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Callum Preston's MILK BAR

For artist Callum Preston, 33, the nostalgic tug of his own childhood Westmeadows milk bar was so great he rebuilt it from memory last year at Collingwood's RVCA Corner Gallery.

The self-described 'nostalgia nut' filled his five-by-four-metre set, entitled Callum Preston's Milk Bar, with 462 hand-painted replica Crunchie bars, Big-Ms and various other 1996-97-era milk-bar stock, all made from timber.

The reaction, he says, was 'amazing', with close to 400 people passing through each day of the exhibition's week-long run. 'It was really cool to hear that [milk bars] are such a universal experience. Everyone has a shop or a place they used to go to when they were a kid that they can refer it to.'

Preston will reprise the exhibition at the Benalla Art Gallery in March.

Callum Preston's MILK BAR - An Icon of Suburbia

Before social media the local milk bar was usually where youngsters went to socialise. Though there's still a few of them about (including 2223 in Sydney and Rowena Corner Store in Richmond) they're fast becoming a thing of the past. That's why Melbourne-based artist Callum Preston has gone to painstaking lengths to recreate one detail by detail.

You'll find his incredibly realistic immersive artwork Milk Bar at Benalla Art Gallery in March. Walking in it'll be easy to imagine you're in a bona fide corner shop as the installation is fully operational. But take a closer peek and you'll notice the chocolate bars magazines and soft drink cans aren't what they seem. They're pretend versions of themselves that Preston has created by hand.

"For most of us these simpler times might have passed" Preston said. "Sure the memories may be a little blurry now but it's my hope that when all the elements are recreated you can be transported right back to 'when going down the shop' was an experience of pure joy."

This isn't Preston's first venture into nostalgia. In 2015 he revisited Back to the Future via his artwork Bootleg to the Future which featured a life-sized replica of a DeLorean.

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