At four years of age, artist Aelita Andre is the youngest professional painter in the world. Using acrylic paints and mixed media, she creates large canvases of colorful abstract forms that sell for between five and ten thousand dollars each. A large selection of Aelita’s paintings is currently on exhibit at the Agora Gallery in Chelsea, where all but two canvases (as of this writing) have already found buyers. You might remember another young painter, Marla Olmstead, who made the news at age four (back in 2007) for her own abstract paintings that were selling for thousands of dollars. Marla was the subject of the highly polarizing documentary, My Kid Could Paint That, which dealt primarily with the controversy over whether Marla (and not her Dad) was actually the one creating her paintings. While Marla’s parents were never able to convincingly document their daughter in the process of creating an entire work, Aelita’s parents film her as she works on each one of her paintings, so there is no doubt she is the artist. Videos of Aelita in action can be viewed at the gallery, and you can easily see that this young lady has a definite determination in her process and vision. I mean, the kid can paint. As you watch her swirl, spread and pour paint across the canvas, it’s almost impossible not to think of the creative process of the late, great Jackson Pollack.
A distinct detail in this collection is how Aelita incorporates a variety of “found objects” into her paintings by applying them directly to the canvas. These items range from beads, glitter, pipe cleaners, plastic “googly eyes,” tiny plastic animals and dinosaurs, colorful hair combs, miniature pom-poms, marbles and wire pot scrubbers to instruments of her artistic medium such as paint brushes, sponges, tubes of acrylic paint and their disembodied caps. Sometimes the objects are painted over and sometimes they appear to have been applied after the final coat of paint, letting them retain more of their original identity. I really enjoyed viewing Aelita’s paintings and would definitely want to add one to my collection if I had a spare ten grand laying around. The Prodigy of Color exhibit is 100% kid friendly and there were parents with young children at the gallery when I visited who really seemed to get excited about the paintings. You can view the exhibit online at This Link, but don’t let that stop you from making the trip in person if you live in the New York area, as the colors are much more vibrant and details more apparent when you see them up close.
Prodigy of Color runs through June 25, 2011 at The Agora Gallery, Located at 530 West 25th Street (West of 10th Avenue), 2nd Floor, NYC. Gallery Hours are Tuesday – Saturday, 11 AM – 6 PM.