There is an undoubtedly expanding community of creatives from around the world who are redefining the way we think about beauty through otherworldly representations of themselves. We may think it is about an artistic manifestation to escape from reality, but in this case, for Cupid Vault, the use of makeup serves as a means to connect with the outside world. Cupid’s appreciation of nature, love for the unnatural and interest in mythology translate into beautifully curated and surreal self-portraits. Get to know the artist behind this Instagram sensation.
Make-up artist, stylist, designer, DJ or even “digital poltergeist”, as you describe yourself on Instagram. Could you briefly introduce yourself to our readers?
I’m Cupid! I’m 19. I work with image and sound.
Where does your passion for visual art and make-up come from?
I have always felt there has always been a communication barrier between me and the outside world, but over time, I found creating visuals would help to express feelings that I could never articulate. Makeup is sort of an extension of that idea. We have the ability to say so much about ourselves by the ways we present ourselves. What I create is how I speak, it’s my first language and my mother tongue.
Delicate fresh flowers, enchanting pearls but also spooky mould, oversized insects or grisly elements that evoke death. How would you describe your overall aesthetic?
Conceptual. I don’t really try to stick to any one aesthetic; I like to be as fluid as possible in that way, but they are all true to me because I created them – they’re just representations of the nuanced parts of my psyche. I’ve always tried to view my image as something I can manipulate and play with, otherwise, having a physical body can feel really confining at times.
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Where do you find the inspiration to create such surreal self-portraits that are both charming and disturbing?
It really changes all the time, I can be inspired by a billion different things at once. I love incorporating pieces from different things I’ve seen; maybe mimic the gestural lines of a painting with the goriness from a horror movie I just watched or the delicacy of a flower. I’m not afraid to be inspired by something, I actually try to be inspired by everything. The bigger pool of reference you can draw from, the more you can actually create something entirely new.
What does mythology mean to you? And what’s your favourite mythological creature?
Mythology is fantasy, the product of very creative minds. My favourite mythological creature has always been Medusa. Her story is so twisted but she represents so much power. I love that she can turn people to stone.
You are probably familiar with Matières Fecales or Salvjiia, among others, who just like you, give the impression to use makeup as a way to escape from reality, creating creatures that seem to belong to another dimension. How would you explain this phenomenon?
I can’t speak for others, but I’m not sure I use makeup as a way to totally escape from reality – almost the opposite. Reality is so subjective as well. I try and use makeup as a way to confront my version of reality and show that it’s something you can play with and manipulate and choose for yourself. The biggest lie we’re told is that we don’t have choices.
Do you think that without Instagram, these unconventional artistic expressions would be equally valued?
I’m not sure.
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You’ve recently launched your own limited edition accessories line, presenting the Megadoom hairpin, metal hair clips adorned with multi-sized chains that were quickly sold out. What is the motivation that made you embark on such project? And what are your plans for the future with this enterprise?
I like making accessories and chains, it is something I’ve been playing with for a while now, as well as hairpins. It’s cool to establish a physical presence in the form of small things I’ve made that will be worn around. I want to work more with proper jewellery-making in the future and offer more of a variety of products.
Could you introduce us to your creative process? And what is the behind the scenes of your Instagram otherworldly selfies like?
99.9% of the time I’m alone in the bathroom at 4 am listening to music. I try and loose any concept of time and be patient with myself. I usually don’t know what I’m doing beforehand and let things kind of figure themselves out.
What would be your favourite look you’ve ever done? And do you prefer to work on yourself or on someone else’s face?
I like the look I did with green hair and moss. I took that photo in the bathroom of a hospital. I was going through a lot at the time and trying to find the most healthy ways to deal with things. When I was supposed to be rotting, I grew instead.
I’ve read that you’ve also started to perform around New York City as a DJ. Meta Tears, Pretty Boys Cry Forever and Terminal 9 are your DJ productions on Soundcloud. Heavy beats and distorted sounds with an electronic base. How much do your music and make-up creations relate to one another?
I actually haven’t DJed in the city yet, I’ve been out of New York City for a couple of months now working on things in Canada, London, and now Germany. Hopefully, when I get back, that’s something I can explore more. I think everything I do is very loud. I can hear what each of my images would sound like if they were songs. I want to bridge the gap even more in the future.
Artistically speaking, what does the music provide you that makeup doesn’t?
You can dance to it. And I think it’s more selfless, it’s less about who I am and more about the listener, which I really like. There is so much subjectivity to music and a lyric can mean completely different things to different people. I spend most of the day playing music.
And to finish it off, what are your aspirations for the future? And dream to achieve?
More music. More dancing. More indoctrinating the minds of the youth.
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