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Interview With Sage Vaughn

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Artist Sage Vaughn’s new show opened at Cash Machine in Atwater Village this past week, featuring a set of quite beautiful and hilarious paintings.

The entire show is a moving tribute to his fellow artist, beloved friend, and all-around kook Alexis Ross, for whom the show was a complete and total surprise. The entire gallery has been lovingly turned into the “Alexis Ross Museum” -- featuring a plethora of multimedia objects including t-shirts, lighters, ashtrays, etc.

Besides the pieces on display at Cash Machine, there are additional works by Vaughn on view at Kaldi Coffee down the street. And the capper: a full billboard reproduction of the piece entitled “Sun Set 2015” looming ominously over Glendale Boulevard.

(Note: coincidentally, the billboard is directly above the formidable falafel restaurant Dune. Get in there.)

Sage was ultra busy leading up to the show but kindly acquiesced to an email interview...

How do you see this current set of works fitting into your overall career as an artist?
I'm always exploring the coastline between the wilderness and the colonized parts of our understanding of this world. It ebbs and flows between subjects and motifs.

I never really give a subject up entirely, but I am constantly searching for novel ways to express this sentiment.

Describe your process when beginning a piece or a project.
I work on quite a few pieces at once. It helps me to stay unfocused.

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How important is humor to your work?
I think very few artists can pull off humor in their works. It sneaks in mine sometimes, if you find the things I paint funny... which I do.

What your next challenge or goal as an artist? Are there specific types of pieces/installations/projects you want to get into?
I’m working on a number of large scale public piece in the near future, so that’s pretty exciting. And I've started working in wood: chainsaw sculpting. That’s more exciting.

Anything more you can tell us about chainsaw sculpting?
Wear chaps.

Treasure Hunter 2015, Oil on Canvas, 30 x 45 inches

What brought you to Los Angeles, and what keeps you here?
I was born in Oregon, and my folks moved down here when i was really young. I left for school up in Santa Cruz, and came back for the anonymity.

Los Angeles: beautiful or apocalyptic?
LA is a beautiful disaster that talks way too much.


Many of your early works depict various birds. Are you a birdwatcher? Or take any fascination in a particular bird species?
I do love watching birds. I would say I’m a casual twitcher. I like Raptors, a Sharp Shinned Hawk, a Small Shrike. A Red Tail Hawk on a street lamp over the 101… they're so perfectly evolved.

Favorite taco spot?
Guisados. The fresh tortillas are incredible. And the choices are really spot on regarding the different flavors you can get in different parts of Mexico.


“Sage Vaughn: Reflections to a Muse” is on exhibit until May 1 -- look for the Cash Machine neon sign.

3207 Glendale Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90039
p/ 323.284.8919
Gallery Hours: Sunday & Monday. 12pm-6pm, or by appointment

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