March 27, 2013
A Toledoan his entire life, Clifton Harvey finds inspiration in the northwest Ohio landscape. His work, which largely consists of illustrations and photography, has been featured locally and internationally in online publications and blogs, as well as gallery spaces across the region. In addition to sharing his work with audiences abroad, Clifton often participates in local artistic opportunities, such as the You Are Here Project and the Artist Designed Bike Racks. Be on the lookout for Clifton at Artomatic 419! this April.
Tell us more about some of your past projects?
In 2011, I created a series of images combining my illustrations and photography called Castawaysthat was featured regionally in Splat Art Magazine, internationally in Twofold Magazine, and on countless blogs and websites such as Trendhunter, Empty Kingdom, and the Behance Network.
In December of 2011, I was given the Juror’s Choice Award at the Sixth Annual Ohio Online Visual Artist Registry Juried Show in Columbus, Ohio for a piece titled “Homebound” from the Castaways series.
Last summer, “In the Gilded Garden” (also from the Castaways series) was included in the annual AIGA Toledo summer exhibition at the CVA Gallery.
During 2012, I was selected to participate in both the You Are Here Toledo Project and the second phase of Artist Designed Bike Racks, and this past winter I was invited to participate in a themed group exhibition curated by artist and UT lecturer Seder Burns at the Gallery Project in Ann Arbor, Michigan, for which I created a new piece titled “Evidence of Advanced Ethos.”
What current projects are you working on?
I’m working a little more with 3D, both in clay and the computer. I dedicated some time this past winter to learning ZBrush, a 3D modeling program, and I’m currently prepping some new work for my Artomatic display using this software.
What advantages does being in Northwest Ohio/Toledo offer your efforts?
A lot of the images I create are a direct reaction to things I pass in a car or on foot every day, so the proximity and variety of terrain (industrial, commercial, and natural) is a big advantage.
Tell us about one of your greatest successes.
I think most artists have at least a sliver of doubt about their work and how it will be received, so being among the people’s choice winners of the previous Artomatic is definitely one of my most cherished accomplishments. Validation from that many people is something I don’t take for granted.
Tell us who or what gives you inspiration?
Most of my work is the byproduct of daydreaming through the mundane parts of my life. What inspires those daydreams is hard to say, but they’re definitely instigated by a need to escape.
Tell us about your background.
I was born and raised in Toledo and for as far back as I can recall, I’ve always loved to draw creatures and tell stories. I graduated with a BFA from UT in 2006 and have since worked mostly on creating and exhibiting personal projects, with a few commissions scattered here and there.
Do you have a motto or favorite quote you try to live by?
“Have a heart that never hardens, a temper that never tires, and a touch that never hurts.” -Charles Dickens
Favorite place for local culture?
The TMA is a world-class museum; I spent countless hours walking those halls during my downtime between classes at the CVA.
Toledo’s “best kept secret” is . . .
I’m probably risking insult to anyone or anything I answer here, but as a product of UT’s art department, I feel the faculty deserves a great deal of credit for nurturing young creative minds. I was recently invited back to the school to speak about my work and it reminded me of how little I knew years ago when I started there and how much patience the faculty had with me in that learning process; I’m very grateful for that.
My favorite place to chill locally is . . .
When I have time, I really enjoy taking in a movie at any of the cinemas in town…it’s relaxing to be an anonymous viewer.
My favorite natural space in the Toledo area is . . .
Pearson Park: last of the Great Black Swamp.
When I’m not working hard, I can always be found at . . .
Lately, in front of my computer watching ZBrush tutorials on YouTube.
If you could change anything about the current landscape for creative, progressive people...
There should be more all-inclusive events like the Artomatic419; it promotes a great deal of positivity by allowing anyone the chance to showcase their creative efforts without charging ridiculous entry fees or excluding people with a curiously selective jurying process.
Name one person (living or deceased) who you would love to collaborate with.
That’s tough; naming someone is an assumption that I think I’m creatively in the same caliber, which in all cases is ridiculous, but I would love a chance to apprentice under someone like Hayao Miyazaki (Spirited Away)…simply being around him would make anyone a better story-teller.
Name a CD, book or website you can’t live without.
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.
3 words that best describe me or my work are . . .
Surreal, open-ended narratives.
My biggest vice is . . .
Perfectionism; not that I ever come close, but the frustration of feeling I always fall short.
What’s the last dream you recall having?
I dreamt that a large, lumpy creature of some sort was trying to squeeze its way through a broken window. I tried to call the police, but my throat was too dry and scratchy to get any words out. In retrospect, I’m not sure what I expected the police to do.
The last lyric that moved me was . . .
“There's a place for us, somewhere a place for us. Peace and quiet and open air wait for us, somewhere.”
One movie character I identify with is . . .
Rocky Balboa, but I probably have more in common with a random extra cheering in the crowd.
The best gift I’ve ever received was . . .
A Ghostbusters Proton Pack for Christmas when I was 6.
My most inspiring moment was/is . . .
I was contacted via email by a high school student in Indiana who, as a class assignment, had to write about his favorite artist and chose me. I was taken aback that a young person was studying what I had created the same way I looked at other people’s artwork when I was in school; the presence of that cycle is inspiring. Incidentally, I was happy to give him all the answers he needed.
I want my last meal to be _______________.
…put outside for stray animals.
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