Adam Cullen was born in Sydney in 1965. He graduated from the City Art Institute with a Diploma of Professional Art in 1987 and received a Master of Fine Arts from the University of New South Wales in 1999. He exhibited broadly in individual and group exhibitions both in Australia and overseas. In 2002 he represented Australia at the 25th São Paulo Art Biennial.He gained early fame at art school by dragging around a rotting pig's head chained to his ankle. Cullen was well established as a Sydney 'grunge' artist when he won the prestigious Archibald Prize for his portrait of actor David Wenham in 2000.
As well his painting his grunge style entered the world of printmaking at Whaling Road Studios producing his first suite of etchings printed by Diana Davidson and Mark Rowden.