Philip was brought up in France the son of English parents and went to boarding school in England at the age of 9. There he met Gordon Taylor, an extraordinary art teacher and modernist, his first mentor at Brighton College who started him on a lifelong love of architecture and painting and sculpture. Philip studied architecture at Cambridge and then transferred to art school graduating from Chelsea School of Art. 

While doing graduate research at Northumberland Polytechnic art school, Philip Vaughan completed his first large public kinetic sculpture, the Neon Tower erected on the Hayward Gallery in 1972 on London’s South Bank Art Centre.

He worked for some years teaching at the City of London University while he experimented with inflatables and kinetics. While he was there he built a 42ft ocean-going sailing boat in Rotherhithe, in east London. In 1979 he sailed that boat across the Atlantic. Shortly after landing in Florida he started working for Walt Disney Imagineering designing animatronic dinosaurs, rides and sets for theme parks. 

Philip lives in Altadena, Los Angeles, working on sculpture, drawings, paintings and public art commissions. He continues to plan and build public sculptures, using light and other media. Most recently he has been working a lot in gardens and using natural materials like bamboo.