MINI V: Meet Andres Valencia, The Preteen Prodigy Changing The Art Game

MINI V: Meet Andres Valencia, The Preteen Prodigy Changing The Art Game

MINI V: Meet Andres Valencia, The Preteen Prodigy Changing The Art Game

When it comes to his artwork, this 12-year-old kid is not kidding around.

When it comes to his artwork, this 12-year-old kid is not kidding around.

Photography: Tyrell Hampton

Styling: Michael Vasquez

Text: Ava Manson

If you ask Andres Valencia who in history he’d most like to have dinner with, he’ll say contemporary artist George Condo, the New York-based painter known for coining “Artificial Realism” in the early 1980s. Perhaps an unusual answer from a typical 11-year-old, but certainly not from this one. By the time Valencia was eight, his parents were noticing something extraordinary. Spending hours each day in their San Diego dining room, he’d sketch replicas of famous paintings that, over time, began to look less like elementary doodles and more like the untapped potential of a prodigy.

Sweatshirt ERL KIDS / Jeans talent’s own

First, it was $20 watercolors sold to friends and family. Then $20 became $100, and $100 became $5,000. As Valencia’s prices increased with the technical development of his surrealist pieces, so did attention from an inquisitive art scene. Last year, the child painter became the youngest to show work at Art Miami without so much as an art teacher, selling the entirety of his 17-painting collection in only three days. Come June, his solo exhibition in SoHo sold another 35.

Sweatshirt ERL KIDS / Jeans talent’s own

Valencia’s most expensive piece—the appropriately titled cubic painting Ms. Cube—sold for $160,000 at a Hong Kong auction. However, he’s a lot more interested in making change than making money. Of what Valencia has earned in sales, the family has donated over $300,000 to multiple charities. Lately, the young artist focuses on pieces like Invasion of Ukraine, for example, his recent work with a striking message in support of the war-torn country. “The painting shows a Russian soldier,” he explains. “He’s invading a Ukrainian village, and the Ukrainians are trying to fight him. It shows that Ukraine is not gonna give up...the art tells a story.”

Credits: MAKEUP HOLLY SILIUS / HAIR LAUREN PALMER SMITH / PHOTO ASSISTANT KHALILAH PIANTA / PRODUCTION PHOTOBOMB

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