Artist Inquisition: Ross Vaughan

Last time we caught up with Ross Vaughan was in 2012, he was one of the first artists ever listed on Melbourne Arts Club! Now we get the chance to chat to him about his new exhibition, Atom Smasher opening at Tinning Street Thursday 23 March, and find out what his favourite breakfast food is.

Tell us a little about your exhibition.

It’s a collection of unusual portraits, with surrealist sensibilities and a lot of geometric shapes. I have an ongoing interest in spooky physics and psychological curiosities, which is what inspired this series, whether this will be obvious to the casual observer, I don’t know. Probably not, if I’m honest.  But come anyway.

You were one of our very first interviews back in 2012! Crazy! How has your work changed in the last 5 years?

Yes I was! Seems like forever ago.

My work’s probably a bit more conceptually sophisticated (in my own mind, at least), a bit darker and stranger, definitely executed with more technical proficiency.  I sure hope it is after 5 years of neglecting my social life in favour of working in my filthy art studio.

Where do you make your art, and how long is the process for you? Is it a slow burn and you find yourself working on pieces over a long period of time, or when inspiration strikes, it's all done and dusted relatively quickly?

I’m pretty methodical.  I only ever work on one piece at a time, which takes as long as it takes, dependant on the scale and the detail required.   I vary the dimensions of my work a lot, just to mix things up.  At the moment I’m working on a series of very small pieces, which becomes more like drawing than painting and lends itself to fine detail.  Big canvasses can often be more gestural and painterly, and require less time to fine-tune.

How does living and working in Melbourne influence your work?

It’s a mixed blessing! You’re surrounded by galleries and creative people, which is valuable, but there are a lot of distractions, and procrastinating is really, really easy when there are friends, pubs and live music venues beckoning you from all directions.

I don’t think living in Melbourne influences the content of my work too much.  I paint the same kind of thing wherever I am.  However, living in a big city means having great galleries to show at and amazing clients to paint for, so that keeps me focussed and influences the size of my output.

Are there other places in the world that you find influential? Or perhaps places that you’d like to live/work?

I did a residency in Finland last year, that really highlighted the influence nature and solitude can have on the creative practice.  I could totally handle living in the Scandinavian forest for a while, just painting and eating salty liquorice.

Who or what do you turn to for inspiration on days when creativity just isn’t flowing?

My girlfriend.  She keeps my head in the game.

Do you have a favourite artist or artwork?

Eric White.  He paints in a way that’s visually and thematically similar to me, but he’s infinitely more talented.  And famous. He sets a very high benchmark to aspire to.  If you’re not familiar, you should definitely google him.

What's your favourite breakfast food?

Coffee and cigarettes


Atom Smasher opens Thursday 23 March 6pm at Tinning Street in Brunswick. Get more info here.

For more info and to follow Ross:



Instagram: @dangeross3000

--- Words: Julia Howland Images: Courtesy of the gallery/artist.

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