Vaughn Bodē was one of the coolest underground artists of the 1960s and 1970s, painting a joyous mix of sexuality, psychedelia and appropriated cartoon tropes. It would have been his 80th birthday this month, and director Nick Francis is preparing a documentary about his short life and long influence.
In death, the self-proclaimed 'Cartoon Messiah' was resurrected by a new generation of inner-city youth who looked to Vaughn's unique style as a foundation on which to build their own revolutionary art movement: graffiti. And while Vaughn's impact on the underground was widely known, his impression on popular media and culture became evident as time went on. From Pixar, to The Simpsons, to the Ninja Turtles and beyond…countless artists, illustrators, and authors continue to name Vaughn as a major influence.
The Book of Vaughn is the first documentary to fully explore the life and work of this extraordinary underground figure. Most of his published work is only available in original comic form and in rare collections made in the years following his death. Very few images of Vaughn appear online, and interviews or articles giving us a glimpse into the mind of the artist are few and far between.
This film intends to change that.