Athlone Clarke was born in Spanish Town, Jamaica in 1956. He immigrated to the United States in 1985 and as with most immigrants, almost everything that had been familiar to him in the past ended up being stripped away in order to make room for his new reality. One of the few things that remained from his childhood was the desire to paint. During these early years and in between odd jobs, he rediscovered his brushes and began on a much deeper immersion into the arts, a sort of baptism by fire. Over time he pushed the boundaries of his discipline and as a result, his passion for the arts transitioned him from being a hobbyist to being a professional artist despite the internal and external hurdles he faced.
As a child, he has always believed that objects have both memory and energy. His belief was further reaffirmed when he came across the Japanese concept of Tsukumogami. Since then, the ability to tap into the memory and energy of objects has become crucial to his expression. While in the creative process, he sees each object as having their own unique story and perceives his role as a kind of choir conductor who brings all the different voices into one melody.
Clarke believes with great conviction that there is no “have to” in art. He considers himself as embodying the belief that honest art will always attract an audience who is both willing and capable of looking beyond just decorative appeal. When asked what is the greatest lesson he has taken away from all his years as a working artist, his answer is surprisingly simple, “Art saves lives.”
Clarke has been painting for over 25 years now and his work is collected both nationally and internationally.