO! – couldn’t have planned that better!) we have been able to spend all this time together and that has been really nice, ‘cos we both tended to get really caught up in our work in the ‘old world’. We have been fostering greyhounds throughout the lockdown while we are around all the time too, they are ridiculous funny animals who make us laugh all the time, as Darrell Kerrigan from The Castle says… “Noble animals, skinny and sleek”.
Finally – what’s next for Callum Preston!?
What’s next for the world really? I’ll just go with the flow for a while I think. I’m also looking forward to taking better advantage of travelling and seeing more of Australia when we can. We love the inner city, but after all this time in lockdown, it’s time for a road trip to go bush, or beach, or big banana (when it’s safe to do so).
Help raise $150,000 for vital men’s health services by purchasing the Movember Edition MONOPOLY game. $5 from every game sold will go to Movember. Available exclusively at BIG W, online and in-store – BUY NOW!