A visual and tattoo artist, Clinton Bryant’s career – and his drive to go to the next level– stems from the hardships he faced as a child growing up in Upstate SC. He is the oldest of three who were abandoned by their parents and bounced around 11 foster homes as a child.
So, Bryant ultimately found it easier to express himself through art rather than speaking. He knew he was an artist when he first picked up a pencil.
“My aunt babysat us for weeks on end at a time. When I used to go to her house, she would take a bed sheet out of her linen closet and put it on the kitchen table,” he recalls. “No one else would take the time to sit and kind of watch me do what I was doing. She encouraged me to keep going, to keep drawing.
“I used to draw cars all the time, but I would stop at the line when drawing the tires. They were always flat until my aunt told me there were no such thing as flat tires. And that was the jump off in honing in on detail. From there, it took off. I’ve never had the desire to do anything else.”
Although he studied management at the University of South Carolina Upstate, Bryant developed his artistic skills at Savannah College of Art and Design. And while he has worked in management positions, he always knew his purpose was to be an artist.
“To some people, [doing art] is shallow, but to me, it’s responsible. You only live one time, and if you only live to work for another person, how are you ever going to know your attributes or what you’re here for?”
As a visual artist, he uses every medium in his work: acrylic, water color, charcoal, pastel, pen and ink. His favorite style is realism because people can relate to it. Bryant’s career as a tattoo artist began 15 years; he was getting them and wanted to express himself and speak out in other ways.
Although it may sound cliché, Bryant says his inspiration comes from within and from his background.
“My inspiration, I really think it comes from knowing if I don’t give up, and do what I try to do every day, no one can outdo me. I feel like in order for me to be the best, I can’t take a day off. And one day, I’m either going to sell that piece of work, publish this piece of work, or I might create something that’s going to be the turning point for me, to put me over to the next level.
“As long as I can look up, I can get up and get it.”