Meet the artist whose masterful stencil technique leaves his viewers in awe. 

Geoff Cunningham's artistic journey began after fifteen years in the graphic arts industry when he fearlessly delved into the realm of fine art. Being entirely self-taught, Cunningham dedicated countless hours to honing his craft and developing a style that is truly one-of-a-kind.

Since dedicating his life to art full-time in 2007, Geoff has been merging various artistic disciplines into his work. From the intricate hand-cutting of stencils to the mesmerizing spray painting, he expertly blends photography, digital art, hand-painted brushwork, and collage. 

The resulting pieces not only evoke powerful emotions but also invite us to delve deeper into hidden details, extra meaning, and unexpected touches. 

Artwork Archive had the chance to chat with Geoff Cunningham about his creative process, the power of visualization, and how Artwork Archive makes his career more manageable! 

You can see more of his work on Discovery and learn more about his art practice below. 

Geoff Cunningham, 'Do Not Feed The Seagulls', 102 x 183 x 4 cm, (40.16 x 72.05 x 1.57 in)


Has your work changed over time—do you find yourself understanding your art career through different periods of expression?

My initial foray into art was far more traditional in style than what I do now.

After eight years of painting whimsical-styled acrylic paintings, I was bored and felt like that had run its course. So, I decided to teach myself stencil painting, a form of art that I have always loved.

As there was no one teaching stencil painting at the time, I basically used trial and error (and of course, YouTube) to develop my own technique & style. Now I find my technique continuously evolving, as I use a combination of abstract painting skills with stenciling to add details and finishing touches.


How do you decide on the subject matter and themes of your stencil paintings, and what influences your choices?  

I really love the scope and flexibility of stencil painting.

It usually starts with photography—I simply wander the streets to find an angle or view that no one usually notices.

I avoid famous landmarks not only to avoid clichés but because there is intrinsic value in showing everyday scenes that easily go unnoticed as we all go about our days.

I usually have a story or a political/societal message in each painting as well (though they can be very subtle) which is done on purpose so that the viewer is left to interpret as much or as little as they want.


Can you describe your transition from the graphic design industry to the fine art industry? How does your background in graphic design inform your artwork today?

I was very lucky—when my wife wanted to go back to work full-time when our children were young, I was able to quit my job and become a full-time stay-at-home dad! It was at this time I started to paint and, between kinder drop-offs, I worked on finding my own style.

Luckily I found success straight away in some local art shows which gave me the encouragement (and income) I needed to continue.

That was back in 2007. Now I use my graphic design background every day.

Stenciling is essentially a digital format that turns photos into the different layers required to make up a painting. There are hours of Photoshop work that goes into creating the different elements that make up my compositions.

My graphics skills also come in handy when color correcting/documenting my work, maintaining my website, and anytime I need to create a business card or flyer designs.


Do you have a favorite or most satisfying part of your creative process? If yes, tell us more about it!

If I’m being honest, I find the hand-cutting of my stencils the most tedious and physically demanding part of my process—but that leads to the most satisfyingly fun part!

The sense of fulfillment I experience when a set of stencils, painstakingly cut over a week, turns into a fantastic painting once the spray paint is applied is truly amazing.

The best part of using stencils is that I can reuse them. 

I spend a lot of time carefully planning my compositions so that I can use one set of stencils to create many different variations. Simply changing the cropping/canvas size, and colors, or even having different “heroes” in the foreground means that I can create as many as ten different paintings from one set of stencils—that is satisfying!

Geoff Cunningham, 'Be More Like George', 76 x 122 x 4 cm, (29.92 x 48.03 x 1.57 in)

What impact do you hope your artwork will have on viewers?

I hope that viewers will first be struck by the overall composition and colors—that is always my first priority.

Then, the more they look at it, the more I hope more that meaning slowly filters in. It’s not always immediate—there are often a lot of breadcrumbs subtly placed that might only be discovered weeks or months later.

I've had collectors tell me they can always find something new when they look at my paintings. This is incredibly gratifying, as I put a lot of thought and planning into my work.


What does success as an artist mean to you?

The ego in me wants to say fame and fortune! But, the reality is far simpler. I may not be a millionaire as a result of my art, but the fact that I get to do what I want every day and can’t think of anything else I’d rather be doing makes being a full-time professional artist absolutely priceless.


Geoff Cunningham, 'The Daily Grind', 68 x 81.5 x 4 cm, (26.77 x 32.09 x 1.57 in)

Why did you decide to use Artwork Archive to inventory/manage your artwork? 

I found that once I started to produce more work that's spread across multiple galleries or shows, it became very hard to track—something Artwork Archive makes much simpler.

The biggest advantage I find is that it also is able to track my sales and expenditure, which makes tax time much easier!

How do you use Artwork Archive on a daily basis?

As previously mentioned, I am now in the habit of uploading every work-related receipt to my Artwork Archive account. This is far better than keeping a shoebox full of faded receipts that take hours to trawl through at tax time!

There are so many features that are useful, but the main ones I use include the Reports feature. I'm able to create Consignment Reports to accompany me when delivering paintings to galleries or art shows. I'm also able to create Income and Expense reports.

The ability to keep a record of every piece of art I've created and its related client/sales details, gallery contacts, and exhibition details is invaluable. 

Geoff Cunningham, 'Forever Autumn 2', 102 x 153 x 4 cm, (40.16 x 60.24 x 1.57 in)

What advice would you give an emerging artist during this time?

There has never been a better time to be an artist—we can now sidestep the traditional art world “gatekeepers".

But, that doesn’t mean it’s easy! You're running a small business, and you are the CEO, website designer, social media manager, photographer, archivist, AND you are running marketing and PR, accounts, packing and delivering, ordering supplies, cleaning ... and I haven’t even mentioned creating the actual artwork!

So, having a tool such as Artwork Archive is invaluable to help you stay organized, feel in control of your business, and not become overwhelmed.

Geoff Cunningham, 'A Night On The Tiles', 122 x 91.5 x 4 cm, (48.03 x 36.02 x 1.57 in)

Geoff Cunningham uses Artwork Archive to track his artwork, manage his finances, and make his life as an artist easier. 

You can make an online portfolio, catalog your artwork, and generate reports like inventory reports, tear sheets, and invoices in seconds with Artwork Archive. Take a look at Artwork Archive's free trial and start growing your art business.