My cousin recently posted a news story on her Facebook page about a 4-year old little girl who’s paintings are being featured in a high-priced art gallery in New York. Apparently this girl’s paintings are selling for $30,000 a pop and she’s achieved global fame. According to the story, her parents “discovered” her “gift” when one day, her father, who is also an artist, had some paints and canvas laying about and his daughter started playing with them. Now she is a sensation in the art world and people are shelling out big bucks to own one of her works.
At the risk of sounding snarky or catty, I use “discovered” and “gift” in quotes with massive amounts of skepticism. Admittedly, if I was at this gallery and saw these pieces on the wall, I wouldn’t have guessed that they were done by a four-year-old. This isn’t because I think her pieces are impressive or outstanding (because I’ve seen other artists create stuff like this all the time and it’s hanging all over the gallery walls in Chelsea and I’ve often thought it was overblown), it’s because most 4-year-olds don’t have access to canvas and acrylic paint. Most kids her age are creating the same kind of renderings except they just do it with crayons and construction paper. In this case, Aelita Andre has the fortune of having two artist parents that have this kind of stuff laying around the house for her to happen upon. If she was doing the same thing with crayons and paper, I seriously doubt that her stuff would be gracing major galleries in New York.
The whole fervor over this girl also demonstrates some of the hypocrisy and hype that is rampant in the art world and particularly in art galleries. Like I said, there’s nothing new or particularly innovative about her pieces; I’ve seen grown artists do the same thing and they can’t even get arrested. I’ve seen artists (like my cousin) who spent many years studying and working to perfect their craft and do a damn good job at it but can’t get arrested, let alone sell a piece for $30,000. So what, then, justifies the massive price tag for her pieces? I’m guessing it’s because it’s being done by a little girl working with on canvas and with paint, which compels the conclusion that this is all about packaging. I’d be more far more impressed if this girl was creating drawings that were accurate renderings of still-life scenes with detail given to scale, perspective, etc. That types of work takes time, discipline and work. In short, this looks like much ado about nothing.
I’d also like to add that stories like this often get recycled. Not too long ago, there was another little girl selling her paintings for thousands of dollars in galleries around the world and her works looked pretty much like what this new girl is doing. Eventually, it came to light that this girl wasn’t doing these paintings at all; her artist father was actually making the paintings and trying to pass them off as his daughter’s with the hope that people would buy into the hype and also buy these expensive paintings. I’m not saying that is the case here; the last thing I need is to get sued for defamation by this girl’s parents who don’t appreciate mean little artist-lawyers like me saying libelous things about their kid on a blog. However, the footage that I’ve seen in this news article doesn’t show the girl working on a painting from start to finish. I did find some videos on her on YouTube, including this one, that, quite frankly, creeps me out a little. Its presentation seems somewhat contrived, as if this girl, who is merely painting and having fun, is being groomed and hyped up to be a prodigy or something. Talk about a marketing strategy.
At the end of the day, I don’t have a problem with the little girl, she’s doing what I used to enjoy doing when I was little; drawing, playing and creating with different colors. I played with crayons and leftover computer paper that my mom used to bring home from work while Aelita has the luxury of playing with canvas and paint. However, I do ultimately take issue with her parents and the
pimps art critics that are rushing her stuff off to these galleries for massive amounts of money. What do you think?
In the meantime, if anyone has a young child around the age of four (preferably female) who wouldn’t mind being pimped out to some high-end New York galleries so that a certain artist can pay off her law school loans, please email me.