RIP Greg Escalante

Many people in the Los Angeles art community are deeply saddened and shocked at the sudden passing of Greg Escalante, who died September 7 of undisclosed causes at his home in Huntington Beach. He was 62.

Escalante was a former bond trader who went on, writes the Los Angeles Times, “to become a key patron of the Lowbrow art movement as a collector, gallerist and co-founder of the magazine Juxtapoz.”

Rose Apodaca, writer, curator and owner of A+R design store, told DnA that her longtime friend was “widely considered the premiere champion of the lowbrow art scene—not only in California (thanks to his many credits, including the acclaimed Kustom Kulture art shows, which put the artwork of Robert Williams, Von Dutch, Ed ‘Big Daddy’ Roth and so many others in a museum context)—but worldwide, because of his many, many efforts including and most critically having founded (with Robert W and C.R. Stecyk III) JUXTAPOZ magazine.

Through his two widely respected galleries and outside of them, he mentored, supported, collected and championed hundreds, possibly thousands of artists, young and legendary, over decades.The outpouring on his Facebook page by friends and strangers worldwide reflects just a snapshot of his commitment and contributions.

His death is a shock. But a greater shock is the inevitable loss of this quiet force in the art scene here. His flashy fashion sense notwithstanding, Greg stood out in the art world because he didn’t stand out. He was not a self promoter. He wasn’t angling to be in the spotlight. He WAS always generous with his connections and introductions, facilitating the careers of so many who have made major marks in the art world”

Many artists have paid tribute to the man who supported so many of them, including Chaz Bojórquez, who told DnA he has dedicated his forthcoming show “California Locos: SoCal Originals – Master of Style” to the much-loved Escalante.

Check out the obituary in the magazine he founded, Juxtapoz, here.