Cliffe was born in Sydney and has lived and travelled extensively throughout north America and Europe. His early artistic endeavours of drawing 'on' his school books rather than working 'in' them soon led to what has become a rewarding 27-year career as a tattoo artist. Cliffe began tattooing in 1985, starting his early work in Brisbane, Queensland before meeting the legendary Bill Phillips, who helped the young artist find his feet.
Cliffe went on to work with John Nash in Brisbane's Fortitude Valley, undertaking a traditional tattoo apprenticeship in a busy 'sink or swim' studio. In the early 1990s Cliffe attended various conventions across the United States, tattooing through Los Angeles, San Francisco and Reno before spending four years in Canada working alongside the world-renowned John 'The Dutchman' in Vancouver. Upon returning to Australia in 1995, Cliffe moved to Sydney and opened Inner Vision Tattoo in Sydney's inner city arts and design precinct Surry Hills.