This Argentine artist has gained worldwide success for his incredibly lifelike paintings of Diego Maradona using spray paint after a tribute he made following the legend’s death gained him clients around the globe.
Argentina-based artist Maximiliano Bagnasco, 39, also known as Maxi, posted a painting of Maradona as a tribute shortly after the former footballer’s sudden death on 25th November 2020.
The video shows a time-lapse of Maxi’s incredibly life-like artwork using paint but he is also well-known for his work using spray paint.
The artists captioned the footage: “The day after you left, I made this painting.”
Maxi spoke with Golder’s News and Sport and said: “I think no one expected his death, we all saw him as immortal. He always made it through things.
“That day, the news stunned me. It was sad and also knowing my dream of wanting to meet him was not going to happen.”
Maxi decided to make the painting as a tribute to the football legend and posted the picture and video on his Instagram, where he now boasts of a following of 106,000 people, but assures he never expected to have the reaction that came from it.
Maxi began receiving calls for job offers by people wanting their own tributes to the legend.
One of his first clients included Argentine top-flight AA Argentinos Juniors, where Maradona made his debut in professional football in 1976.
The club hired the artist to make a mural for a sanctuary they created in a portion of their stadium which was renamed the Diego Armando Maradona Stadium in 2004.
Maxi said: “I didn’t expect anything of what is happening for the whole world to write me asking me to paint him or asking for notes. Diego made my work known to the world, it was the ‘Hand of God’.”
Shortly after, requests for more of his work continued pouring in from clients around the globe. He said: “I have been contacted by famous people, and not, from all over the world.”
He added: “Ever since I have been contacted to make Maradona paintings, the repercussions have been worldwide.”
Maxi is still highly sought after even five months after Maradona’s passing.
His success even allowed him to meet the legend’s daughter Giannina who he said knew his work and added: “I know her mother (Claudia [Villafane]) also knows my work.”
Maxi said the inspiration for his art pieces, which can take between 24 to 36 hours to complete, varies as some are for clients but he also has a stockpile of images he uses.
He said: “I am saving pictures I want to paint, I’d like to make more tributes, a really really big one.”
Maxi has amassed roughly 20 paintings, some of them showing Maradona’s most iconic moments during and after his playing days, which he has made with the help of his assistant, Dreier.
The popular artist now plans to auction them off. He said: “We haven’t defined the base price, I think it will be around ARS 70,000 (GBP 691) each.”
However, it is unclear when or where he plans to have the auction.
When speaking about his favourite painting, he said: “There are several that I like, one that always sticks out is Maradona standing next to the goalkeeper Goycochea at the World Cup of Italy 90.
“You can see Diego’s angry face because they were whistling at the Argentine national anthem. Diego started to insult [them].”
Despite studying advertising at university, Maxi said he has always been linked to drawing, even appearing on television shows or performing at events where he would do live drawings.
He said: “Currently I give talks, seminars, I teach and I still participate in shows and festivals drawing and painting live.”
Anyone interested in contacting Maxi for a request or classes can find more information on his social media page. (https://bit.ly/3vmB0X0)