Artist Portrait: Ron Vaz

Applause celebrates an artist in our community bi-weekly.

On March 1, there were numerous Bigfoot sightings around Augusta as part of Free Art Friday. Behind the scenes, several area artists brought to life a concept, which has been successful in cities such as Atlanta. One of those artists is Ron Vaz.


“Me and Jay (Jacobs) thought it would be funny to have a Sasquatch theme,” said Vaz, who has a degree in photography from Savannah College of Art and Design and dabbles in a variety of art forms from decoupage to furniture building.

For the Free Art Friday debut, Vaz created the Sasquatch cutouts that the other artists gussied up and “hid” around town.

“I upholstered mine and created a Yeti,” said Vaz, who worked as a commercial photographer for many years before starting his own handyman services business. He had left his commercial job in art because he “didn’t like to be pinned down to one thing.”

In a way, Free Art Friday has been Vaz’s coming out into the Augusta art scene. He created several photography exhibits over the years, but they never made it out of boxes onto gallery walls. The community’s response to Free Art Friday has energized Vaz and given him a new perspective.

“Free Art Friday and Jay and Leonard (“Porkchop” Zimmerman) have given me an extra push,” he said.

Free Art Friday takes place every Friday in Augusta. First Friday has an overall design because more people head downtown. For April’s Free Art Friday, artists used a wooden orb-shaped cutout. Syd Padgett’s had a Masters theme, while Zimmerman’s was Mars relating to his I Am a Tourist Or Today My Son Became an Astronaut show opening at OddFellows Gallery. At other times during the month, artists can develop their own free pieces to participate.

Vaz doesn’t have a date yet, but he said to expect to see his work in a downtown gallery soon.

Learn about Augusta’s Free Art Fridays online at

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