Most artists have to wait decades for their talents to be recognized. Some, like Dutch painter Van Gogh, only achieve fame after they die. But this is not the case for Andres Valencia. The 11-year-old San Diego, CA, resident has already made millions selling his contemporary paintings to art collectors. His fans include Hollywood actors Diane Keaton, Channing Tatum, and Sofia Vergara.
Andres' parents are art lovers and collectors. They began exposing Andres to contemporary and modern paintings when he was just a toddler. The young boy soon began copying famous artworks with great precision.
His father, Lupe, says, "When he was 4 or 5, my wife and I would watch him paint and do sketches, and we were really surprised at what he would do."
By age six, the enterprising artist was selling his watercolor paintings to family and friends for $20 apiece. Over time, Andres began creating large-scale canvases with a mix of oil stick, and oil and acrylic paints. His masterpieces were all inspired by contemporary artists like Picasso.
Bernie Chase, a family friend and owner of an art gallery in New York City, recognized Andres' talent from the start. He bought the young boy's artwork every time he visited and even paid $5,000 for one. In December 2021, Chase convinced Nick Korniloff, the director of Art Miami, to debut the young artist's work at the annual art fair. Korniloff agreed, and the rest, as they say, is history. Andres' 17 Cubism-inspired paintings fetched an astounding $1.3 million, and he has never looked back.
In 2022, the young boy held his first solo exhibition at Chase's gallery. The 35 paintings displayed sold for between $50,000 and $125,000 each. The art prodigy's work also gained international fame. One artwork auctioned for $159,000 in Hong Kong, while another sold for $230,000 at a charity gala in Italy.
After hearing about Russia's attack on Ukraine, Andres created a poignant masterpiece entitled Invasion of Ukraine. The artwork, which depicts the dread and terror of war, was inspired by Picasso's famous 1937 anti-war painting, Guernica. Andres sold prints of the painting on his website and donated the proceeds to a nonprofit that provides humanitarian aid to Ukraine.
When not painting, Andres is a regular fifth-grader with math homework. "My son is an artist, but he is a kid first," his mother, Elsa, told The New York Times. "He is a child, not a celebrity."
Resources: mymodernnet.com, Robbreport.com, smithsonianmag.com, Forbes.com, Nytimes.com