Since moving to New York City in 1979, his work has focused almost exclusively on documenting the art, life and times of the Lower East Side in Manhattan. Fights against the injustice of state-authorities.
Clayton Patterson has been Lower East Side’s resident archiver, historian, and photographer since he and his long-time partner and collaborator, Elsa Rensaa, moved to New York City from Canada in 1979. By being present in the zeitgeist of Lower East Side and lower Manhattan from the 80’s to now, through their photography, art, books, film, underground illegal tattoos, and fashion in the style of Clayton Hats, Clayton and Elsa have achieved the very rare feat of documenting the transformation of Downtown Manhattan while still continuing to live and breathe it. To this day, they are still there, Clayton’s name in neon in the glass of their home on Essex Street. Clayton and Elsa have called this building on Essex, with a gallery as a storefront, which has hosted shows for the likes of Dash Snow and Peter Missing, home since the early 80’s.