Most babies learn to walk and talk before developing hobbies and skills, but that was not the case for Australian artist Aelita Andre. She learned to paint at 9 months old and had her artwork shown in galleries by the time she was 2.
She had her first solo exhibit in Manhattan when she was just 4 years old and sold all 24 pieces. When she was 8 years old she sold a painting for $50,000. She is called a young Picasso, and her painting style is compared frequently to that of Jackson Pollock.
Aelita got into painting as a baby when her father put down a canvas and some acrylic paints and she just began to crawl all over them, smearing paint onto the canvas. She was hooked immediately. Her father, Michael Andre, told ABC News, “It was really fascinating to watch this creative process unfold in front of me.”
The thing is, she wasn’t just playing, she was creating. When her father stood up, it dawned on him that her painting was good—really good. “When I got up and looked at this square canvas, I kind of switched my whole perception of what she had done, from a child dabbling in paints to actually admiring the completed work.”
Aelita’s mother, Nikka Kalashnikova, is a photographer who’s had her work shown in Melbourne’s Brunswick Street Gallery. Kalashnikova took her daughter’s paintings to gallery director Mark Jamieson and showed him. She didn’t reveal at first that it was her 2-year-old daughter’s work, just that the painter was a female artist.
Jamieson loved the work and decided to showcase it in the Brunswick Street Gallery, at which point Aelita’s parents admitted to him that it was their child’s work. He didn’t care, nor did anyone else.
Soon after, Aelita’s first solo exhibit was displayed for three weeks in Manhattan. The show was called “The Prodigy of Color,” and all 24 paintings sold out within a week, ranging in price from $4,000 to $10,000.
Aelita’s popularity and fame increased with her work being shown in galleries all over the world. As her paintings become more widely seen, she admitted to getting a little sad when she has to say goodbye to them. “If you think of the work as a living creature, it probably wants to be with all its friends in my own world. That’s why I’m a bit upset when the works get sold.”
In an interview with News.com.au, Aelita went on to say how freeing it is to paint and that it helps her escape the tiny world and create a brand new universe, “It doesn’t sit in one tiny sphere in all realism, it goes out and it explores the world.”
Her studio in her parents’ home in Melbourne is called “Aelita’s Magical World.” It is filled with hundreds of canisters of paint, objects, drawings, and pictures. In this video you can watch Aelita paint as new ideas come into her head. It’s quite an experience to see her creative process, as she does so with ease and has an extraordinary depth, especially for a child.
On camera she is finishing her painting and describing it as she puts down little dinosaur figures and explains how they are on the path to the unknown universe and then she instantly comes up with the title, “The Mirror Path That Leads to the Unknown Universe.”
We’re not sure about you, but when we were 9 years old our most complex sentences were something like, “Can I have more candy?” She is wise beyond her years and talented beyond lifetimes. As you watch her, though, you are also reminded that she is just a child who enjoys dressing up as princesses and ballerinas—yet people look at her work and find true depth and meaning.
Aelita’s sources of inspiration can come from anywhere she says: “My animals inspire me, some of my movies. I don’t watch cartoonish sorts of movies. I don’t like that babyish films. Documentaries inspire me. The cosmos inspires me as well. Because it’s a really amazing, magical place.”
She has a deep connection with the world and all living creatures, which is why many of her titles reflect things about the universe. Her home is also filled with aquariums, birds, rabbits, guinea pigs, and a lizard.
She wants to paint for the rest of her life. This dream may well come true, as people are happy to enjoy her art, which is full of abstract colors, 3D objects, and mysterious depth. Her most recent work is used on the cover of a compilation album by Stubbie Records, and she has had shows in Hong Kong and Germany.
She also has a website where you can keep track of her work, such as one of her most recent paintings, titled “The Infinite World of the Unpredictability of Dreams,” in which she uses a small violin as a 3D object on a canvas that stretches 174 x 60 inches.
Aelita is painting all the time as well as diving into new hobbies like pottery, music, and sculpting. You can follow keep up with her latest work on Instagram.
As for other child art prodigies, it seems that the world has been eager for these fresh voices for some time. In the last decade we have seen two more children under the age of 10 become incredibly successful artists. Although Aelita still holds the record for the youngest person ever to have their own Wikipedia page based on their accomplishments, she has a couple of competitors in the world of art prodigies.
Kieron Williamson was just 9 years old when in the span of about 15 minutes he sold 24 paintings for a total of $386,000.
His style is much different from Aelita’s, as he uses mostly oil-based paints and watercolors for primarily landscape art. But his dedication is much like Aelita’s. He even used to wake up and paint a picture before heading off to elementary school.
Another impressive young artist is Autumn de Forest, a 15-year-old painter who was deemed an “artistic genius” by the Discovery Channel when she was a mere 8 years old.
Autumn had her first solo gallery appearance in 2012 in an exhibit titled “Child Prodigy: A diverse collection of work by Autumn de Forest.”
She too has her own style of art, filled with hearts, stars, and ballerinas. Unlike the hearts and stars we draw or paint, however, hers sell for an average of $25,000.
Chances are that if you are reading this article, it’s already too late for you to become a child prodigy. We have had to give up on that dream too. But hey, at least we can…vote?