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By Daniel Ritz

Just north of the iconic Richard Henry Dana statue, another statue has been catching the eyes of Dana Point residents as they arrive on the Island in the Dana Point Harbor.

Quite a few statues, in fact.

Over the past five days, Tom Clifford has constructed more than 150 rock art statues along the western banks of the Harbor.

“I really just want to add value to this beautiful place,” Clifford answered when asked why he started the project. “It’s fun, and they’re all different.”

Clifford, originally from Maine, is homeless in Dana Point. He walked us along the statues, pointing out some of his favorites. With startling accuracy, Clifford identifies eagles, horses and more in the cracks and crevices of the rocks.

“Everyone’s been so supportive,” he said,” with the exclusion of one woman he reported repeatedly harassing and taking pictures of him.”

“I want to add value to this place,” he said. “Maybe someone will see what I’m doing and appreciate it. Maybe I could do some work for them? I’m just trying to make it work and contribute what I can.”

Irv and Marcia Warick were sitting on the grasses east of the field of statues. They said they enjoyed watching Clifford work. They were surprised to learn he was homeless.

“It’s wonderful,” Irv Warick said. “I think he’s doing something beneficial and should be recognized for his work.”


Update: On the weekend of August 25-26, Timothy Clifford was arrested by Orange County Sheriff’s Department (OCSD) deputies in the Dana Point Harbor. According to OCSD, Clifford was approached for displaying suspicious behavior, revealing that he had an outstanding warrant as well as was in position of narcotics. 


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comments (7)

  • So much for leave it as you find it.
    Instead of rearranging rocks, maybe he could pick up trash from the nearby homeless camp?

    • Not sure if this specific homeless person leaves trash- but in general i completely agree with you. Everyday you can go to anyone of our local parks (Heritage / Lantern Bay / area outside of Hennessy & kings club) and just see trash left from the homeless.

      Or worse- walk along the city sidewalks adjoining the commercials aspects of the Lantern District and just see crap thrown everywhere. It sucks, it makes our town look like crap.

      Obviously not all homeless leave trash- but the ones I take pictures of do. Everyday. Same spots

  • Playing with the ocean’s ecosystem is NOT “adding value”…in fact, Mr. Clifford is destroying it. (#nofine?)
    If Mr. Clifford REALLY wants to “add value” to DP, or anywhere locally, he can GO BACK TO MAINE and use his “artistic talents” there so the REAL (tax paying) LOCALS here don’t have to support his choice to be homeless, non-productive & bs “art”! STOP glorifying this homeless by choice lifestyle by publishing articles like this that do nothing but keep many of our residents uninformed as to the realities of how the homeless & transients are negatively & dangerously affecting our communities.?

  • As a new resident of Dana Piont I’m a little disturbed that you would glorify an individual that is building cairns in our fragile eco system. One need only do a simple internet search to find a multitude of articles explaining the many reasons this compulsion is wrong . Why a local paper would seek to glorify a damaging action such as this , done by a person of questionable mental health is a mystery to me and many others, judging by the cities social media pages . I think it’s fair to say this “local artist” would be better off spending his time improving his health and economic situation rather than adjusting nature to his liking . This reader is also left wondering if permits were pulled for this massive art installation and were any studies done as to the long term effect it would have on birds fish and crabs

  • We’ve seen rock stacking before. Big deal. Some curious kid is going to get hurt. Cut it out.

  • This man should not be allowed to rearrange the rocks. I agree ,he should pick up trash instead.
    Please don’t encourage this behavior.

  • Watch out…angry white people chiming in.

comments (7)

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