This is Marla painting, she is a gorgeous child and is great fun to watch lay paint down, you can see, left to her own devices she paints like a four year old would. Tactile and engaging with the paint as a material like clay she just enjoys the play.
A documentary crew was allowed to follow the family for a year, which proved controversial with the father caught in a series of fibs. At first saying her had no knowledge of art, while on the dvd extras boasting of being an artist of some merit as a young man. He was also spotted by the camera coaching his daughter and grinning when an art critic said the paintings showed masterful talent.
Just who was painting these abstracts?.
. Asked to paint on camera by the producer, Mark sets up a canvas for his daughter, who wastes no time making a giant mud pie on it. Then saying to him ' you finish this daddy' and ' you help like before'.
Marla herself seems very happy and one can tell the parents love her very much and she seems to enjoy making art.But with the paintings selling for thousands of dollars, is dishonesty important?.
Do the buyers purchase less so the art, but the story, and if they get something out of the work does it matter that the father painted, or touched up his daughters work?.
Her work still sells, though less than before, after the expose.
On a side note since she is 13 now (d.o.b 2000) i wonder if she will be as interested in being in front of the cameras, according to her website 'her' paintings still sell to the gullible, or not, depending on your view.
I thought it might be interesting to juxtopose four paintings associated with Marla, the first two were made by her during the filming of the documentary when she was 3 years old and the other two were made 'off camera'.
And now the two attributed to her, but made off camera.
Notes on the child prodigy.
Critic Clement Greenberg had this to say on the issue of child prodigies in the area of painting/drawing and sculpture-what we refer to as 'art', though cultural output is art, so technically musicians, writers themselves are artists. But...onward to the quote.
"In visual arts, prodigies don't count. In music and literature, yes, but not in art''.
Greenberg meant that the work prodigies display in painting and drawing, while outstanding
considering their age, lose their status as the creator gets older. Whereas writing produced at a young age by prodigies in literature(Rimbaud) and music (Mozart) hold their own, when placed alongside work produced by mature recognised masters. Interesting to note Mozart and Baudelaire died young .
Link to the full poem written when Rimbaud was 17.
The Drunken Boat is a very famous symbolist poem and established Rimbaud as a boy genius.
Below i will list two 'prodigies' in painting, whose work has brought them fame and money at a very young age. While looking at their work, ask if the art would be astonishing, rather than just 'talented' if it were produced by a twenty five year old. Think of it in comparison to adults artists (living or dead) who we consider to have achieved the pinnacle in their fields, how does the prodigy art stand in comparison.
I'm not asking you to think how their work will improve in ten years, but how their work now, as a prodigy, stands in comparison.
First is Russian American girl Akiane, she has appeared on Oprah Winfrey and numerous other television shows, her works sell for thousand of dollars and she represents herself as a prodigy (or her parents do).
Next is English schoolboy Kieron Williamson, who specialises in watercolour. He is hailed and sold as a prodigy. He has appeared on many t.v shows and many newspaper articles as a prodigy.
Marla herself is sold as a prodigy, regardless of who painted her work, does it stand in comparison to recognised masters of abstract art?
If Marla were in her twenties, how would her work stand up?
(i shall keep adding to this post , since it seems to be popular, perhaps i can get an interview with her for this blog, would anyone be interested if i contacted her ?)
Please leave your comments, thoughts and opinions. This is my most popular post and its fantastic to see so many people have opinions on this topic. Thanks for viewing and commenting.