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Dionno is an Artist with SouthAfricanArtists.com based in South Africa.
I grew up with a mother that could copy any drawing perfectly, so I have to say she was my first inspiration. Next came countless illustration in all sorts of books. School art was a bore because they always wanted me to draw or paint something like apples or flowers and never would let me do it my way. By the time I got to woodwork drawing I had pretty much given up on art, except for the endless doodles I would do while seated in the back of the class. Here was something I could excel at, and I did so up until grade 10. Then it was off to engineering college to do electronic engineering. Here I got to enjoy engineering and electronic drawing, while the rest was simply to get a bit of paper. Circumstances changed quickly after N4 and I found myself in the UK with next to nothing to my name. I abandoned drawing for the day job for a couple of years and then a friend from back home died and I found myself drawing several pictures for him. After this there really was no stopping me. I also realized just how much there was to learn and I got straight to it. I devoured the art section of the library in the small seaside town Weymouth I was living in and then I started the first of several collections of art books. Along with a small collection of underground comics from Britain, Western Europe and Japan which have never been available to me in RSA. Just over a year later I moved to Bristol and a thriving art scene. In my early 20s I finally got to meet artists that had similar kinds of outlooks when it came to the visual image. This also meant a vastly larger source of art to learn from. I had already become a great fan of Aubrey Beardsley, M. C. Escher and various wood engraving artist from early printing presses. A strange combination, I know, but it seemed to work for me. I regularly did trips into European to see artist friends and soaked up all there was on show. From graphic and visual art to live and life style performances. Then a friend gave me a book on Celtic Knots and it was like giving a child free reign in a toy shop. I got lost in them for day, weeks, months. Each one becoming more and more complicated. The last 3 years of the 10 years in Bristol were spent commuting between Bristol and North Africa. In these 3 years I took as much of what I had learnt and tried to merge it with the simple indigenous art of the locals where I was working in Morocco. My stay in the UK came to an end after the 3 years in Morocco and I headed home to RSA only to discover that there wasn't much difference between the basic indigenous art of North Africa and South Africa. The colours varied, but the designs were so similar. I remember driving between East London and Port Alfred and noticing the simple geometric designs on the white washed house and commenting that they were almost identical to those I had seen in caves and in houses in North Africa.
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Engineering drawing at school and college. Then self-taught.
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