Artist uses graffiti to bring fine art paintings to the streets

How often do you get to the art gallery? Many people either can’t afford it or don’t think it would be interesting enough for them. In fact, a large proportion of young people today remain oblivious to famous and historical artworks. A recent study by OnePollout from the UK found that 19 percent of youth said they’ve never visited a museum, and 36 percent have never visited a gallery. But what if there were a way to bring fine art paintings to the streets for everyone to enjoy them?

Fine art paintings in urban areas

Spanish artist Julio Anaya Cabanding has taken inspiration from well-known masterpieces to create fine art paintings that create captivating optical illusions. By freeing them from museum walls, Julio brings them to the urban environment using graffitied city walls and deteriorating buildings as his canvas. Julio’s not an art thief, though. He’s actually just a very talented artist that recreates iconic paintings with uncanny detail, ornate frames, and clever shadows.

“The result is not only a painting that pretends to be a painting and a relationship with an environment,” says Julio. “It is also the action of taking the picture of the museum, stealing the image… and the sacrum of the institution to put it in another place, in a place where it is never seen or seen in a different way.”

Julio Anaya Cabanding street art
Julio Anaya Cabanding street art masterpieces

To create each work he first outlines his replica in spray paint, then meticulously fills in the details with acrylic paint. The practice evolved from his art education at the University of Fine Arts in Malaga, where he developed an interest in site-specific works and traditional optical illusion. His works are so meticulously rendered that people often think they are Photoshopped or mistaken for the original paintings.

“A year ago I painted two paintings by Lucian Freud… in an exhibition with colleagues from the university. When talking to one of their mothers one week later, a colleague realized she still thought she had seen two real paintings.” 

Fine art paintings in urban areas
Julio Anaya Cabanding street art
Fine art paintings in urban areas

Keep track of Julio’s fine art street paintings by following him on Instagram.


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