5 Lessons Grown Up Artists Could Learn From a 3 Year Old

3 year old Child Prodigy

The amazing thing about a lot of these child prodigies is their prodigious marketing and business skills. I know they’re usually compared to Monet, Picasso or Pollock, but the artists they should really be compared to are Damien Hirst and Jeff Koons. The amount of publicity these child prodigies receive in one year is more than most working artists will receive in a lifetime.

So, I figured it might be a good idea to see what these little child prodigies are doing right and maybe even learn something from them. Here’s what we old artists could learn from these youngsters (and the PR savvy adults behind them). I’ll focus on the 3 year old autistic child prodigy Iris Grace Halmshaw but others like Marla Olmstead are just as good.

  1. Have a Good Story and Present it
    All these child prodigies have good stories behind them and media outlets everywhere lap it up. The journalist doesn’t have to think about how to make the article or television spot interesting as it’s already interesting enough. Unfortunately the only way most adult artists get lamestream media attention is to be shocking or offensive
  2. Exploit your Weakness or Weirdness
    You don’t hear the child prodigies running around complaining about how art galleries are denying them exhibitions because they’re underage or can’t speak, they’re using these aspects of themselves to get publicity! Stop whining about your perceived weaknesses and use them to your advantage.
  3. Reproduce yourself
    There are a lot more people out there willing to pay a relatively small amount for a print or reproduction than there are willing to part with a much larger sum for an original work. I’m subscribed to Damien Hirst’s Other Criteria newsletter and the most recent one had two prints by the artist. One was an edition of 50 priced at £12,500.00 and the other was an edition of 25×2 priced at £10,000 – £15,000 (the ten thousand pound edition of 25 had no glitter on it and the 15 thousand pound edition of 25 had glitter on it!). Obviously Hirst is in a league of his own, but there’s still money to be made in reproductions for the regular, less famous artist. Having different price points is a must.
  4. Have a Good Website
    Have a website with your own domain name and publish your best work on it. Make sure it’s clean, easy to navigate, tells your story, offers your art for sale, and is easy to understand. Make it easy for the media to contact you too! And telling the world how good you are by supporting this or that cause doesn’t seem to hurt either. People feel a lot less guilty spending a wad of cash on art if they know that some of it will go to a worthy cause.
  5. Tell People how Awesome you are!
    We work our butts off day in, day out, we should be allowed to show off a bit when our story gets picked up by the media or we win a prize or get a big commission. Don’t leave your media clippings in a shoebox, post them on your website and let the world know about them.

After looking at Iris Garce Halmshaw’s website, one of the lessons was going to be “Publish a video of yourself working topless” but it seemed offensive on a number of levels. Feel free to do it though! Myself, it just wouldn’t work. A video of me working away on a painting with my hairy man boobs bouncing up and down would scare collectors away.. unless of course that was their thing ;-)

About Dion

Australian artist and observer of things.. all kinds of things. I like a wide variety of art, from the weird and wonderful to the bold and beautiful.. and everything in between.


  1. Wow. Sweet scam.

  2. I’m 69 years old. I began art 3 yrs ago. Two Seattle artists say I have a unusual gift. I do art in all the mediums. I pay no attention to what color name is on the stick or in the tube. I especially like to do portraits from fotos. I would like to sell some pieces but I feel I’ve had too many birthdays to begin now. For me, that’s ok, I love art.
    Barry Webster



  1. [...] by the day. I recently mentioned the 3 year old artist prodigy Iris Grace Halmshaw and looked at what grown up artists could learn from the mini artists. Well here’s another artist prodigy, a 6 year old boy from India named [...]

  2. […] It’s an argument that has bothered me for years now as it keeps being recycled like there’s some validity to it. Life is tough, making a living from art is tough. If you suck at marketing or your art is weak, put a mirror in front of you because it’s not your gender holding you back. Learn from a 3 year old girl […]

  3. Indian Child Prodigy Shorya Mahanot | Shorya Mahanot says:

    […] by the day. I recently mentioned the 3 year old artist prodigy Iris Grace Halmshaw and looked at what grown up artists could learn from the mini artists. Well here’s another artist prodigy, a 6 year old boy from India named […]

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