Craig Clifford

Artist Statement

My work is about transformation and making common objects more then they are through excessive decoration, color and humor. The pieces begin as humble lidded jars, vases and cups and saucers, but are transformed through embellishment and color into decorative works that exist as sculpture. The work is highly decorated in a way that renders the vessel unusable even as the forms themselves maintain their visual reference to functional and utilitarian objects. Working within the framework of utilitarian forms makes my work accessible to the average viewer by presenting an image of a familiar object.

I am inspired by the French Factory Porcelain that complemented ornate interior decoration schemes for royalty and the very wealthy. My work is deliberately low fire and the pieces are created using the idealized kitsch imagery of knick knack objects. This way of working brings complicated decorative objects, once used as a symbol of wealth, down to the level of mass culture. The use of the functional object as a vehicle for the explosion of decoration and color implies the personal relationship of physical interaction. I strive to create visually dense works that invite the viewer into an entire world that seems somehow familiar and strange at the same time. Color enables me to create a visual feast that can both hide and reveal imagery and density without overloading the viewer. As an artist I seek to make my work accessible, inviting and often humorous.

-- Craig Clifford