Archive | July, 2012

Child Art Stars (waiting for the angst)

15 Jul

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.

Yoko- Oh No Not Again.. at the Serpentine

4 Jul

People loves them some Yoko (except a few Beatles fans). Her work is so accessible any lay man can enjoy it…no coded imagery, difficult theory, or overindulgent narcissism. Walking into the Serpentine Gallery in London’s Hyde Park, I was excited to see her work. I’m a fan, but a part of me hates it too. It’s all in admitted jealousy. Its just so simple…why didn’t I think of it. Actually, I feel its a bit too simple sometimes and borders on art school 101. The first piece walking in was WWII helmets hanging upside down from the ceiling with pieces of a cloud puzzle. My eyes rolled. Then on to 3 mounds of dirt labeled “Country 1”, “Country 2”, “Country 3”. Oh dear, the cheese factor was at code red. Ok, I told myself not to be a little judgmental art snob bitch and take the message and accept it as sincere. Then I was able to start enjoying the Yokoness of it all; gentle, honest & even thought provoking. She does create a lot of ease and enjoyment in her uncomplicated approach. My greatest disappointment was her video of John Lennon. Lady, I know he was your husband who got murdered but that was decades ago..why you still holding on? My guess is to bring in visitors & sell some catalogs…it just felt so exploitative. She is also still showing her “cut” video. It is her best work. It’s a performance where the audience cuts pieces of her clothes off until its so painful to watch someone actually get down to her panties and bra and the assholes still keep cutting. But it’s from 1964(or 65), and then she even re-staged it in 2003, and she’s still showing it! Is this gallery show was a mini retrospective and I am just oblivious to it? The piece of the show that is her newest big production is the “Smiles Film”. She says her “ultimate goal” in film-making to to create a film with a smile of every person in the world. Now before you do the eye roll, just think how sweet of a gesture it is to do this. I mean, if she did this in my art school she would be ripped to shreds in critique class; but I think it’s cute. Not all art has to be complicated & super cerebral, so I participated. First there’s a video with Yoko telling you about the project in her little cute hat and glasses….she does have a feeling of having become a caricature of herself. After the video you could sit down and do a snap shot in a make shift booth and then you got a pin to put on your shirt. I opted not to get the pin because it was just getting too cutesy-artsy-fartsy for me. The annoying thing is that I got a number to put into Flickr to download my photo but it doesn’t work. I wanted to post the pic in this blog, instead I’ll post my official Smile-number. I have to give it to the ol’ girl Ono, she packed the house and everyone had a fun time, as did I once I stopped trying to critique everything. Yoko gets a smiling star.

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Cut Piece