Cliff studied BA Communication Design at the prestigious Glasgow School of Art, graduating first class with honours, before studying for a Masters in Print at the Royal College of Art, where he was the Tony Snowdon Scholar for 2018-2020. He also holds a BSc (Hons) in Economics and Politics from the University of Bristol. He is a previous winner of the Jill Todd Photo Award, and has been a finalist for both the Association of Photographers Award and the Aesthetica Art Prize. He has exhibited work at a variety of galleries including the Royal Scottish Academy in Edinburgh, Streetlevel Photoworks in Glasgow, Southwark Park Galleries in London and Spike Island in Bristol. His practice is multi-disciplinary, taking in drawing, printmaking, photography, film and installation.
I like telling stories.
I like being from two cultures, but not really belonging to either. I like having my own experience of the immigrant story.
I worry the experiences I grew up with will disappear into history if I do not make them into stories. I like to release my stories into the world to challenge dominant notions of identity.
I made a series of prints based on my parents' experience of immigration.
I like that stories are based on memory. I like to explore the unreliability of memory. I am sure the things we remember never existed in the way we think they did.
I like to think about the consequences of basing our identity on something so unreliable.
And on place.
I like to explore the relationship between memory and place.
I like to wander around the areas I now find myself in and compare them to 'home'. Did the place I recall as 'home' ever really exist?
I like borrowing from others for my stories. If you have a split identity, you have to borrow to fill the gaps.
I like the directness of drawing as a way to get the stories out of my head. I worry that tradition is inclined to not consider drawings 'proper' art. I use printmaking to give them more 'weight'.
I like photography. As with stories, you decide what to tell and what to leave out of the frame.
I like to consider whether photography is a friend or a foe to memory.
I worry I place too much emphasis on my stories. I worry this stops me fully engaging with the present.
And I wonder whether one day I can find a way to escape my stories altogether.