Reproduction of Claude Monet’s “Poppies” by Julio Anaya Cabanding, acrylic on a wall in Vélez-Málaga, Spain
On a sunny day outside the beachside city of Málaga, Spain it’s not unusual to find a painting hanging on an abandoned wall amidst the more expected forms of graffiti. Getting closer to the work, it is even more surreal to realize the painting is a Monet or a Vermeer or a Rembrandt – well, a reproduction of one – and that the frame it seems to be hanging in is an illusion, part of the painting itself.
At this spot just off the highway in Vélez-Málaga, there are no tourist masses shuffling through a crowded museum and no stark white gallery walls, just a pleasant viewing experience with the sound of birds chirping and a warm breeze.
Spanish artist Julio Anaya Cabanding loves to paint in this environment. With his classical training, he has specialized in replicating old masterpieces (and their original frames) in abandoned places, and on abandoned cardboard.
Reproduction of Claude Monet’s “The Houses of Parliament” by Julio Anaya Cabanding, on cardboard in La Térmica cultural center, where he’s currently doing a residency. He covers the cardboard in six layers of latex to preserve it and give it a rigid quality.
“The collectors are crazy with the cardboard,” said Cabanding, pointing to pieces in his small Málaga studio in La Térmica cultural center.
Less than a year since graduating from the school of Fine Arts at the University of Málaga, the 31-year-old Cabanding finds himself with a busy schedule of art fairs and shows at international galleries, as well as a waitlist of collectors who found his work through Instagram.
Instagram As Art Marketplace
Lacking the art world cachet of other Spanish cities like Barcelona, Madrid, or Bilbao, the art scene in Málaga is still nascent. But with the Centre Pompidou Málaga and the Málaga Collection of the Russian Museum of St. Petersburg (Colección del Museo Ruso de San Petersburgo), both opening in 2015, and a relatively new fine arts school at the University of Málaga, many young artists are attracted to this city on Spain’s southern coast.
However, there are not yet many local galleries or collectors to support these new artists. This led Cabanding to promote his work on Instagram, and he’s gained an international following as a result.
A photo from Julio Anaya Cabanding’s Instagram account shows his outdoor process
Julio Anaya Cabanding
“Instagram is an amazing tool to show your work,” said Cabanding. He prefers to sell his work through the platform, saying that while he collaborates with galleries on shows, he doesn’t want to be represented by one because it would mean giving up a 50% cut of his sales.
He’s not alone either, as other artists have migrated to the highly visual platform in recent years, and collectors (especially millennial art buyers) are following.
“I actually came across him on Instagram,” said Daniel Hay. As a London-based collector of pop, street and urban art (including works by Banksy, Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol), Hay has connected with curators, galleries and dealers on Instagram before, but Cabanding was the first artist he contacted directly to buy a piece. “I think it seems to be more and more common these days that people are going directly to the source, so to speak. Which, if you build up a relationship with the artist, it’s actually a really nice way of doing it.”
On the left, a reproduction of Johannes Vermeer’s “A Maid Asleep” by Julio Anaya Cabanding, acrylic on a wall in Vélez-Málaga
For other collectors, finding artists on Instagram has become the norm.
“90% of the work I come across is through Instagram,” said Daniel El-Ismail, another graffiti and street art collector in Berlin, and a buyer of Cabanding’s work. El-Ismail prefers to purchase pieces directly from artists, though he finds that they are usually discouraged from selling their work privately.
The Place Of Galleries
Sasha Bogojev is a contributing editor for Juxtapoz Magazine and curator of Cabanding’s first solo show in Imola, Italy, as well as a show earlier this year in which Cabanding participated. While he thinks Instagram is a useful tool to find and contact new artists, he doesn’t advise artists use it to sell their work directly.
“From my experience, it’s galleries that are validating the work of an artist,” said Bogojev.
Closer view of reproduction of Johannes Vermeer’s “A Maid Asleep” by Julio Anaya Cabanding, acrylic on a wall in Vélez-Málaga
“When an artist is new and fresh and the work – people like it and people want it – it can go like that for awhile and this period can last for, I don’t know, months to years. But eventually, at some point, you will supply enough collectors that just like the work,” explained Bogojev. “Then there’s the next group of collectors who want to collect art that’s been exhibited, that’s been recognized in that sense.”
Aside from adding to artists’ workloads, Bogojev says he’s witnessed artists having difficulty pricing their pieces – either overvaluing them due to a personal attachment to the work or more often, undervaluing their art.
Cabanding admits that with his waitlist of buyers on Instagram growing, he needs to raise prices for future pieces from their current range of €500-€1500 ($560-$1680).
A solo show of Cabanding’s work at the Tales of Art gallery in Imola, Italy. The show is on now through June 9, 2019.
TALES OF ART – GALLERIA D’ARTE
“I know that Julio, thanks to Instagram, has been able to grow very quickly,” said Marco Chiarini, owner and managing director of the Tales of Art gallery in Imola, which is now hosting a solo show of Cabanding’s work. “If he was doing this five years ago and just posting on his website, maybe it would have taken him ten years.”
It’s All In How You Frame It
In addition to his current solo show, Cabanding has exhibited in Chemnitz, Germany, and at Galerie C.O.A in Montréal as part of the New Classics show, a group show with other contemporary artists reimagining classic artworks.
“I invited him to paint directly on the gallery wall and the response was amazing,” said Jean-Pascal Fournier, owner and curator of Galerie C.O.A in Montréal. “[He] was the first artist to sell all his works from the show.”
Julio Anaya Cabanding painting a reproduction of Paul Cezanne’s “Still Life, Pears and Green Apples” directly onto the wall at Galerie C.O.A in Montréal
For collectors who value Cabanding’s on-the-wall style, but want to see his work in a gallery, this style of painting directly in the space can provide a taste.
“It’s very effective when you see it in person because it’s almost hard to tell when you see it from a distance that it’s not an actual painting hanging there,” said Bogojev. “Once he paints them on old cardboard, he shows these priceless masterpieces as something drawn on a literal piece of garbage. So I think it’s very much humanizing this distance that exists between the fine art world and common people.”
“I paint these pictures because they’re paintings that my mother and other people who don’t know so much about art can recognize,” explained Cabanding.
Cabanding’s solo show at the Tales of Art gallery with photos of his pieces in urban settings on the left and a reproduction of “Bacchus” by Caravaggio painted directly on the gallery wall on the right. The show, on display now through June 9th, sold out before the opening according to gallery owner Marco Chiarini.
TALES OF ART – GALLERIA D’ARTE
Cabanding says that these tromple l’oeil frames are always more difficult to recreate than the paintings themselves, taking him five to eight hours, whereas the paintings only require two to three.
El-Ismail, the collector from Berlin, explains that when he has asked Cabanding for a Van Gogh or a Vermeer before, Cabanding responds that he has to see the frame first.
As for the difficulty of hanging these frameless cardboard pieces?
Reproduction of Leonardo da Vinci’s “Lady with an Ermine” by Julio Anaya Cabanding
“He doesn’t care about the cardboard. It seems like the more dirty it is, the more he likes it,” said El-Ismail. “So, the hanging is actually pretty challenging.”