NEW kid on the block – Juanito Cortes, a 10-year-old boy from the Catalan town of Sant Roc de Badalona in north-eastern Spain, has made an incredible breakthrough in the world of contemporary art, selling his works of ‘love and peace’ in galleries for astounding prices of up to €20,000 for a painting.
Juanito Cortes and his father are preparing to take a tour around the world to exhibit Juanito’s works at art fairs and in galleries in New York, Paris, Rome, Dubai and Barcelona.
Since first picking up a paintbrush at the young age of six, Juanito has shown a keen eye for abstract, expressionist art.
Though instinct plays a big part, Juanito Cortes has also spent time studying the greats, learning from artists such as Kandinsky, Pollock, Picasso, Klimt and Miro.
“We are still surprised at home,” said the boy’s father, Juan Cortes. Two years ago, he uploaded some of his son’s paintings to social media, and shortly after the Santana Art Gallery in Madrid responded.
“They called thinking that the artist was me,” Mr Cortes claimed.
The gallery offered him a solo exhibition, but when Mr Cortes told them that the artist was his son and just a mere eight years old, they refused to believe him.
After travelling to Madrid, the young boy not only exhibited his paintings but also painted live in the gallery, causing a memorable sensation among the gallery’s owners and guests.
It was after this exhibition, Juanito’s career started to take off. “The first painting he sold brought in €800,” said Mr Cortes. Since then, prices have increased massively to about €3,000, and in some cases more than six times that, claims Mr Cortes.
Mr Cortes explained how a love of art all began with his grandfather.
“He owned an antique shop and was a great lover of art. Thanks to him, I had a lot of art magazines and books about art at home that I loved to look at with Juanito. When he was four or five years old, he would sit on my lap and we would browse through them together,” Mr Cortes reminisced.
Juanito Cortes himself said: “I really liked it, especially when the paintings were abstract. I loved those paintings.”
Juanito Cortes said: “I thought: ‘If I like to look at it so much, why not do it myself?’ So I said to my father: ‘Dad, bring me canvas and paint, please’, and that’s how I started painting. I made my first painting when I was six years old.”
Juanito said: “The one I like the most is Miro. I really like the way he shapes his lines, his colours, his drawings, and his abstraction in general. I love it.”
Juanito said: “The first time my father told me that he had sold one of my paintings, I was so happy because it meant that the painting was hanging inside a person’s house. That caused me great happiness. I want all of my works to hang in museums, galleries and houses so that everyone can appreciate them. I want to be the most famous painter in the world.”
He said: “I want my works to always express joy, happiness and everything good. I never want them to convey anything bad.”
This very ambition was what caught the attention of The Excellence Art Gallery by the artist Massimo Cedrini in Marbella, Spain, who decided to take a chance on the young artist. Giuseppe Carnevale, artistic director of the gallery, said: “Juanito has a painting style so loose and so free, and above all, he has a message of love and peace that seduced us from the first moment.”
He added: “We believe that the children of this time are born with a genetic code prepared for a great change in the planet and this is noticeable when we see that a child who is only 10 years old speaks to us of love.”
In the coming months, the worlds art lovers will have the chance to get an up-close look at Juanito’s art when he goes on his first large trip outside of Spain.
He said, excitedly: “I really want to travel and to leave Spain, to see other places in the world.”