Many artists struggle to make ends meet, often waiting decades for their talent to be recognized. This is not the case for 11-year-old Andres Valencia. Not only have his paintings earned him admiration in the art world, they also carry hefty price tags. Recently, this prodigious pre-teen made a whopping $1.3 million selling his work at Art Miami in Florida, averaging around $150,000 per painting.
Andres’ bold, colorful canvases have earned him the nickname “Little Picasso” - and the best way to describe his style, he told Today, is “a hint of cubism, surrealism a little, and some Modigliani.”
His art journey began in the Valencia family dining room, where, at 4 years old, Andres sat for hours looking at a painting and sketching a copy of it. “I would bring paper and sit there and always try to copy it, but it took years to get it right,” he told The New York Times.
As his natural talent developed (“I’ve never taken any art lessons,” he told Today) he began selling $20 watercolor paintings to family friends. Soon, one of those friends, Bernie Chase, owner of Chase Contemporary, had acquired a wealth of Andres’ art, paying as much as $5,000 for one piece. It was Chase’s idea to introduce Andres to the larger art world, including his debut at Art Miami.
Andres has donated a significant portion of the money he’s made to nonprofits like the children’s charity Box of Hope and AIDS research foundation amFAR.
“I’ve been painting a lot of my life,” he told Forbes at the Miami show. “I like that people enjoy my art and it’s fun going to different art shows.”
And his mom makes sure that fun is always part of the picture for Andres, telling The New York Times: “My son is an artist, but he is a kid first.”