Craig Handley has been shortlisted as a finalist in notable art prizes over 80 times in the last decade. Handley was born and raised in the southern suburbs of Sydney and on leaving school went to do a sign-writing apprenticeship. It was here that the draftsman like perfection we now see in Craig's painting was honed.
Craig Handley went on to further sharpen his skill and learn the craft of defining a narrative with a successful career in animation, working for a number of the largest studios in the world. In 2004 Handley had his “John Register” moment, leaving animation to apply his skills purely to painting.
Craig Handley works sparingly in oil to produce images of immense poise and delight. In his own words Handley sees his work simply as "a medley, a collage of all the things I come across while travelling about. They are rearrangements, a hodgepodge of places and objects and light.” In reality they are so much more. His collective visual snapshots allow his works to transcend genres and blur the lines between, realism and surrealism, narrative and observation. This is summed up best by the notable Australian Critic John McDonald when writing of Handley’s painting in the Salon Des Refuses;
“Some of the Salon pictures are so strange they defy description, let alone classification. Nothing is more peculiar than Craig Handley's cryptically titled self-portrait, Thank You Mr Fante. Does he mean John Fante, the American writer? It probably wouldn't help with a reading of this picture, even if I knew. Handley has portrayed himself with the arms of a plastic action figure, standing alongside a pink suburban bungalow from which the face of Salvador Dali peeks out. A flock of cockatoos flies overhead while two midget black swans float on the above-ground pool. Rather than a self-portrait, one might call this a "conversation piece…”