I've noticed a few child art prodigies popping up on the internet lately. Marla Olmstead
has been mentioned before on buygazette, as the 4 year old art prodigy
, and for being featured on 60 Minutes
But there's also Akiane, the 11 year old internationally known child art prodigy. That's her pictured on the left, appearing on the Oprah Winfrey show! She also has a list of appearances in the media and articles published that would make a lot of 40 year old artists feel a little under exposed. Some of her radio and television appearances include The Oprah Winfrey Show, Good Morning America, World News Tonight with Peter Jennings, the Lou Dobbs Show/ CNN, Fox News, Fox Magazine, Late Late Show, KING TV/ CBS, Fox News Rising, Time Warner cable News, KREM NEWS/ CBS and plenty more.
She is an amazing talent for her age and will probably go on to become a much better artist, but I'm still tempted to fall back on a quote by art critic Clement Greenberg: "In visual arts, prodigies don't count. In music and literature, yes, but not in art."
I feel like I'm being really negative, but would her works attract this much attention if she was 25 years old? They're great paintings for an eleven year old, but they don't have any life experience in them, they're awkward like youth, and they're still growing. The attention comes from the novelty of the "child prodigy". It's news! But the fact that it's only news because of the novelty aspect shouldn't be forgotten.
I'm more impressed by the person behind her marketing. Many artists don't have the PR skills to get into their local newspaper, while an 11 year old has managed to appear on everything from the Oprah Show through to the Time magazine!. See her Website too. It is set up to sell. It first sell her story, then gives you the option to buy your own piece of history (probably at a very impressive price too.. I couldn't see the prices published though).
There's also a "child prodigy" writer by the name of Adora Svitak that has appeared quite a bit in the media. She says that "Reading and writing is my life" and claims to read 2 or 3 books a day.