What you want is a feature called a lens fill.
Among many other things, Illustrator does not provide that. Canvas, Corel Draw, and Adobe's other drawing program, FreeHand, have for many years.
In Illustrator, in some instances, (depending on what exactly you are doing) you can resort to a cheap, cheezy, and cumbersome "cheat" by:
1. Store the artwork or raster image that you want to clip as a Symbol.
2. Use multiple paths on Instances of that Symbol.
That way, your file still only contains the artwork once. Like a magnifyer lens fill, you can scale the clipped instances individually (i.e.; the functional equivalent of detail views). And editing the artwork (by editing the Symbol) updates the various instances contained in the several clipping paths.
I did a demo of this here some years back, to create a zoomed-in detail of a map, in which edits to the map automatically updated the detail view.
thank you both..I had a feeling Freehand would be able to do this...no clue Adobe now owns it..wow..
The Symbol method holds promise..I think I'll give that a whack..
Another thought I had was: arrange the Illustrator shapes how I want them, import them into Photoshop to use them as a mask and place them over my raster image and use that selection to delete all but the area defined by the shapes, then to import that resulting PS file into the Illustrator document.
if I change my mind about how I want the shapes, I'd have to re-do that process..I guess it's a matter of which would be less tedious: my PS method, or the Symbols method.
Thank you for weighing in on this..