Low Brow 4 Life! The Art of Greg Vaughan aka VonPoot

The off the hook art of Greg Vaughan….aka..VonPoot

Article: Scott Fisk/Studio 669

I met Greg in person a few years ago at the World of Wheels show in Boston. I had previously heard of him as”this fellow” who lived out on the “arm of the cape” in a town called Brewster, Mass. “This guy” who krushed out some of the most insane artwork around, yet kept pretty much to himself like those pipe bomb builders that you read about who live in a shack in the woods…ya, you know the type. Prior to us meeting in person, we spent some time sharing email volleys of our artwork with one another and time~n~time again he’d pop my mind.

When we finally met one of the first things I noticed was his tattooed knuckles that read “LOW4 LIFE”. Yup he was a tall drink of water with a line backers build. You look at this cat with both arms fully sleeved and think that he’d be better suited as a bouncer at the door that no one would mess with…BUT, off those hands that looked like meat hooks spilled some of the most delicate and detailed work that I have ever laid my I’s on.

Real artists strive to mix it up every chance they get never wanting to be pigeon holed or pegged down for one particular style, always evolving. We all have our own “canvas” that we call home…just that some of his canvases happen to be sea creatures…ya, horse shoe crabs to be exact. You think you’ve seen it all?...you haven’t. “DIG” the tremendously unique flow of VonPOOT!

The Artist, the inspiration
A former pro hockey player, Greg spent many years with blades on his feet, checking guys with full blown body slams into the glass; cracking ribs and knocking out teeth. One day the skates got hung up because there was a “higher calling” for lack of a better definition, he had an itch that needed to be scratched.

“I played hockey most of my life and after a year of playing in the pros and a short stint traveling and playing all over Europe I got tired of life on the road. I needed something else, did a TOTAL180 and ended up at Butera School of Art in Boston on the advice of my Grandfather who used to see all my drawings and Rock Band logos that I had hanging up all over my room. He thought a sign painter might be a good idea based off what he saw me doing. My mom also had a big influence on me actually she was the first one to inspire me. She used to paint and I loved watching her with all those paints out..all the colors and the smell of turpentine. I was always doodling, she knew there was an “artist in me”…a creative mind in the works I guess.”

“Low~Brow” art has become mainstream the past few years, seems like everyone is doing it like it’s the latest craze. However, not everyone can do it well. Nothing ever happens over night and if your goal is to be a “rock star” low~brow artist….well, it’s a short road if that is your only objective. It needs to come from your soul otherwise it’s as transparent as cling wrap!

“Big Daddy Roth, Robert Williams and VonFranco whom I am happy to call a friend were all low~brow before it became so mainstream and popular. I always enjoyed hearing from VonFranco all the stories about how he got into the scene as a kid painting on shirts and whatever else paint would stick to. Yup, he’s the “King of Kool” if you ask me. I like the fact that he keeps a low profile and lets his paintings speak for him, I like to think I do the same thing with my artwork. I paint because I love to paint…I am not looking to get rich, just want enough to take care of my family and buy whatever art supplies I need that week.”

Krazy Kanvas and cool gigs
You never know what’s around the next corner. You never know when you’ll simply fall upon something that hits you in the head like a flying brick! Living in Brewster, Mass. near the ocean you find yourself walking the shore. Who would have ever thought there would be an endless supply of “canvases” washing up with the tide on a daily basis?

“I bang out these “monster like” horseshoe crabs using 1-shot paints... These creatures have been around 350 million years and I finally get to give them an attitude with psycho eyes and razor sharp grins! I have painted a pile of these up, for clients all over the world. Get the Black Label Society or Disturbed cranking on the radio, no stopping now. My “Killer Krabs” take on a form all their own, no two alike. When I’m not painting on these “little creatures” I have an airbrush in my hand doing custom work…really dig it, I can go on all through the night…that’s what red bull is for! I figure in ten years I will either be on a first class stamp or the back of a milk carton.”

Fireworks and Glory…nah, it’s WAAAY deeper then that
As mentioned before, it’s about the art and the impact it has…it’s not a black light poster in the poster rack at a record store…or the “fame” of having that poster or the fancy black light bulb that makes it glow…Fame is cheap and comes at the price of selling your soul sometimes. Art is a DIRECT extension of the artist that produced it. A “story” is told in every piece, an emotion that was felt when the energy was spilling off the finger tips.

“I am pretty much in my shop slumped over a piece of art is where you can find me. I have no big plans for the future, just going to keep doing what I have been for the last 22 years since I decided to take a crack at this artist gig; which by the way I wouldn’t change for the world! I love my job so much that words cannot express it. I love painting more then anything else….especially my KILLER KRABS! I am not sure what my life would be like without the ability to talk with my paint brush. There have been some pretty rough spots in my life, paintings I did at the time when I was going through it. I can look at a particular piece and remember the pain or the joy….the emotions I was feeling at the time. The artwork became my therapy and my therapy, the artwork. You learn a lot about yourself when you dig down deep and pour it out raw on the canvas. I feel lucky to be able to identify with my artwork, it’s personal..it’s free expression…it’s mine….Ya, I may paint up a killer krab and now it’s hanging on some guys wall in Australia, but my soul is still connected to it even if it’s not in my possession anymore. It’s not about big fireworks or the glory…that will show up when it’s supposed to..... If that was my plan or agenda (to get famous) when I got this gig ramped up way back when...well I think we know how that story plays out….Ain’t no poser here..and FAME doesn’t drive me. Nah, Oprah will get wind of this one day I just know it..(grin) she’ll call me up on speed dial…it’ll blow the roof off the shop and get my ever so popular underwater arachnids in the brains of millions….meuhahahahahaaa!”

Every day the tide will come in, every day an artist will walk that coast line and collect his canvases; he’ll bring them home and dry them out..and ponder the possibilities while a bird sings on one of his shops window sills…..…ARRRRG!..!! YA RIGHT !!...THEN he’ll bust out the metal flake, shoot the BIRD and throw a mean haze over the carcasssss of that KRAB..drop flames all over it and whatever else grabs his DAMN FANCY!..Put that in your pipe and smoke it, DIG?!

For the full she~BANG on VonPoot and his killer Krabs, visit his website direct @ www.VaughanArts.com or grab his ass on myspace/VonPoot. This interview is just a “blink” let your curiosity get the best of you like it did me…CHECK HIS ‘CHIT OUT!..get a good case of the CRABS….KILLER KRABS, that is.