Fine Artists: David Vaughan English Artist 1944-2003

David Vaughan poster featuring the BeatlesDavid Vaughan was a psychedelic artist who did work for the Beatles in the early 1960s, as well as work for Expo 67. Photographer David Bailey used his work for a series of posters. David Vaughan was an artist whose harrowing depictions of war and famine were once compared to the works of Goya.

David Vaughan became famous in the 1960s for bright murals and posters which reflected the drug-fuelled idealism of the times. He produced murals for some of London's trendiest boutiques, and his paintings and posters became collectors' pieces, bought by Eric Clapton and Princess Margaret, among others.

David Vaughan was deeply involved with the 60s movement and his association with those rock musicians is the theme for this collection. For example, a protest song by Bob Dylan forms the subject of one of the major works. David Vaughan was born in Manchester in 1944 and studied at Ashton School of Art, Bradford College of Art and the Slade School in London.

It was here that David Vaughan established his reputation as a psychedelic painter. With Douglas Binder and Dudley Edwards he formed an experimental design team, exhibiting at various London galleries. After painting his first mural at the age of 15, David Vaughan won many commissions for murals, including from the British Pavilion at Expo '67 in Montreal, Lord John in Carnaby Street and London Zoo. David Vaughan was also in charge of London's Roundhouse he booked Jimi Hendrix for his first British gig for the grand sum of 50.

David Vaughan collaborated with the photographer David Bailey on a series of photo-collages reproduced as posters, and continued to be a prolific designer of posters; some of his 1960s' prints have been auctioned at Sotheby's in London and New York. The excesses of the 1960s took their toll, and Vaughan spent some time in a mental hospital. In the early 1970s David Vaughan returned to the north-west and became involved with community art projects, working with children, youth groups and the mentally handicapped. He designed an adventure playground for the Forestry Commission in Wales and decorated Ward 10 of the Tameside General Hospital and the burns unit at Booth Hall Hospital, Manchester.

David Vaughan psychedlic style artworkDavid Vaughan  owned his own gallery, "Noah's Ark Studio", at Stalybridge, and in 1988 he donated a painting for auction on behalf of Art Relief Bangladesh. Vaughan's paintings have featured in exhibitions at the ICA, the National Portrait Gallery and in other public galleries around the world.

His series The Masters of War, which illustrates Bob Dylan's song, was bought by Council for its permanent collection. Masters Of War lyrics include: "Come you masters of war You that build all the guns You that build the death planes You that build the big bombs You that hide behind walls You that hide behind desks I just want you to know I can see through your masks You that never done nothin' But build to destroy You play with my world Like it's your little toy You put a gun in my hand And you hide from my eyes And you turn and run farther When the fast bullets fly".

David Vaughan's last public exhibition, entitled "Hallucinogenia", was held at the Blyth Gallery, Manchester, in February

Later David Vaughan became preoccupied with more somber themes, death, fear, poverty, torture and nuclear war. His subjects, as one critic observed, "are the victims of our time, victims of poverty and famine in the third world, or victims of isolation in the rich industrialized countries, not reached by general prosperity: unemployed youths at the edge of town, who, wearing masks, are waiting for something to blow up. People somewhere between desperation and crime."

Beyond the dark hues of despair, David Vaughan's later paintings often contained exuberantly colorful evocations of what life could be if innocence and light replaced darkness and violence. The hippie lifestyle in which Vaughan indulged in the 1960s was not best suited to the responsibilities of child-rearing.

Vaughan's daughter, actress Sadie Frost once explained that because she had grown up in an environment in which drugs and alcohol were rife, "I've kind of gone the other way. I don't drink much. I don't smoke and I'm scared of drugs".

David Vaughan artwork "the masters of War"David Vaughan left her mother, Mary Davidson, when Sadie was four years old and her younger sister, Sunshine Tara Purple Velvet, was three. Thereafter his relationship with his elder daughter remained a temperamental one. In February 2003, he unveiled a series of harrowing paintings with titles such as Sadie in a Mental Prison and The Crucifixion of Sadie, depicting his daughter's torment.

In March, the actress was reported to have called the police after her father discharged himself from the Manchester Royal Infirmary, where he was being treated for hepatitis C, and turned up at her home threatening to shoot her estranged husband, Jude Law. "I've been on a lot of medication and feeling stressed", Vaughan explained. "I probably did make a few threats but I didn't mean any of it."

Vaughan appeared frustrated that his daughter had given up her acting career after marrying Law: "She was the star and he was in some bloody soap or something or other when they first met."
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David Vaughan
English Painter "The Masters of War"