'Man's Best Friend' (2020). Partially restored plastic Alsatian dog © Dion Kitson

Artist Spotlight: ACS Studio Prize Winner Dion Kitson
February 17, 2021
In the latest instalment of our 'Artist Spotlight' series, we talk to ACS Studio Prize 2020 winner, Dion Kitson.

Kitson was awarded the prize by a distinguished panel of judges, made up of celebrated painter and author Celia Paul, and pioneering contemporary artist Gavin Turk alongside ACS Managing Director, Harriet Bridgeman CBE.

Since winning the prize, Kitson has been producing new works in a variety of mediums. Below, the artist talks us through the new pieces he has been creating in his studio, responding to the world around him during lockdown.


Q. How would you define your work in three words?


Pebble-dashed pathos.


Q. What did winning the ACS Studio Prize mean for you as an artist?


It allowed me to breathe a sigh of relief after a long grind of trying to fund getting a studio. It set a solid foundation for my practice art and enabled me to make bigger and more ambitious work while having a place to professionally photograph and archive my archive, it is a massive blessing while having Gavin Turk and Celia Paul reflect on my work was a great honour too.



‘Chip on the shoulder’ (2020) Gold plated brooch edition of 5 © Dion Kitson


What medium do you mainly work with and why?


I’ve never committed to making work with one medium, there are different ways to say different things. I like working with everything, a lot of my process is collecting objects, such as old footballs from the canal, watching classic cinema, and wandering around dark age Dudley. I’m attempting to represent the weak underbelly of the British psyche through the subtle subversions of the objects that occur to me.


Where do you find most inspiration for your work?


My hometown of Dudley is my muse, I work on intuition through lived experiences and the objects and ideas that excite me most, I recently found an old car tyre on the canal towpath that looks like a 25lb prized carp, it’s instinctive.



‘Fishing Knot’ (2021) (Common Dunlop, Canalis Strigare) Weight: 25lbs Size: 80x30cm © Dion Kitson


Q. Take us through your working process.


It’s a slight mystery. I’ve figured out the algorithm that creates artworks. Last week I was watching ‘Escape from Alcatraz’ with Clint Eastwood, part of the prison escape involved making papier-mache replica of the prison wall to disguise the tunnel out of the cell. Watching during lockdown 3.0, suddenly I start making a replica of the Trompe-l’œil prison cell wall vent, then I made a papier-mache plug from the corner of my living room to cope and hide my own allegorical tunnel escape, from the situation, from lockdown, from England.


‘Plug’ (2021) Trompe-l’œil papier-mâché wall and plug © Dion Kitson

‘Vent’ (2021) Replica vent and wall from Escape from Alcatraz 1979 © Dion Kitson


Q. Can you remember the first work of art that you created? What was it and why was it so memorable?


I remember me and my grandad painted one of Degas’s ballerinas together. I consider it my first artwork, as I signed it in biro ‘Dion Aged 4’, it shows I’ve always wanted to be an artist I’ve got it for sale for £100,000 if anyone is interested DM me.


‘Constable’s England’ (2020) ‘Secondhand Series’ edited charity shop painting © Dion Kitson


Find out more about Dion Kitson’s work on the artist’s website and read more about the ACS Studio Prize on our Prizes & Bursaries page.