A few days ago I was emailed one of those you-gotta-watch-this links to “the girl who paints heaven” about a young prodigy on Oprah. The next day I read on the Huffington Post about an 9 year old English artist who sold out his show in minutes for $386,000. Is there an child-art-star revolution happening?
If you look at the work of these art-star-kids it’s technically done well. But that’s not the full reason they are selling like hotcakes, it’s because they are children. The girl-who-paints-heaven, Akiane, is selling paintings for up to $3 million! Her first painting sold at age 8 for $10,000. The English 9 year old, Kieron, just made $386,000 (250,000UK Pounds) from 24 paintings in 15 minutes…that averages out to a little over $16,000 per painting!
Akiane has a major “God” angle. Looking at her website I feel like I’m on a Kardashian page; it’s full of shameless promotion, but since it’s so obviously inspired by God it’s ok. She doesn’t have plans for college, instead believing, “For a true artist, life is a real academy. I am always both a student and a teacher. I have been teaching art to children since the age of eight. Now I am a co-founder of Akiane Arts School at Foreli Academy, where we are now enrolling students. As a student of life, I am challenged everyday to experiment and to explore the unknown territories.” I wonder why someone who doesn’t seem to believe in higher learning chooses to create an establishment called an “Academy”? A part of me wants to buy into the whole thing because she is very obviously divinely inspired & gifted, but it just seems like there is a force behind her that will end up discrediting her by selling paintings at outrages prices and having her create a school in her name… I would really love to know if it’s the parents or her gallery.
Kieron has a similar type of website to Akiane where it shows his history and it has his innocent-i’m-just-a-kid picture with the links to his various tv clips and articles. His gallery shows are all marked “sell out”, and you are invited to get on his mailing list so you can receive updates on his latest releases (because you wouldn’t want to miss buying the next one hot off the easel). I couldn’t look into him anymore because I am just so disappointed by the whole DanceMoms-Toddlers&Tiaras aspect of it all. Why can’t these kids just develop without being thrust into the spotlight? Would I do the same if I had a gifted child? Well maybe if one of my cats could paint I guess I would, but a child…hmm, doubtful. I knowingly am being very judgmental of the parents (shame on me) but it’s disgraceful that everyone is so desperate to be famous (or have their kids be) and it has hit the art world (fyi: Kieron’s mom has written a biography on him that’s selling for $200 a book). Also, having worked with very young popstars and seeing how they were oblivious to their extreme treatment (providing for their family & management before their own best interest), it just makes me very sad to see it happen in an arena I greatly respect.
I am happy these kids are fulfilling some desire and drive and utilizing their amazing talent- I’m totally jealous of that. But what happens when they are adults (assuming they have no further education than their basic schooling as it seems for at least one) and they are still painting the same picture of Jesus or landscape and they aren’t little and cute? If these kids were adults making those paintings they would be showing at mall-stands or church craft fairs. Will they still be interesting when they grow up? I guess I’m hoping for the anger and the angst to come out and see what kind of paintings they turn out. I will be very interested then.