Will Clift’s favorite toy as a child (he was born and raised in Santa Fe) was a huge set of wooden blocks, which he’d assemble into cantilevered structures, pushing them larger and larger until they came crashing down. As he grew up, this evolved into Sculpture was Clift’s first passion, but not his first career ambition. He earned B.S. and M.S. degrees from Stanford that combined psychology, business, and engineering, then worked as a consulting engineer for three years before committing to his art full-time in 2006.
In 2016, Stanford honored him by inviting him back as Visiting Artist, during which time he developed several interdisciplinary projects with departments ranging from Dance Choreography to Material Science, to Environmental Engineering. Later that same year, Clift won the prestigious International Visiting Artist prize through Australia’s Sculpture by the Sea exhibition, one of the most-visited outdoor sculpture exhibitions in the world. Earlier this year learned that he would be the recipient of the 2022 Prix de Henry Clews, a biennial art prize originating in France. As part of the Prix, he will spend that year developing new sculpture projects in the town of Mandelieu La Napoule, France.
While much of his early work was in wood, as the scale and complexity of his pieces has increased, he has mastered a wide range of materials to keep up. Large-scale and site-specific works are now his primary focus, in materials including steel, carbon fiber composite, and ultra-high-performance concrete.