The Spence Collection
How art can change your life.

Anthony Ausgang


Anthony Ausgang was born in Trinidad and Tobago in 1959 to a Dutch mother and Welsh father. The family moved to Houston Texas in the early 1960s, a particularly difficult time for an immigrant family to parse American culture. Nevertheless, Ausgang?s father made brave attempts to assimilate by attending custom car shows and demolition derbies. Ausgang eventually encountered Ed Roth and before long had a shoebox full of Rat Finks, a small plastic figurine of a noxious rodent that had somehow become the embodiment of Hot Rod and Custom Car Culture. Ausgang?s mother continued the European traditions by dragging her son to endless operas, symphonies and art museums. This combination of High Art and Low Art was to prove a fertile cultural mulch for Ausgang?s artistic inclinations. After a short stint studying art at The University Of Texas in Austin, Ausgang succumbed to the myth of California and moved to Los Angeles, attending the Otis Art Institute. Disappointed to find out that the curriculum there didn?t include studying underground comics, admiring cars or watching surf films, Ausgang dropped out to start showing his artwork to as many galleries as would tolerate his frequent visits. Finally accepted by the infamous Zero One Gallery, a combination of after-hours nightclub, gallery and crashpad, he had his first official sale: to a drug dealer. At his solo show later that year Ausgang sold to a more diverse and socially acceptable crew as collectors and critics began to take notice. About this time Ausgang met Robert Williams, one of the main forces at Roth Studios and a highly successful practitioner of the type of art that would later be called ?Low Brow?. As the ?official? artworld began to accept Ausgang?s work so did the commercial artworld and Ausgang began making record covers and posters and working as a consultant on early computer generated animation. In 1993 Ausgang was included in the Laguna Beach Art Museum?s ?Kustom Kulture? show and the resultant exposure helped him expand his audience. Recently published in the 2003 book Morning Wood Ausgang now finds himself in the company of both graffiti and post-graffiti artists. Ausgang draws influence from as many ?outside? channels as possible, preferring the toy contents of grocery store gumball machines over the latest exhibit at the Whitney. Opinionated but informed, he is able to see the beauty in both a Rembrandt and a rat rod. This variety of interest has led him to design his artwork on the computer but complete it on the easel, the perfect combination of new technology and traditional media.

Artworks in the Spence Collection

The Villain
Created 1995 Created 1995