“‘Pac is still a huge inspiration for many, many people”
We recently spoke to thirty year old Italian artist, Dave Dinon from Dinon Graphix, about his artwork, basketball, hip-hop and Tupac. Dave, who is currently living in a town close to Venice, Italy, has completed artwork for hip-hop stars such as The Game, Ras Kass and even collaborated with the son of the late legend, Nate Dogg!
O4L Online: Your artwork is dope! What sparked your interest in art and graphics?
Thanks I appreciate that. Art runs in my veins. Ive had a pencil in my hand for as long as i can remember. When I was a kid a dream of mine was to work for a comic book and draw their stories so its always been there. Art, paintings, graffiti you name them. Graphics came along with the new media I guess.
O4L Online: Do you have any specific processes that you go through when coming up with your designs and artwork?
I just browse, like everyone else, the web and see the stories on Instagram the news. If I see something of interest I start to think of ways to portray the news or the situation or the person involved in a cool way that could become relevant itself. So I guess that’s the process.
O4L Online: Looking at your work, basketball is a constant theme throughout. Who’s your team & is the sport an influence for your artwork?
I’m a huge Lebron fan, one that you can legitimately call bandwagon! I’ve been following Lebron since day one so whichever team he is on I’m rooting for him. I think he deserves to succeed in everything as he is currently doing. Basketball is the other love of mine so there was drawing and basketball. I have been playing for 15 years so I’m deep into it.
O4L Online: We believe that you have done work for NBA All-Star Kyrie Irving of the Boston Celtics. What did you create for him?
Kyrie has been awesome! I have created lots of artwork for many players but Kyrie always showed love on Instagram. I created this “ankletaker” piece portraying him as the WWE wrestler, The Under Taker, back then NBA players showed interest in WWE. His personal coach saw it and saw that Kyrie liked it, so he offered to give a shirt to him with the design. Most of the graphics that I create are designed to fit on shirts. So we did that and Kyrie showed it to the Snapchat community and it caught on. Even ESPN and Fox News were talking about it.
O4L Online: Another theme in your art is hip-hop. On your Instagram you mention you have created graphics for rappers The Game and Ras Kass. How did this come about and what was their reactions to your artwork?
You can name Hip-Hop as love number three in my life and all my loves are correlated. So obviously Hip-Hop is present in many of my pieces of art. I mainly do graphics for the people I admire. I kind of like hoping they will see it and ask to collaborate. So I can just say to my older self “well done man”. I don’t do it for the money, I do it for the experience, although money would definitely help!
I made a Soul On Ice design for Ras Kass and he liked it! Ras is awesome, he mailed me a few times asking for graphics, so I ended up doing some shirts like merchandise for the website and a shirt he wore in the music video ‘Hood On Ice’.
The Game situation was different. It all started because of Game actually. I had just made my Instagram account and followed him. Then he comes up with this thing for the compilation ‘Year Of The Wolf’ where he was asking his fans to design the cover. So I said “what the heck lets try it would be awesome” and it became an obsession! I couldn’t sleep at night because I was always thinking about ideas for the cover.
I posted thousands of times in order for him to see my work. To the point some of his entourage blocked me and I understand why! It taught me to master my art and also that this graphic designer thing is a nasty business. I didn’t win but I gained quite a following and a few extra jobs because The Game showed me love.
O4L Online: Tupac also appears in your portfolio of work. Can you tell us about the ‘Pac art that you have done and the inspiration that is behind them?
‘Pac is the greatest rapper, prophet, poet, rap artist of all time, so obviously he is present in my work. I got a ‘Pac tattoo on my shoulder too, the first i made actually when i was Seventeen, since he was so pro-people and so much artistic in his own way I always tried to do something special for him, much more artistic then the usual. Tupac’s brother, Mopreme, showed me love, so did The Outlawz and Riskie Forever that was an honor.
O4L Online: That must of been a great feeling for yourself, knowing that the people who were close to Tupac give you their blessing. What is your favourite Tupac song and why?
There are many but i would say ‘Keep ya head up’. It’s a beautiful song, it speaks to our women in a way that only he could have done it, truly beautiful and deep and the rhythm is crazy too!
O4L Online: With ‘Pac being gone now for 22 years, what do you think of Tupac’s legacy and how he is still inspiring people in every walk of life?
There is a little part of me that still wishes he is alive. ‘Pac is still a huge inspiration for many, many people and whoever is still touched by his art or try to make him proud in some way or just to keep on doing what he was doing is actually doing great things, succeeding in life in many ways.
Too bad the rap scene seems to be corrupted nowadays and these new rappers aren’t doing art but just selling their souls for the mighty dollar.
O4L Online: The future looks very bright for you! Can you tell us of any plans that you may have for your artwork or any upcoming projects that you wish to tell us about?
Thanks, hopefully so. Well I’m trying to collaborate with a sneaker brand to become a designer for them and actually design things. Who knows, things keep happening and I’ll be here trying to represent them and draw them and trying to do a service for the people. That’s a goal of mine, to help the community with my art that would be awesome.
O4L Online: Thank you for talking to O4L Online, we wish you all the best.
Thanks, I appreciate that. Thanks to y’all for giving me the opportunity to speak about my art.