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Meet 'Little Picasso,' Celebs' Favorite New Artist

Paintings of Andres Valencia, 10, sold for 6 figures to the likes of Diane Keaton, Brooke Shields
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 27, 2022 10:40 AM CDT
Celebrities Pay a Fortune for His Paintings. He's 10
A video shows artist Andres Valencia, 10, creating his contemporary art displayed at the Chase Contemporary booth at Art Miami during Miami Art Week, Dec. 2, 2021, in Miami.   (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

At age 10, Andres Valencia has already sold paintings in the six figures, and to celebrities including Sofia Vergara, Channing Tatum, Diane Keaton, and Brooke Shields. It's a level of success seldom achieved by the most experienced of the art world, let alone a fifth grader, per My Modern Met. But Andres isn't any fifth-grader. "It's tough to recall an artist who has generated as much early-career recognition," reports the New York Times. Though he's inspired by Pokemon and Click N' Play Army action figures, Andres is also stimulated by the work of Picasso, Jean-Michel Basquiat, and George Condo. Nicknamed "Little Picasso," he began dedicating hours to replicating a painting by graffiti artist Retna at the age of 4.

Bernie Chase, owner of the Chase Contemporary Gallery in New York, witnessed Andres' talents around the age of 6 or 7 while visiting him—and his art collector parents, jewelry designer mother Elsa Valencia and lawyer and athlete manager Lupe Valencia—in San Diego. Chase started buying paintings for $100 and didn't stop when Andres, who honed his craft on huge canvases during the pandemic, raised his price to $5,000. "I took him out to my car to write a check and Elsa comes running out after me screaming, 'What do you think you're doing?'" Chase tells the Times, adding he eventually convinced Andres' parents to let him "share his talents with the world."

The fifth grader "combines vivid colors and clever fragmented facial compositions to create large-scale, dramatic, vibrant figurative paintings that convey complex narratives," per Forbes. At his first showing late last year at the Art Miami fair, Andres sold every one of his pieces, with Vergara nabbing one, per WABC. Then all 35 of his works sold out during a solo exhibition at the Chase Contemporary Gallery in June, with prices ranging from $50,000 to $125,000. Another of his paintings sold for $230,000 at a charity gala in Italy. Already he's learned "how to give back," his mother tells the Times, noting proceeds from many of his sales benefit charity. For Andres, the reward is simple: "I'm glad I can make people happy with my art," he says. (More art stories.)

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