He graduated from the City Art Institute with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in 1986, a Diploma of Professional Art Studies from the City Art Institute in 1987 and a Master of Fine Arts from the University of New South Wales in 1999. He has shown in numerous individual and group exhibitions throughout Australia and New Zealand.
Early in his career, Adam Cullen became renowned as an enfant terrible in the Australian art world and was never afraid to skirt around danger in his aesthetics and his practice. He gained early fame in his art school days by dragging a rotting pigs head around chained to his ankle. He raised eyebrows by collaborating with the infamous Mark ‘Chopper’ Read for their children’s book, Hooky the Cripple. He was well established as a Sydney ‘grunge’ artist when he won the prestigious Archibald Prize for his portrait of actor David Wenham in 2000, raising hackles amongst the more conservative members of the Australian art world.
There is a sense of despair running through the work, but with its extraordinary vigour, Cullen manages to overcome the negatives, creating a world of leaping leprechauns and bizarre figurines.
Cullen’s highly personal language ends up becoming universal. His schoolboy humour was matched by a highly sophisticated expression of moods and responses to society and moments of anger balanced with hilarity. And it was all expressed with a powerful, gestural mark and bold colouration.
Gift of the artist 2003.
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Kedumba Drawing Award 2009.
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