Aelita Andre has been painting since she was just two and her work has been exhibited in Australia and America. Her cheapest paintings are now selling for more than £3,000 pounds each, the money from which is being put in a trust fund.
Her mother, Russian-born Nikka Kalashnikova, says she quickly realised her daughter’s technique set her apart from other playschool painters. “Her composition, her use of colour, her concentration span,” she told Sky News.
“Sometimes even as a little kid she was painting for about one hour, one-and-a-half hours, she would walk off, then come back again, it is just her concentration. “Usually kids paint for two or three minutes and they have had enough, they run off, but not Aelita.”
Almost the whole of the downstairs of the suburban Melbourne house is taken up with the little girl’s studio. Paint pots, brushes, spray cans, glitter and craft materials are everywhere.
Aelita’s huge canvases are covered in bright swirls and splashes of paint and often have items stuck on them – twigs, children’s toys and feathers.
What little space is left is taken up with completed works, stacked along the walls by her parents, ready to be shipped to New York for her next major exhibition in June.
The website of the gallery in New York states: “These paintings are both contemplative and powerful, providing a window into the emancipated creative subconscious mind of a child.”
Critics say her parents must be influencing her art but Nikka Kalashnikova strongly denies that.
“She is her own person, and if she’s was not enjoying it… have a look how much she produces. She absolutely loves it. Talk to any parents – if you are able to push your child into doing anything, well good luck.”
Aelita’s father recently filmed his daughter painting a canvas from beginning to end in a bid to prove she is not influenced by any adult.
Melbourne art critic Robert Nelson says the paintings have some merit and the people buying them could be collectors speculating on her future potential.
“They have a value beyond aesthetic purity and it is really the project this family has set up for itself. I guess you could imagine someone wanting to be part of that, wanting to support that with money,” he said.
Whether clever hype or raw talent, there is no doubting that Aelita Andre is making more money at just five years old than many professional artists do in a life time.
Worth thinking about next time you see an expensive art work and say “my kid could have painted that”.