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Craig Ruddy on inspiration and art in the home

In 2001, Craig Ruddy, a young artist from Northern NSW, quit his successful design career to pursue his passion for painting. Three years later, he shot to fame, winning one of Australia’s most prestigious art awards, the Archibald, for his inimitable portrait of renowned Aboriginal actor David Guptill. 

Since that day, Ruddy and his dramatic abstract pieces have been a mainstay of Australia’s contemporary art scene. Following the conclusion of this year’s Archibald exhibition, we spoke to the man himself to explore his creative process and touch on the importance of showing art in the home.

Process and inspiration

When asked about how he moves from concept to final work, Ruddy reveals a unique process:

“I'm very fluid and organic with my practice and don't have any set structure... I dive straight into the deep end and allow the work to speak and present itself through me.”

This intuitive approach shows through in Ruddy’s work. The flowing lines and vibrant colours burst with dynamic energy, embodying the people and places that inspire it.

“Life in general and the people around me are my inspiration.”

Formative experiences and the Archibald Prize

There’s no denying that Craig Ruddy’s work is unique. He believes that he gained his rare perspective during a couple of defining experiences:

“My early childhood strongly shaped who I am today. Because I was often sick and in hospital with a lot of terminally ill children, I learned compassion and empathy at an early age... I utilize that sensitivity in the studio when I'm connecting with my muse.”

When Ruddy won the Archibald Prize for his portrait of David Guptill “Two Worlds”, his work and his world changed again:

“After winning the prize, all the attention made me more self-conscious, which stifled the work a little … The publicity created extra demand for my artworks, but it also created a bit of a frenzy within myself. I feel it’s dissipated now and I'm at a new stage of evolution.”


Ruddy’s work features in Bronte Place, a new development in one of Sydney’s most coveted beachside suburbs. We believe that art is a must-have when styling any space, so we constantly seek out the work of talented local artists like Ruddy when showing homes. The right piece does so much more than fill an empty wall - it transforms. Ruddy agrees:

“Art is food for the soul! It's a window into a greater world and therefore enhances and transforms any space. Art uplifts the viewer from a mundane, everyday life. It constantly nurtures, invigorates and eternally inspires.”