Adam John Cullen

I read a lot of non-fiction and theory texts that influence my work, largely environmental, political and social sciences.

Tell us a little about your background – what did you study and what path led you to what you are doing today?

I've been practicing in Melbourne for the past 10 years. After moving to Melbourne from Canberra I studied a B.A. in Fine Arts at RMIT University with a major in Photography. I had never studied art until this point, so photography seemed like a good choice because I didn't have to draw or paint. In retrospect I should have been in anything but photography, it was a technically driven course that didn't lineup with my interests. I began making props, costumes and sculptures to use in my photographic work until I realised that the actual photograph wasn't necessary, so I fazed out the photograph altogether to focus on sculptural works. I took a year or two off after undergrad and then undertook honours at Monash University, where I focused on sculpture in a final year of research.

How has your practice changed over time?

Since completing my formal studies, I've been making work and exhibiting and evolving my practice in sculputral installation. I think you learn more about your own practice outside of the institution and gain a better grasp on what interests you.

What are the key themes, concepts and ideas that you engage with in your work and how do you express these visually and physically?

My work considers the life cycle of materials and the movement and transformation of objects and materials over time. I reference, utilise and modify mass-produced items in my work, using labour-intensive and process-based production techniques to generate sculptural work. Often incorporating pre-existing artworks, studio trials and experiments, these are broken down, recycled and reworked into new sculptural installations predominantly using methods of casting and carving.

What do you want the viewer to experience when with your works?

Through this process of transformation and rejuvenation, I hope to draw the viewers' attention to the personal histories of materials and the value attached to them at the different stages of their existence.

Who or what are some of your influences? What other artists and creatives in general do you admire?

I read a lot of non-fiction and theory texts that influence my work, largely environmental, political and social sciences. For example 'The World Without Us' by Alan Weisman, 'Thing Theory' by Bill Brown, 'Monoculture' by F.S. Michaels, 'The Social Life of Things' by Arjun Appadurai, and 'How to make objects talk' by Issa Samb and Antji Majewski. These are just a few titles but give you a broad idea of my general line of research.

  • Adam John Cullen

    Visual Artist