Diamonds are a groom’s best friend
Propose with Kurt Pio’s dazzling paintings
Words: Damien Woolnough
20th June 2018
South African artist Kurt Pio creates multi-faceted paintings that are jewellery for your walls. His impressive geometric renderings of one of his native land's greatest exports, diamonds, have found their way into private collections, cool cafes such as Cape Town’s Mulberry and Prince and the homes of the recently engaged.
"I had a few clients buying my diamond paintings for that exact reason, to propose with," Pio says.
How did your journey to life as an artist start?
"I always find with this profession that you don't choose ‘it’ but ‘it’ chooses you and as much as I tried go down different routes and careers, this is the one that I had to say yes to for my own personal wellbeing."
What inspired the diamond series?
"The gems started early 2011, when I was doing an artist residency in Amsterdam. They grew from patterns I started drawing each day, until they began to resemble diamonds.
"Being far away from home and a bit homesick, I looked back and started exploring more of my own countries natural resources. The idea to take a faceted shaped object and then produce it onto a shaped canvas took about two years and in the early days of these artworks, no one really showed any interest, but I enjoyed the pieces and so I kept making them…"
For years I’d always return home from a party with a champagne cork in my pocket.
You've also worked on Champagne bottles…
"For years I’d always return home from a party with a champagne cork in my pocket, I loved the idea of holding onto a little memory from a fun celebration and the cork would be that memory.
"I wanted to convert this feeling into my work. Around about the time of one of my birthday parties, I had a big white wall in my apartment wanting something fun and colourful and so I decided to play around with a champagne bottle as the space allowed for a few long thin objects of which the outcome was three large champagne bottles.
"I later Instagrammed a portion of my apartment, which had these Champagne bottle paintings in them and it seemed to be the right timing as people started showing interest in them and my gallery in New Orleans, USA requested a show with these champagne bottles and diamonds."
What cities inspire you most as an artist?
"New York and Berlin."
Does size matter?
"As a Sagittarian you try and live your biggest life and therefore a small painting would just not tell the same story."