Largely self-taught, Dion Cupido grew up in Mitchells Plain on the Cape Flats in Cape Town and currently works at the Castle of Good Hope. He discovered his ability to paint accidently while helping a friend with a school project, started painting professionally in 2001. Majoring in drawing from the Cape Technical College, this Computer Graphics graduate joined the Arts and Media Access Centre professional development program in 2002, winning the Truworths AMAC Academy of the Visual Arts Award the next year.
Cupido has benefited greatly from participating in the Creative Block and Nando's Artist Society. In 2011, he was one of five South African artists chosen to travel to London to learn more about the Nando's brand. On their return to South Africa, the artists created works that reflected their experiences and the best were selected for the Nando’s Collection, and reproduced on the famous Nando's in-store menu covers.
By 2013, ArtSouthAfrica, South Africa’s most influential and widely read arts magazine, nominated him as a Bright Young Thing. Today it is clear that his studio-produced paintings are still deeply influenced by street art. When he began painting he was fascinated with abstract work and it took him more than a year to find his technique. An important realisation for him at the time was that his work also triggers certain thoughts and memories.
“I realised that our biased memories do more than simply present us with images of our personal history. It also shapes our sense of who and what we are. In doing so, it guides us to forming an opinion about ourselves that may not be very accurate. As a result, it does little more than helping us experience life only as we THINK we know it,” says Cupido.
Today his work is primarily a combination of abstraction and portraiture using street art techniques to explore memory and identity. Writer and art historian Ashraf Jamal recently observed that Cupido “represents the very newly minted post-transitional moment in SA art; a moment in which our dark history and its democratic afterglow are both beside the point.”
Cupido lives and works in Cape Town, South Africa
He has held a number of sold-out solo exhibitions and has artworks in collections in South Africa and abroad.