Dion Cupido was born in 1973 and prides himself on creating stunning artworks as a largely self-trained artist. His paintings work within a language that speaks both to classical portraiture and street art, blending symbols and mixing dialects to create emotive works that appeal to many. In 1998 he started exhibiting at the Pea-Nut Gallery. In 2003 he joined the Arts & Media Access Centre's (AMAC) professional development program, where he won the Truworths AMAC Academy of the Visual Arts award. In recent years, he has produced a consistent body of abstract work. Initially it consisted of urban escapes through the front window of his car and most recently he discovered African-Pop portraiture using industrial ink as painting medium. Dion discovered his ability to paint, by accident, when he helped a friend with a school project. Cupido has a studio space at Good Hope Art Studios in Cape Town, South Africa.
Dion Cupido does not like complicating simplicity, as he believes visual artists draw a positive energy from the beauty in the world; in turn this appeals to the viewer. In a sense that the artist is no longer sincere to the practice of the art but rather to its theory; as a result one has to read the painting’s narrative in order to understand the work. Dion does not approve of this and even goes on to say those visual artists might as well write books, as they are not true to their own genre - which in his case is painting.
When he started he was fascinated with abstract work that he saw in the books and he assumed it would be much easier. It took him a year to familiarise himself with the technique and to make a sale. From this he came to the conclusion that abstract painting is not all intellect based but also a form of expression of emotion that triggers certain thoughts and memories. He has also worked with realism but discovered that although it appealed to the viewers, it did not sell and it never felt sincere to his inner self. Until recently when he discovered a new technique of industrial ink, which he calls African-Pop Art Portraits.
Dion finds inspiration in everything but his work doesn’t depend on inspiration. He is fascinated by the transition of a movie into a painting and as in film where the lines blur between reality and fiction; one would observe the same quality when viewing his paintings.
When he paints Dion takes a moving picture with its storyline and translates it onto the canvas. Its own life begins and the painting communicates with him where to apply what medium. He continues with process until the painting is alive.
“After a hard day’s work you can come home, switch on your storyteller and enter a better space where everything is easier… What is this later space doing to our headspace?”