Cliff Hansen is an artist and designer from Spokane, Washington. He has built a career working with youth around the world which has brought him a cultural empathy that many other designers often don’t consider. Currently, he works as the Child and Youth Achievement Coordinator in the Northeast Community Center in Spokane and is also a founding member of the NorthEast Support Team which is a drug abuse prevention coalition focused on youth.
Cliff began his career working as a cultural adviser for Japanese students and soon after served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the West African island nation of Cabo Verde. In Cabo Verde, Cliff worked in the community development sector focused on youth resiliency. His main focus was empowerment, and many of the students he taught went on to get jobs using the skills he shared.
Beyond Africa, Cliff has also visited many other countries, living in the Marshall Islands, the Philippines, and South Korea. In each country he visits, he takes time to learn about local arts and culture to better appreciate their techniques and beauty as well as to learn about the history and values being shared. In the Marshall Islands, for example, students at Assumption High School did not have an art class. They reached out to Cliff for help and he helped them form a high school art club. Many students attended and eventually were able to get a large grant for supplies. Students attended the club weekly and even had a gallery showing of their works. Later, the club was merged with Jambo Arts to improve its sustainability and access to supplies and instructors.
Cliff has a Master’s degree in Writing/Book Publishing from Portland State University. This degree taught him much about storytelling, design, and marketing. He worked collaboratively on the design team and helped design multiple books. One book which Cliff designed the interior for, won silver medal in the national Pubwest Book Design awards. Cliff has been sole designer on two other published books and assisted in the publication of several more.
Recently, Cliff has branched out into 3d design. He admins a social media group Blender Ask and Answer to help 3d designers around the world learn the skill. The group has around 3,000 members including many up-and-coming filmmakers, animators, graphic novel illustrators, and product designers. He also writes and designs his own graphic novel Doubting Thomas, which is released for free online and will soon see its first print run.
Cliff hopes to use his experience to make new artistic mediums accessible to other artists around the world, empowering them to share their messages to a wider audience than has been possible in the past. He also wants to partner with culturally sensitive organizations to make productions that advance benevolent causes that advance the United Nations’ Declaration of Human Rights.