Ken Kiff was an English figurative artist, illustrator and teacher. He was born in Dagenham and trained at Hornsey School of Art 1955-61 and began teaching athe the Royal College of Art from 1979. He came to prominence in the 1980s thanks to the championship of art critic Norbert Lynton, and a cultural climate intent on re-assessing figurative art following the Royal Academy’s ‘New Spirit in Painting’ exhibition in 1981. He started exhibiting at Nicola Jacob’s gallery, moved to Fischer Fine Art in 1987 and finally to the Marlborough Gallery in 1990, by which time he had begun exhibiting internationally and had work in major public collections. He was elected to the Royal Academy of Arts in 1991 and became Associate Artist at the National Gallery 1991–93. His 30-year teaching career at Chelsea School of Art and the Royal College influenced a generation of students.
By the late 1980s his range of media had expanded to include woodcuts, monotypes, lithography and etching. He enjoyed how new ways of working with materials, the grain of the wood, for example, or the wax in the encaustics, could extend his visual thinking and force him to make decisions more quickly. He took great pleasure in collaborating with master printmaking technicians such as Dorothea Wight and Mark Balakjian in the UK; Erik Hollgersson in Sweden, and Garner Tullis in the USA