(1965 – 2012)
Adam Cullen portrait picture by David Naseby, Archibald finalist 2003
Acute Misfortune: The Life and Death of Adam Cullen.
(Read the book and/or see the movie).
Cullen was well established as a Sydney (Australia’s No.1) ‘grunge’ artist when he won the prestigious Archibald Prize for his portrait of actor David Wenham in 2000 – which really put him on the map!
Cullen is one of Australia’s most collectible artists and The Cullen Hotel (in Melbourne) was designed to be an ongoing tribute to the artist’s work.
Cullen used a highly personal visual language to address a broad range of topics including crime, masculinity and cowboy culture. He merged high and low cultural influences in works which are defined by their iridescent colours and bold gestural marks.
Cullen’s art combines irreverent humour with an astute sensitivity to society. He often employed the image of infamous and iconic Australian bushranger Ned Kelly (some of his most collectable) in his work. He also portrayed the killers of 1986 murder victim Anita Cobby and illustrated the underworld figure and convicted criminal Mark Chopper Read’s fairy tale book, called Hooky the Cripple (if you can find a copy, it now sells for 10 to 20 times its original value.
Having always had a dark side and an affinity to the criminal world, in 2011 Adam was given a suspended jail sentence for drink driving and weapons offences. He was out taking pot shots at his art (part of the creative process).
Since his passing in 2012 the overall market for his work has doubled in value, and looks set to continue, especially for key works – Just like Sidney Nolan!