Clifton is always experimenting with colour, often layering colours and patterns over each other which create an interesting dimensional depth to his canvases. He sometimes achieves this optical effect by painting one story on top of another. He also taps into non-traditional styles to further explore his ideas through art, giving rise to artworks that combine both traditional and contemporary influences.
Clifton’s father, the revered Yindjibarndi Rainmaker, Long Mack, carried the knowledge of water for his people. Knowledge of water, its locations, seasons, and an intimate understanding of the fresh water bringing serpent, Warlu, is a fundamental tenet of Yindjibarndi lore. Much of Clifton’s work relates this mindset of water and its flow through Yindjibarndi country.
Clifton doesn’t care much for time. He labours for hours on end, often spending more than a month on one piece. Working in layers, he doesn’t pronounce a painting finished until it ‘feels right’. One painting can have up to five different compositions in layers.
Clifton was selected to visit Italy as part of the ‘Antica Terra Pulsante’ exhibition in Florence in 2006. His work sold solidly in Italy and continues to enjoy considerable demand both in Western Australia and overseas.