Cliff Speaks integrates a variety of approaches in his work, including the styles and techniques of Jackson Pollack, Vincent van Gough and Henry Moore; and the traditions of Mexican Muralists, African Art, Abstract Expressionism, Cubism, Pop Art and Futurists.
A resident of Brandon, Mississippi, Cliff has great affection for southern culture and imagery. He comes to painting from a background in graphic design and has been painting professionally for five years. His art appears in galleries and exhibits from coast to coast. He has done commissions for Three Doors Down and Pearl River Casino. He holds a Bachelors of Fine Arts degree from the University of Southern Mississippi and considers his paintings to be “temporary conclusions to ongoing ideas.”
Cliff is a master at capturing gesture, posture, movement and “performance” with iconic figures. The viewer cannot come away from his evocatively-familiar character-types without recognition of self, friend, family member, or universally-known stranger. His joyful abstract depictions rendering place and concept in charming, notorious mélange also utilize the icon. The epiphanies which he constructs for the viewer through his figurative and abstract representations endear the archetype, splice it with humor and pay it tribute. The total effect is insight and vision for a proverbial world.
Although Cliff depicts many iconic figures in a range of settings, music is a recurring theme and a present focus in his work. His images are vibratory vehicles for the visual counterpoint to music. He states: “I ‘see’ blues, punk, rock, rockability, classical, soul. I love dirty color, color that has life to it.” Resonant color drives his work, gathering under its lead design, line and form. Overt, deliberate brush-stroke follows at close pace. The distinctions between music and instrument, between instrument and instrumentalist vanish. He performs the miracle of transmitting the exclusive property of the ear to the eye and vice versa. The result is that the viewer “sees” the melodies, the harmonies and the beat of the painting and “hears” the movement of fingers over strings, the syncopation of a foot, the pulse of a head, the hunch of shoulders over guitar, and the bend of a waist reaching for that sweetest note on saxophone.