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Clive Heaven

Profile of the Artist
Clive Heaven MA. (RCA)
Born: Lichfield Staffordshire. UK 1959.
“If I wasn’t running around shooting my cousin with my ‘Johnny Seven’ then I could be
found lying on the carpet surrounded by paper and colouring books, pens, crayons and
paints, for hours on end, drawing everything and anything.”
Clive attended ordinary state schools of no particular merit and messed around a lot until
finally seeing the light in the last year at school, passing all necessary 'O' levels to get into the
sixth form to study for 'A' levels. Eventually it was a choice between joining the Royal Navy
as a weapons technologist or going to Art School. Clive tells us Art School was his choice
because it seemed like it was a more rebellious route and as the black sheep of the family this
would be entirely in keeping. Clive gained a place on a foundation course in Fine Art and
Design at Stafford College of Further education in 1977, with a portfolio that was quickly
cobbled together with the help of an excellent and attentive Art teacher at school.
At Stafford Clive discovered the discipline of graphic design and as he did not possess a
huge amount of confidence in his painting ability found himself applying to do his
BA.(Hons) degree in Graphic design with a view to specialising in illustration. He tells us of
his time at Stafford “ I Loved every moment, the sheer joy and indulgence in devoting all my
time to the discovery of Art history and the varied disciplines available and actually being
taught to see the world around me with a new and enhanced vision was like being let out of
a cage. I was greatly inspired by the work of David Hockney and Euan Uglow, but strangely
although I felt a strong emotional attachment to painting my head told me I had to be
sensible and follow a career that had real job prospects, so that’s how I ended up studying
Graphic design”.
Clive graduated from Hull Polytechnic in 1982 with a first class BA (Hons) degree in
Graphic Design and a Commendation in Critical and Theoretical Studies. Clive won a
Bursary to undertake Post Graduate study at the Royal College of Art in the school of Film
and Television, graduating with an MA (RCA) in 1985.
“ As my studies had been multi-disciplinary, upon graduation I found the only way I could
survive was being able to work in many different areas of the Art and Design world. I could
for instance be in Egypt one week shooting a music video at the foot of the Great Pyramid
the next be sitting in a West End office discussing fabric print designs for summer frocks,
and then find myself in a production meeting finalising budget proposals for the ‘Network
Chart Show’. It was a time of great highs such as working with Ozzy Osborne, Bruce
Dickinson, and Lemmy from Motorhead and the inevitable lows, a result of inexperience
and naivety”.
As a graphic designer and fabric print designer Clive worked on projects for the Virgin
group, Marks and Spencer, C&A, Debenhams, House of Fraser and Laura Ashley amongst
many others. What eventually brought Clive back to pursuing his career as a full time fine
artist was twofold. Firstly working for a company called Fashion Yield as a software
implementer under the hugely inspirational guidance of the managing director Colin
Liversedge allowed Clive to find his way around computers and graphic software packages.
Secondly, two personal friends totally unconnected with each other, at the same time asked
Clive to start painting giving him his first two commissions. From there on Clive completed
eight paintings some of which found their way to Switzerland and Australia.
Clive emigrated with his family to New Zealand in 1997 to paint full time, his inauguration
to the New Zealand Art scene was with a painting called ‘Two theories Competing’ as a
finalist in the Wallace Trust Art Awards 1997. A geometric acrylic construction painting,
which was purchased by an Australian Art collector from being shown a photograph whilst
traveling on an airplane with Clive’s wife Tracy.
Clive was then introduced to the range director for ‘Hey Sister’ at Bendon who immediately
commissioned him to start work on a range of underwear print designs. Thus began a six
year involvement as a fabric print designer selling designs to Moontide, Maurice Caine
Textiles, Ashley Fogel, The Underwear Club, Brave, Elle Macpherson Intimates, Pumpkin
Patch and Expozay to name a few. Clive was also commissioned to do graphic design
projects for Hallensteins, The Warehouse, and Designer Textiles working on packaging,
brand identity and web design. As the work load increased the painting ceased. Clive tells
us “ during this time I was designing a vast range of work with a great degree of creative
freedom all on a PC, whereas back in the UK all my print work was in a traditional hand
painted manner. I found a new way of working that opened up all sorts of possibilities. I
was also reading a wide range of literature both fiction such as Iris Murdock and
Gail Anderson Dargatz, as well as books on philosophy and History leading me to the work
of Vico, Heraclitus, Umberto Ecco and encompassing Super String Theory, Buddhism and
investigations of Perception and Truth. It was whilst reading an account of the life of Dr
John Dee (1527 – 1608) Philosopher to Queen Elizabeth first, I came across the work of
Giodorno Bruno (1548-1600), an Italian 16 centaury scholar whose ideas on memory and
perception struck a chord that initiated my return to painting full time”. Finally Clive had
found that he had something to say and needed to express his explorations of his current
thinking through the medium of painting and began his current body of work in June 2003
working towards his inaugural exhibition at the Heaven Gallery in November 2003 with "De
Umbris Idearum"
Currently illustrating the MAX campaigns in NZ and designing prints and graphics for EXPOZAY.

All works by Clive Heaven (12 pictures)