A former Premier League footballer who is now an accomplished artist has donated his portrait of Marilyn Monroe to Cure Leukaemia for the forthcoming RBSA Charity Art Auction run by Bonhams and held at Deutsche Bank, Birmingham in Brindleyplace.

Jody Craddock made almost 600 appearances in a successful football career that included playing for both Wolves and Sunderland in the Premier League, during which time he continued to cultivate a hobby in art, having originally taken the subject at A-level.

After officially retiring from football in 2013, Craddock then set about transferring his considerable artistic talents into a second career, and has carried out many varied commissions as well as staging exhibitions at a string of different galleries.

“Art was always a major hobby of mine while I was playing, and it felt natural that it would become more of a full-time career after I had hung up my boots,” said Jody.

“I was often asked to do portraits by my team-mates, which was great, but once I had finished playing it became more about finding an identity and producing work that would be taken seriously within the art world.

“I am very proud of my professional football career, but now my aim is for people to see me as an accomplished artist in my own right, and not necessarily a former footballer who paints!

“Things have been going well over the last few years and I developed a style which was based on visits to Rome and Florence whilst I was playing for Sunderland.

“I was fascinated with the fantastic statues that were there and took photos of them which I kept until the end of my career.

“Then, when I was looking to really develop my art, I started focusing on the statues but adding a little twist with the form of some graffiti.

“That mixture of classical portraiture and graffiti has become my signature style, and, so far, things have been going well.”

Jody’s first exhibition was very much based around this Italian Job, entitled ‘La Bellezza Della Fusione’ – which translates to ‘The Beauty of Fusion’.

He does also continue to produce a variety of work, including commissions, and painted the artwork for the covers of the Wolves matchday programme during the Championship-winning 2017/18 season.

Jody has supported previous Cure Leukaemia events, and he and wife Shelley are all too painfully aware of the disease after their son Toby was diagnosed at the age of just two-years-old back in 2012.

Toby underwent three years of intensive treatment under the care of Birmingham Children’s Hospital, and is now fit and well and very much enjoying life.

“Obviously when Toby was diagnosed it was a really difficult time for all the family, and leukaemia is sadly a disease which affects so many people of all ages,” says Jody.

“But Toby has been absolutely fantastic through it all, and he is now really happy and active, playing football and getting up to everything that you would expect from a lively nine-year old boy!”

The excellent Marilyn Monroe portrait has now been added to the lots available for the RBSA charity auction, taking place at 5.30pm on Tuesday, November 20th at Deutsche Bank in Brindleyplace.

Cure Leukaemia, one of Deutsche Bank’s UK Charities of the Year, will receive the proceeds of ticket sales from the event as well as Jody’s painting and also a signed portrait of rock legend Robert Plant, painted by Louise Cobbold, who succeeded Jody in penning this season’s Wolves programme covers.