You wouldn’t guess by looking at Dion Cupido or his art that he is defying the strictures of his gender. He looks kind of macho, his appearance shaped by a hip-hop aesthetic. The day we meet in his studio in Kensington in Cape Town, he’s in an all-black outfit, trainers and a baseball cap. The thick-rimmed glasses are the only nod to his arty inclinations. This street vibe infiltrates his art through graffiti flourishes. Growing up in Mitchells Plain he dabbled in tagging walls, but he was clearly talented enough to follow a more traditional route in visual expression, though he did not have an opportunity to refine it through formal education. This has kept him on the periphery of the art world, although his work sells well. Beyonce famously snapped up one of his paintings during a visit to SA. His isolation is partly self-inflicted — he admits to being a bit antisocial and he recognises that his art is not fashionable. His aesthetic and abilities align him with some of the best-se...

BL Premium

This article is reserved for our subscribers.

A subscription helps you enjoy the best of our business content every day along with benefits such as articles from our international business news partners; ProfileData financial data; and digital access to the Sunday Times and Sunday Times Daily.

Already subscribed? Simply sign in below.

Questions or problems? Email or call 0860 52 52 00. Got a subscription voucher? Redeem it now