Cars, skeletons, alcohol bottles and outhouse toilets. Those are among the features of a fascinating exhibition of scaled down art displays on show at the Katanning Art Gallery. “Outback Blues” tells the story of people working in the Australian outback between the early 1800s and 1920s through the small fictitious WA town of Emu Creek. The exhibition was created by Kukerin retiree Ken Lane. Mr Lane has been many things during his life — a construction worker, a school gardener and a boxing instructor. Now, he has added artist to his repertoire. He receives a helping hand with his creations from his wife Jan. “I get my wife on the paintbrush and she helps with feedback on where I am going with a project,” Mr Lane said. “It is a family affair.” Mr Lane said he started making the artworks as a joke about 15 months ago, when he created an “outback dunny”. “Then I thought I needed a vehicle to help with carting the waste and it went from there,” he said. He slowly created other pieces including woodcutters, farmers, prospectors and eventually a hotel. “I just built a whole complete town and I didn’t know it,” he said. The name for the fictitious town was drawn from his years living in Onslow. “Old Onslow was built on a station called Emu Creek and this exhibition tells the story of immigrants coming in and trying to strike it rich,” Mr Lane said. Each of the handmade pieces on display took between 20 and 30 hours to make, using materials such as cardboard, plywood, nuts and bolts. There are more than 40 separate works in the exhibition and that number continues to grow. When the Herald spoke to Mr Lane late last week, he was working on a stagecoach. One of his favourite exhibits is “Farmers Market”, which consists of a food truck, flowers and a wheelbarrow full of watermelons. “LA Vegas” depicts cheating during a game of cards, “The Haunted House” shows the town’s darker side, while “Outback Blues Band” is the scene the exhibition is named after. Mr Lane said he was proud of what he had been able to achieve with his art. “I was saying to the wife when I went and saw it a few weeks ago, ‘If I hadn’t made it, I would have spent a couple of hours looking’,” he said. The exhibitions is on show at the Katanning Art Gallery until June 19.