43-year-old Fabian Gaete is an artist who specializes in finger painting. He’s so good at his craft that he can actually create small finger oil paintings of breathtaking landscapes in under three minutes.
Fabian currently works his magic on the streets of Puerto Montt, Chile, where his ‘live creations’ are sold at six euros each (or 10 euros for three). He moves around with a large black suitcase filled with oil paints and glass panels. As soon as he receives a request for a painting, he quickly uses his fingers to fill the panels with mountains, trees, rivers, waterfalls and more. In no time at all, the painting is completed, sealed and handed over to its new owner.
Photo: Fabian Gaete
To truly understand how spectacular Fabian’s work is, you need to watch this video of him in action. It went viral when it was posted to YouTube in January, receiving two million hits in just two days. The video was recorded by a group of Russian tourists near the Cathedral of Malaga in Spain, where Fabian was performing last summer.
“They said they wanted to take it as a souvenir from Spain,” he said. “I thought it was for them. And now, suddenly, months later, I find the phone keeps ringing. People who hadn’t seen me for years were calling me about the video’s success.” If you look at the video carefully, you’ll realize that the extraordinary painter follows a specific, step-by-step technique. He first paints the elements that are far away on the horizon, like the sky and the mountains. Then he moves on to closer objects and details, like trees, rivers and waterfalls. He adds his final touch with his signature bird flying over the horizon, before cleaning off the edges.
Fabian has over quarter of a century of experience under his belt – he has been finger painting since childhood. His parents owned a printing press, so there was never a shortage of paper and ink around him. At age 18, he began to take his art seriously, and practiced hard to get to where he is today. He also travelled 20 countries in 20 years, conducting his finger painting ‘shows’ all over the world. “I must be the only painter in the world who sells everything he paints,” he joked.
But Fabian doesn’t intend to get rich over his paintings. He just uses his art as a means to stay happy and peaceful. In fact, he even has a project called ‘Arte100Cia’ through which he passes on his painting techniques to children. He said that spending time with kids brings him immense satisfaction. Although he is enjoying his newfound success, the real reason he’s happy is because he travels the world and meets fantastic people, which is what he really loves.
Fabian still moves around a lot, so who knows, maybe one day you’ll see him perform in your home city.