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A native of Los Alamitos and bond trader by profession, Escalante started scouring the art galleries and swap meets of Southern California in the 1980s to find any art, kustom kulture artifacts, or just weird stuff that he could get his hands on. "I tend to do things overboard . . . [but] art is the heroin of collecting," Escalante told the Los Angeles Times in 1992. That led him to meet Robert Williams, the legendary underground cartoonist; together, the two went on to co-found (along with other lowbrow luminaries such as Fausto Vitello; C.R. Stecyk III, a.k.a. Craig Stecyk; and Eric Swenson) Juxtapoz in 1994. The magazine helped to launch Kustom Kulture and all of its siblings into the art mainstream.