Craddock forging ahead in painting career.
Former Sunderland man Jody Craddock is continuing to make waves in the art world as he prepares for life after football.
The likeable defender is about to clock up 10 years with Wolves and a testimonial is being planned by the club.
Now Craddock is approaching the next chapter in his life at the age of 37.
But the centre-back, who spent almost six years on Wearside between 1997 and 2003, has already made moves after setting up his own art business.
It’s all systems go for Craddock, who has set up his own personal website – www.art-affect.com – to showcase and sell his work with a view to continuing to expand his portfolio.
“Art was something I always liked at school and I run it as a business,” he explained.
“I’m as much into my art now as I was football when I started out.
“I aim to take this to new places and I’ve got some new stuff coming out which I’m really pleased with.
“The plan is to push it as hard as I can and it’s something I’m really determined to do.”
Craddock has always had a flair for art but he credits his move to Sunderland as the start of his burgeoning painting career.
The defender swapped Cambridge United for the Stadium of Light in August 1997, enabling him to invest in equipment to pursue his interest.
“It’s not something I always had in mind, although I enjoyed painting as a kid,” he explained.
“It wasn’t until I came to Sunderland and had a bit more money that I could pursue my interest.
“I bought some of my own materials and decided to have a go at oil painting and see how I got on.
“I taught myself to oil paint and people started to see my stuff and take some interest.”
Craddock returned to the Stadium of Light recently for the 1973 Gala Dinner, bringing with him a painstakingly-produced oil painting of the legendary cup-winning squad.
The defender admits it’s one of the most complex works he’s ever undertaken, with a staggering level of detail on show.
“It was one of the tougher ones, purely because the photo I had wasn’t that crisp,” he said.
“Usually when I do something like that I can zoom in on the faces on the computer to see all the detail.
“It’s hard when you’re working with a small area.
“I did another group shot when Wolves won the Championship and that’s got even more players in – about 20, I think.
“I did some prints but kept the original, although I could have sold it four or five times over.”
Not one to rest on his laurels, Craddock is busy bolstering his collection for a forthcoming exhibition of his work – including some works featuring a new line of subject material.
“There’s a lot of portraiture and football stuff, but I’ve got a new exhibition coming up in the next few months and have a new collection for that.
“Strange as it sounds, it’s sweets – close-ups. I’m really pleased with how [the paintings] are looking.
“It’s the same as in football, all about getting contacts, pushing my work and getting it seen.
“I’m confident in my work but the challenge is to find people to display it and put it in galleries.”