Whales Festival Chalk Artist Leaves Permanent Mark at Channel Islands Harbor

Clifton “Clif” Gold has attended each of the last four Celebration of Whales Festivals at the Channel Islands Harbor.

Clif is a chalk artist who takes a 6-hour drive from the Bay Area to create a chalk art masterpiece along the festival’s .20-mile “migration trail,” a concrete path between the Farmer’s Market and Channel Islands Maritime Museum.


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While Clif’s chalk art usually fades away a week or two after the festival, this year is different.

Clif was hired by the Ventura County Harbor Department to create a logo and poster for the 25th Annual Celebration of the Whales Festival – his art will live on forever.

The poster depicts two gray whales circling the Santa Barbara Channel, an area that recently received accolades as being a Whale Heritage Area, one of nine locations in the world.

Clif’s design has received rave reviews from businesses and residents around the Channel Islands Harbor. We’ve asked him several questions and he was gracious enough to respond. Let’s learn more about the artist behind the great design!

How did you first find out about the Celebration of the Whales Festival and what prompted you to make the drive to attend?

I learned about the event through the Ventura Art and Street Painting Festival, where I also do chalk art. I love coming down to the area for the beautiful scenery,  the local shops and restaurants, as well as the amazing community spirit. When the director of the event invited me down for Celebration of the Whales as well, I jumped at the chance to come down here in a heartbeat.

What do you like most about the Celebration of the Whales Festival?

The Celebration of the Whales event is such a fun way to kick off the chalk art season, spend the day along the harbor with fellow artists, create with the community, and of course, celebrate the whales. There’s something fun for everyone.

How many other chalk art events do you attend?

I chalk at about 20 events per year, mostly in California.

What is one thing you would like people to know about you?

Fun fact, I am color blind, so if I accidentally make a purple ocean, now you know why, lol.

Where can people view your work?

My website, clifcreates.com, where I have a bunch of free coloring sheets available, and Instagram @clifcreates

Editor’s Note: this story was published on March 14, 2024.