Born in 1977 and raised in a devoutly Pentecostal Christian household in Utah, Clintel’s childhood centered around the church. This devotion prominently figures in his work to this day as an exploration of moments, feelings, situations and experiences through art.
In 2001, Clintel drove to New York City with his easel tied to the top of his car and settled in Harlem. Finding representation with Borghi Gallery, exhibitions throughout New York City, the Hamptons, Philadelphia and winning the John Koch award from the Academy of Arts and Letters in 2015, Clintel is an artist who represents the urgency and grit that was synonymous with New York City in the 1970’s and 1980’s.
“The battle between good and evil, heaven and hell was preached all the time. This struggle is still within me, the lust for money and the battle for power.” Clintel’s studio is in the Sunset Park area of Brooklyn, one of the last vestiges of unadulterated New York art studio space.
My work is about being alive really. I am an African American male who was born in 1977. When you look at the history and the time I was born, a lot of things were happening. It was not just the end of the hippie period and the beginning of the club phase - which I believe me and my generation were feeling the residue of - it was not just about the party.
Painting is being open to what’s around you. But you are imagining, you are coming up with an idea, and you give in to ideas. It is always a push and pull. To me it’s like the computers. It’s the opportunity to make something epic. You ride the wave of the text until you get to the moment. The way we live life right now is that there is a lot of jumbling. Everything becomes fractured. Like how music now is different from what it was in the 1980s. Then, every song was five minutes. There was time to take a breath. Now they are all 2-3 minutes, and that seems long. But, I was reading this book about the sublime. The sublime is now. I think that everybody, when they are making a painting, is trying to be in the sublime: that moment when they are not thinking, but in the present.