“Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.” – Edgar Degas
Aelita Andre is currently only three but she has been making waves as an abstract painter even before she was barely two. She can’t even tie her own shoelaces yet, but her paintings have been featured in famous art galleries around the world.
Aelita Andre, of Russian heritage, is the youngest professional painter in the world and currently living in Melbourne, Australia with her mother Nikka Kalashnikova and her father Michael Andre. She is a member of NAVA (National Association for the Visual Arts).
In October 2009, Mark Jamieson, the director of Brunswick Street Gallery in Melbourne’s Fitzroy, was asked by a Russian-born photographer whose work he represented to consider the work of another artist.
Nikka Kalashnikova showed Jamieson some abstract paintings by an artist named Aelita Andre. Jamieson liked what he saw and agreed to include it in a group show, alongside work by Kalashnikova and Julia Palenov at his gallery later this month.
Jamieson then started to promote the show, printing glossy invitations and placing ads in the magazines Art Almanac and Art Collector, featuring the abstract work. Only then did he discover a crucial fact about the new artist: Aelita Andre is Kalashnikova’s daughter, and then she was just 22 months old.
“I was shocked and, to be honest, a little embarrassed,” Jamieson said, but he decided to proceed with the exhibition.
Jamieson said his gallery had a policy of supporting emerging artists, although that policy did not usually extend to artists quite so young. He said it was difficult to judge abstract art.
Kalashnikova said she and her husband, Michael Andre, did not set out to mislead the gallery. They simply wanted Aelita’s work to be judged on its merits. “I wanted to get it out there and get a separate opinion,” she said. “Of course, every mother is proud of their child. I didn’t tell him Jamieson because I had all these feelings going through my head – fear, embarrassment.”
Aelita had her first solo show in 2009 featuring all the works she painted as a one year old (she had just turned two when her exhibition opened) at the prestigious Brunswick Street Gallery in Melbourne, Australia. The show attracted worldwide media attention with 60 Minutes calling her “The Next Big Thing” and the Chinese press calling her paintings “The work of a Master”. BBC London rang to congratulate Aelita on her second birthday and for her immense achievement. The Australian media dubbed her “Pee Wee Picasso”. She has been compared to Jackson Pollock by the press and her visionary style to Salvador Dali and Wassily Kandinsky.
While still a two year old Aelita was invited to Hong Kong where she staged her solo exhibition and painted live in front of over 60 Chinese and international media crews for over one hour (she had been scheduled to paint for only five minutes).
Aelita’s paintings are “joyful, happy spontaneous paintings that could be proudly hung anywhere” and her art is an antidote to the oppressive qualities of expectation in western painting. They radiate a genuine vitality, energy and beauty. Her works are so vivid and expressive; so full of energy and depicting amazing subjects.
Though still a child, Aelita is a fully mature artist whose works are strikingly liberated, bold and vivacious. She paints with an ‘innocent eye’. Her paintings are a window into the primal and subconscious creative process – a field pioneered by Freud and Jung. Salvador Dali and Pablo Picasso elevated spontaneous and accidental painting as a supreme creative process allowing us to peer into the workings of the mind.
Her first painting on canvas, Russian ”Mir” Space Station in Cherry Blossom, was bought recently by a Hong Kong collector for $HK200,000 (A$28,000). That’s a pretty good effort for a painter who can’t yet tie her shoelaces.
To date Aelita has painted over 200 paintings, many of them large canvases. And with thirty-two of her paintings sold to collectors around the world for prices that go as high as A$28,000, Aelita has earned a small fortune.
Aelita is obsessed with painting, running around demanding “painting, painting!” and “kist, kist!” (the Russian word for ‘paintbrush’). Now a worldwide sensation Aelita’s rise began from simultaneous front page articles in both leading Australian newspapers: The “Sydney Morning Herald” and “The Age”. She was featured by every major television network and her paintings continue to ignite heated debates around the world about art.
But Aelita’s parents ignored malicious comments and encouraged their child to pursued her passion. According to her father, all they do is encourage her every gesture, whether it be dumping an entire can of paint on the canvas, or putting it on her clothes. Everything she does is original, and that’s why her art is so highly appreciated. As for the accusations of the parents making money off of Aelita’s artworks, they deny anything of the sort and claim all the money goes into a trust fund, for the artist to use when she’s all grown up.
“The job of the artist is always to deepen the mystery.” – Francis Bacon
“Art is whatever you can get away with.” – Andy Warhol