Community Creative: Mat Vaughan


Mat Vaughan is one half of Inking Kombi, opens a new window, a dynamic creative duo with one goal: to bring art to all ages in unusual ways. Mat works with artist Nicki Letts, creating mostly from a big shed in the garden or straight out of their Kombi (aka Old Girl). Mat believes the best thing about being an artist is being able to take ideas (no matter how crazy) and bring them into the world.

Mat and Nicki just finished Tram Stop Stories (Library at the Dock) where they reimagined Melbourne’s tram stops as a ‘stage’ observing commuters as actors. YPRL recently worked with Mat and Banyule City Council as part of the Refuge, opens a new window community arts project. We wanted to know more about Inking Kombi: where they've been, what they're up to and what's next.

What inspires you?
I find inspiration from everything and everywhere. Take how you might have got to work today. By train or bus? There are a whole lot of systems in place to get you from A to B, as soon as one of those elements fail the whole system can either (a) collapse or (b) you adapt and keep your eye on the prize: you still get to work, you just do it a different way. I stand back and look at these things and then apply a similar process to my art.

Tell us a little more about your background.
I returned to study as a mature age student after working for 15 years in the Biomedical industry. I studied Fine Arts (Drawing) at the VCA in Melbourne and Mainz in Germany, graduating in 2015 (Honours).

What does a typical day involve for you?
Get up at 6.00am and make coffee, spend a couple of hours on the laptop attending to admin and social media. Around 9.30am head out to the studio to work on the next project. My partner is a writer so she writes away while I’m in the studio. Around 1.00pm we usually break and go for a run – anywhere from an hour to 4 hours, depending on what we’re training for (did I mention that we are both ultra-runners?) We get back, shower up, eat and get back into the studio. The day usually finishes around 8.00pm for dinner. So my day is Eat, Create, Run, Eat, Create, Eat!

What do you love about your neighbourhood?
I live between Melbourne and the mountains – this gives me the best of both worlds. I can come and go as I please or where ever inspiration takes me.

Where do you love to eat?
Picnics! I love eating anywhere outdoors.

Where would we find you on a typical Sunday afternoon?
Running up a mountain.

What would be your dream project?
I’d love to work on a big project with plenty of budget and about 2 years to see it through. It would involve the community and everyone having a sense of ownership in the process and outcome.

What are you looking forward to?
It’s been a busy 18 months, which has been great! So I’m looking forward to a holiday. Nicki and I have taken 2 months off and are heading to Spain. Half of that will see us run the GR10 (866km across the French Pyrenees), the other half will see me eating local produce, having siestas and learning Spanish in Granada.

Watsonia Library will be hosting a Refuge, opens a new window inspired activity during the School Holidays, opens a new window with Steph Neoh from Banyule City Council. 

WATCH | Video from Inking Combi's Tram Stop Stories project.

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