Art, Grounded

Imagine commissioning a painting based on your personality, the favorite colors of your favorite room and patterns that inspire you during your everyday living. Working with the artist, you’ll see a mini painting, a sample, and dialogue with the artist as he works to be sure the canvas is becoming your vision. Then, imagine when you bring the final work into your home, you put it on the floor and your kids, pets and friends tread upon it every day. Wait, what?

Alan Vaughn of Buckhead is an artist and art educator who paints floor cloths that last decades. Useful art. Thirty years ago, he bought a floor cloth during a trip to San Francisco. “It clicked.  I had been trying to figure out how to make my paintings more functional,” said Alan who just retired after 30 years as an art educator, most recently at the Art Institute of Atlanta.  “I still have that first floor cloth in my studio and it just now needs a bit of repair. That’s easy, though I just need to find some time.”  Alan retired from teaching in September and now spends three or four days in his Buckhead studio making art.  He and his wife, metalsmith, jewelry maker and teacher Debra Gold live off Weiuca Road and are both retired with plans to continue to work in the studio and travel in 2018.  

Alan’s floor cloths are as small as 2 x 3 ft accent rugs and as mammoth as 12 x 15 ft focal points. He works with clients to create works of art that complement their interiors and finishes the canvas with five coats of varnish that create a sturdy, washable and long-living rug.  “I am now doing minor touch-ups and repairing a small hole in a cloth I made for a woman 22 years ago. They can be vacuumed, spot cleaned with dish detergent or even a heavy chemical spray cleaner and last a really long time, even in heavy traffic areas of the home or office,” said Alan.

“It’s important to me to put a lot of detail into each floor cloth.” Yes, they are functional rugs, but also the artist takes pleasure in offering more.  “I add details through precision and brush strokes so that you’ll see something new every day.”  

Alan’s work will be exhibited at next month’s American Craft Council show. It’s back again at the Cobb Galleria Centre in March, for its 29th year.  When you go, find Alan and see what’s afoot.