Clifton Guthrie is of the Laxskiik clan from Metlakatla, Alaska. After completing high school, Clifton moved from Metlakatla to Seattle where he resided for a number of years before returning to Metlakatla in 2018.
Attending potlatches and participating in totem pole raising ceremonies were a regular part of Clifton’s childhood. In 2011, Clifton apprenticed under renowned Tsimshain carver and culture bearer David A. Boxley where he studied the carving of masks, bentwood boxes, totem poles, drums and other wood work. Clifton continues to explore and share his design, carving and cultural knowledge under the watchful eye of David A. Boxley, while working alongside David R. Boxley, a celebrated artist in his own right.
Since 2011, Clifton has had the opportunity to assist David Boxley on carving totem poles and other large projects including the House front installed for Sealaska. Carving his own path, his own works have been selected for a number of major exhibitions including Museum of Anthropology’s “Claiming Space” exhibit, the Evergreen State Longhouse 20th Anniversary Show, the Burke Museum permanent collection, and the 2018 Celebration Juried Art Show.
In 2014, Clifton was given his Tsimshian name Holtka Xsoo, meaning “Full Canoe” which alludes to his personality as he is always busy working on projects.