<%@LANGUAGE="JAVASCRIPT" CODEPAGE="65001"%> Cliff Peacock
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Department of Studio Art
Peacock PaintinglogoCliff Peacock
Teaching Students More Than Brush Strokes
By Sarah Knowles

While attending Boston University for his undergraduate and graduate education, Cliffton Peacock developed a passion for art. "The more you learn about something, the more interested in it you become," is how Peacock describes his infatuation with painting.

While at Boston University, Peacock drew inspiration from professors John Wilson, James Weeks and Philip Guston. Fortunately. Peacock was in the last group of students to take classes led by Guston, who passed away in 1980. He says he was especially influenced by Guston's use of abstract expressionism. Peacock continues to draw inspiration from his former professor.

Like Guston, Peacock's paintings reflect abstract expressionism. They are figurative. He uses loose, wide brushstrokes. Often times Peacock experiments with ornate color schemes and shadows, this gives the impression of no premeditated thought.

In 1993, Peacock his career at the College of Charleston. "It was kind of a fluke I came to College of Charleston," Peacock explains, "I needed a change of pace, so I called everyone I knew, looking for a new job. An acquaintance in Charleston told me about a fine arts professor going on sabbatical. I became the replacement."

Peacock is a professor of studio art, teaching painting and drawing. Along with teaching students basic brush strokes and drawing techniques, Peacock strives to teach his students valuable life skills. "I want to help my students become self-reliant, trust themselves more and gain problem-solving skills," he says.

You might be asking how working with a canvas can teach problem-solving skills. Peacock explains painting is a process of trial and error, which requires fixing and altering to try to find a solution. He says that's what brings him back to work everyday. He says he knows his work is not complete- and may never be.

Cliff, as he is referred to by many students, describes his classroom style as "self-directed." He says this allows students to become independent, as they decide for themselves how to plan and evaluate their artwork's objectives. "Every art problem students have, I can give them the guidance to work around it," he says.

His classroom style encourages students to freely express themselves. Often times Peacock takes students outside of the typical art studio to work outdoors or other environments which stir creativity. Certainly, the beautiful, historic College of Charleston makes a lovely canvas for his students' projects.

"Cliff understands we are individuals. The whole class will be focusing on the same thing to paint, but he wants us to have our own style,"explains student, Samantha DelAguila.

Peacock wants his students to not only learn the basic principles of painting but also gain an appreciation for art. "I would like them to be visiting a friend in a large city and want to visit an art museum," he says.

Along with a unique teaching style, Peacock takes a different approach to painting as well. "I don't want to just paint a picture, I want an experience."

Because he says he doesn't find satisfaction in simply replicating an image, Peacock does not use visuals such as photographs or models while painting. His paintings usually evolve from a collection of memories or a complexity of ideas. Peacock defines painting as "manipulating some sort of visual language, to convey an idea."

Peacock is widely recognized by the artistic community. Recently he was named finalist in the 2009 Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition for the painting "Writer." "Writer" is displayed in the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery through August 22, 2010.

Peacock has had one-person exhibitions at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, the Greenville Museum of Art, Greenville, S.C., and the Southeaster Center for Contemporary Art, Winston-Salem, N.C. His artwork is displayed in the collections of The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, The Boston Museum of Fine Arts, and The Hood Museum of Art.

Peacock has received numerous awards and grants. These include: three National Endowment for the Arts grants, three Massachusetts Artist Fellowship awards, three National Endowments for the Arts grants, Englehard Foundation grant, Awards in Visual Arts grants sponsored by Equitable Foundation, Louis Comfort Tiffany Award, Awards in the Visual Arts grants sponsored by Equitable Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts and the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art, South Carolina Individual Artist fellowship, Guggenheim Foundation fellowship, Adolph and Esther Gottlieb Foundation grant and a Prix de Rome from the American Academy in Rome, in which he was funded to live in Rome.

Peacock Painting