At Lazarides we admittedly (albeit sheepishly) pride ourselves on the unconventional approach of our artists. California-based Sage Vaughn is yet another one.
Whilst his pictures use motifs often seen around this way – animals in Vaughn’s Wildlife series, superheroics in his Wildlives project – they are handled with considerable sensitivity and intelligence. In Wildlife the less-than-straightforward co-existence of nature and technology is portrayed in the most subtle of ways, via illustration that’s contemporary in the height. A seemingly simple picture of a bird perching on a branch, as a helicopter approaches, instantly bathes the viewer in all the mixed feelings one should have at seeing such a scene – but rarely stops to consider. In Wildlives, children in jury-rigged costumes and battle armour prepare for action, and a young worker, a frustrated shop clerk perhaps, dons a cape.
This all comes from a moustachioed gun nut. There are more surprises to Vaughn: “He thinks of art as a privilege, not a gift … Vaughn approaches his studio at 9am and leaves at 6am unless he’s preparing for a show, when he never leaves. He is the only artist with a blue-collar mentality” said Malibu magazine. And they should know.
It brightened our week receiving a visit from the wonderful Sage Vaughn, bringing a brief glimpse of California sunshine in his rucksack, which is always an absolute pleasure. Although it definitely wasn’t all play and no work. After installing Kingdom with long time collaborator Michael Muller at The Outsiders Newcastle, he accompanied Steve Lazarides on a romantic bird-watching trip to Scotland before heading back down to the Big Smoke and Execution Dock to sketch out his exclusive Nocturne etching released earlier this week. We even managed to squeeze in a Stanley Donwood book launch and a printing lesson into the mix before packing his bags and sending him off to Heathrow. Till next time Mr Vaughn … please don’t leave it so long, we miss you already!