It's not cricket ... it's art

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 28 February, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 28 February, 2012, 12:00am


Art and cricket are two things that you would not normally put together, but the retired English cricketer Michael Vaughan has changed that.

Now, because of Vaughan's skill as a sportsman and his artistic interest, he has combined art with cricket. Art lovers around the world have appreciated the simple, vibrant, coloured works of art he has created - not with paint and a brush - but with paint and a cricket ball.

Interest in art

Vaughan, 37 has always had an interest in modern art. But in the winter of 2008, after giving up the captaincy of the England cricket team, he found himself with time on his hands.

He thought it was time to do something about his love of modern art. So he hired a warehouse near his home, picked up his bat and a cricket ball, got some paint and began artballing.

Vaughan created more than 60original canvases. A successful 2009 exhibition, From Crease to Canvas, followed in London, at which many of his paintings were sold, with some of the proceeds going to charity. Vaughan says: 'Creating art with cricket balls is completely different, modern and new. It changes the rules of art because it's instinctive and raw - covering a ball in paint and [hitting] or throwing it against canvas.'

Hip art

The concept behind artballing is fun and creative. When you visit Vaughan's studio, you won't find pots of paintbrushes on the floor or canvases standing on easels. His canvases are the four white walls of the warehouse and his brush is a paint-covered cricket ball.

Vaughan wears a set of white overalls, picks up his cricket bat and hits his paint-daubed balls at a blank stretch of canvas fixed to the wall. He also throws the ball at the canvas. The resulting artwork is a stylish and simple mixture of the random and the imaginative.

Performance art

Vaughan changes the bright colour of his paints and canvases, the speed of his shot, his batting position and the number of hits with each painting. Sometimes, he throws paint-covered cricket balls at an upright canvas, or, occasionally, a canvas lying on the floor.

He always has the image of what he wants to paint in his head. Vaughan was noted for his fine hand-eye co-ordination as a cricketer and uses this in artballing. An assistant throws a paint-dipped ball into the air, and Vaughan hits it at the spot on the canvas where he wants it to land.

And finally ...

Vaughan is still ranked among cricket's best batsmen. He captained England in 51 Test matches [a five-day game] from 2003 to 2008, winning a record 26. In 2005, he led England to their first Ashes series win over Australia since 1986.

He retired in 2009.

Artballing fact file

Complete these sentences with the correct word.

1 Artballing is a (contemporary/ ancient) form of painting.

2 It was 'invented' by (footballer/cricketer) Michael Vaughan.

3 Vaughan usually puts his blank canvases on the (wall/floor) when he artballs.

4 You would need a cricket (stump/ball), some paint and a cricket (racquet/bat) to do some artballing yourself.

5 Artballing is a technique for creating (sculptures/paintings).

6 Vaughan is one of cricket's best (goalies/batsmen).

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1. contemporary, 2. cricketer, 3. wall, 4. ball, bat, 5. paintings, 6. batsmen