Schiff’s playful and even humorous paintings depict fantastical creatures and strange landscapes—seeming like representations of dreams, or quotidian experiences distorted by unconscious impressions. The artist, a doodler since childhood, works from small notebook sketches that he brings to fuller realization in the process of painting. Schiff’s haunting iconography recalls the symbolism of Arnold Böcklin, the fairylands of Leonora Carrington, and the alienation and anxiety of Edvard Munch.
Clayton Schiff was born in New York in 1987. The artist received a BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence, Rhode Island in 2009.
Solo and two-person exhibitions of Schiff’s work include: Nervous System at Real Pain in Los Angeles, California (2021); Small World at 56 HENRY in New York City (2020–2021); Clayton Schiff & Daria Tessler at Harpy Gallery in Rutherford, New Jersey (2018); Loose Parts at Fisher Parrish Gallery in Brooklyn, New York (2018); and Clayton Schiff & Andy Onderdonxx at Safe Gallery in Brooklyn, New York (2017).
Group exhibitions that have shown Schiff’s work have taken place at: LOYAL in Stockholm, Sweden; Nevven Gallery in Gothenburg, Sweden; and Nicelle Beauchene Gallery in New York City.
Schiff published the monograph Hey Come Here with Booklet.
Schiff’s work has been covered in publications, including: Juxtapoz; ARTnews; Hyperallergic; and Two Coats of Paint; among others.
Schiff lives and works in New York City.