Vaughan Carman



Dressed in nuclear galaxy pants, a gray t-shirt, and vans painted pink, Vaughan hops off his bike. He smiles from ear and ear and comments on the beautiful weather. “I try to be as happy as possible. I know that sounds weird, but sometimes it can be tough to dig yourself out of a hole. I like to wear a lot of bright colors to help with that.” Vaughan added that he wears clothes that define him. “There’s definitely a strong correlation of having some color in my wardrobe. If it is a serious and intense day, I wear all black to signal I am in ‘get stuff done’ mode.”

While only a sophomore at Rhode Island School of Design, Vaughan Carman has already discovered his multifaceted talent for painting, sculpture, and apparel. Combining these skills, Vaughan made a pair of Vans for Tyler the Creator, a famous R&B/ Rap artist, in late August of this year. He said of the experience, “I really wanted to make shoes for Tyler. I knew it was a longshot, but I got all my friends to tag Tyler with the shoes on social media and then I went to his concert. I got there five hours before the concert just to get front and center seats. My friends helped me up on stage and Tyler gave me a big hug and I gave him the shoes.” The design was drip pattern done in yellow paint.”Ever since I saw the music video for his song Yonkers I’ve appreciated what he’s been doing. He just does everything, like what I wanna do.”

Creating shoes is a passion of Vaughan’s. He hopes to have a shoe collaboration with Vans by senior year. His ultimate goal is to be a producer and a creator of apparel. “Ideally, I’d like to paint on clothes. I want to make the shirt and then paint on it. There is so much work that gets put into a garment, I want to know how long it took to make the actual clothing.” Vaughan mentioned that working for a clothing line would be an incredible opportunity. “Being the creative director of adidas would be cool.”

His creativity is inspired by street artists, painters and sculptors, such as Louise Nevelson, Keith Haring, Jean Michel Basquiat, and Robert Rauchenberg. Louise Nevelson has been a major influence, “I would’ve loved to meet Louise Nevelson. Her work is really cool. She did a lot of street art, making big wooden structures and working with all different shapes.” However, Vaughan added he wants to get away from street art and move into more sculpture-based stuff. As for the near future, he wants to explore working with Theaster Gates, an American Social Practice installation artist. “I want to work with Theaster Gates in Chicago next summer. A lot of his work revolves around Chicago, which would be great to experience.”

“I just want to be everywhere and do everything”

Vaughan’s interests also go beyond the art spectrum. He is a member of the RISD basketball team and enjoys rock climbing. He said of his interests, “There are no labels at RISD. I am a part of so many groups and the school encourages that. People are doing what they want.” Vaughan’s exploration stems from his love of working with people. His life goal is influenced from this passion, “I want to make the world better through art. I would love to be an ambassador of some sort.”