Jeremy (Jake) Cliffe | landscape & found object art | therapeutic photography | wellbeing space design | creative problem solving
About me | as an aspiring artist
I re-discovered my love of art and the landscape almost by accident. On recovering from a stress related illness, I found that walking the landscape helped me gather my thoughts, calmed me and helped me think more positively. For me it was a kind of ‘escape’. I began to realise its therapeutic value and decided to just give nature a chance to heal me.
On the artistic front, I had always been interested in art from childhood, always quite good at it, but never pursued it as a viable career option. What I did notice was that during the worst periods of my illness, when I was unable to work and had time on my hands, I somehow turned to art for comfort and for something to keep me occupied. It seemed a natural inclination to turn to art. On taking night school classes I successfully completed a course in garden landscape design. I also started to enjoy taking a digital camera out on my walks and bike rides, finding this both enjoyable and therapeutic and wondered how I might combine the positive benefits of being out in the natural landscape with some form of artist expression. By chance I picked up a book by Andy Goldsworthy, and became immediately inspired by the simplicity of using natural materials and found objects to create art pieces and photographing them. It seemed such an immediate and low cost way of creating beautiful artwork, whilst enjoying the landscape.
As an artist I wear my emotional heart on my sleeve. I sense (and even hope) that this will come across in my artwork. In a way this is a risk, but it’s a risk that I am willing to take.
Our life experiences, even the most challenging ones, help to shape not only who we are, but also who we become. My new direction as an aspiring artist and as a social innovator, plus the whole concept behind the social enterprise and my hopes to collaborate with other aspiring and established artists, has been borne out of my own personal struggles, feelings and frustrations and the realisation that others face those same challenges too. I know that I am not alone and my situation is by no means unique. Others have, do, and will encounter their own difficulties and it’s important that their stories are told too, and maybe it is through art that these stories can be told.
Becoming an Artist | a recovery journey in pictures
I’ve written a book called ‘Everything, Without Everything Within’. It’s all about my recovery story, my journey and my steps towards ‘becoming an artist’. Essentially its a photographic picture-book. A journal describing how I used the Ways to Wellbeing and natural landscapes to assist my recovery. In many respects it is the journey that has inspired the creation of this social enterprise and the formation of ‘human-nature’. In so many ways just writing and photographing the book has been a therapeutic and beneficial experience. It also includes song lyrics from a very renown British rock band, whose songwriter has very kindly given permission for me to use the band’s words. To me these words add poetry and depth to the book and are so integral to the story.
Please do give it a read and see if you can relate it to your own recovery journey, your wellbeing or maybe even your own hopes and aspirations of becoming an artist. It may also be of interest to anyone contemplating a career change, or for anyone striving to become the person they felt they always wanted to be.