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Artist Cupid evokes 17th century still lifes with his flower-filled selfies

Visual artist and Instagram sensation Cupid uses fresh flowers and ornate pearls to create otherworldly selfies

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Cupid has always been inspired by nature and the beauty of objects. As a child, he would play in the fields of his quiet Washington State neighbourhood. Now living in New York, Cupid, 19, is interning, styling and working as a makeup artist. On top of that, he recently debuted his first fashion collection, Divine Militia, at Heavy Set Studio. Taking his alias from Greek mythology, Cupid’s appreciation of nature is complemented with and contrasted by a love of the unnatural. “Mythology has always been something that I’ve found fascinating, since a very young age,” he reflects. “Cupid represents desire and love which are two concepts I think of heavily.”

Drawing his inspiration from “objects rather than people”, Cupid sees the beauty in the ordinariness of everyday life. “My work is a never-ending whirlpool of everything I digest. I can see a blanket draped over a chair and want to emulate that same arrangement in a dress or pass by a garden and want to incorporate the colours of the flowers in the make-up.” All of this is encapsulated on his Instagram, where he curates beautiful and surreal self-portraits against stylised sets. Whether he’s decorating his face in pearls or adorning it with fresh flowers, Cupid creates ornate photos resembling the still life paintings of 17th Century Dutch masters or dreamlike worlds created by René Magritte.

What did you want to be when you grew up?
I’ve always wanted to be in the fashion industry and have a job that involves creativity. I spent most of my childhood dressing dolls and sketching ideas.

How would you describe your overall aesthetic?
I’ve noticed it changed throughout the seasons, but currently, I’ve been wearing a lot of black, reds, and accessorising with chains. I would describe it as romantic city goth.

What are you working on at the moment?
Right now I’m focusing a lot on constructing more of my own garments. I’ve also been trying to play around with other mediums, like music and digital art so keep an eye and an ear out for that.

What do you want for the future?
That’s a heavy question, but on a global scale, I’d like to see a prioritising of safety and care for targeted communities and a more stable environment for creativity. It’s extremely important that humanity starts pushing for unity in order for us all to expand together in all fields and explore more of the world. Creation and innovation should be the aim. As for my own personal future, I’d like to examine what barriers I’ve built for myself and why, and bend or break them as I see fit. I want to be able to make more and do more. I have an insatiable deep-rooted hunger for art.

It's 30 years from now. You stumble home at 3 am and catch your reflection in the fridge door. What do you look like?
My makeup would probably be smudged and running. I hope I’m still going just as hard as now, or even harder.

As a warning to the other members of the resistance, your head is to be mounted above the gates of the city. How would you do your makeup that morning?
I’d be bare-faced, except for fresh flowers glued to my face a single teardrop drawn down my cheek. That way they can watch the flowers wither away and I’ll leave a final pile of petals below me.

It's the year 2080 and the two sexes have become obsolete in favour of one single type of human. Describe your perfect evening in.
My perfect evening in would just be me sitting on the floor and working on anything. There’s nothing better than to see your time physically materialise into a piece. I’d have subtle music or maybe a movie playing in the background and have a couple friends over just to be surrounded by their energy.

You have to replace your body with that of an animal or a mythological creature. What do you go for and why?
I would probably be a Nymph because they can come in so many forms depending on their habitat. I could imagine myself as a city nymph, hovering through crowded subways and sleeping on rough tops under the moon, with all of my clothes tattered.