rebelling against low expectations

Aelita Andre, Age 8: A Normal, Happy, Famous Young Painter


( — Aelita Andre has done things many of us can only dream of, all before the tender age of 10.

She has showcased her work in sold-out galleries in New York, London, Italy and Hong Kong, painted live in front of more than 20,000 people, has been featured in Forbes magazine and interviewed by Good Morning America, CBS, NBC, BBC and The Washington Post.

She was compared to Jackson Pollock by The New York Times, labelled “the Mozart of the visual arts” by a professor at the St. Petersburg Fine Art Academy and has even written a book.

The Melbourne-born daughter of Australian Michael Andre and Russian Nikka Kalashnikova is most comfortable with buckets of paint and a canvas.

But the pint-sized painting prodigy opened up to this week about life in the spotlight, where she gets her inspiration and what she sees in the splashes of colour that have afforded her a life of travel and fame and been an outlet for her freedom of expression.

And before you ask: she’s a normal, happy young girl who wouldn’t have it any other way.

“The fact that I grew up with so much attention and famousness is like, I feel really happy that,” she said.

“I’m famous for my amazing art and so happy to be known around the world and when I go into shops and things and they say, ‘Oh, I remember you, you’re that famous artist Aelita’ I feel so happy in that moment and I’m really glad about that. I feel special.”

She is special. Born in 2007, Aelita was the youngest person ever to have their own accomplishments listed on Wikipedia.

Her parents say she began to paint “professionally” aged nine months. Her first works, acrylic on canvas, were exhibited when she was 22 months old, at Melbourne’s Brunswick Street gallery, and seven of her 15 works — priced between $300 and $3000 according to The Guardian — sold before the show even started.

By age four, a single piece of her work had fetched $24,000.

From there it’s been exhibition after exhibition.

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Photo courtesy of NewsComAu.


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About the author

Brett Harris

is co-founder of and co-author of Do Hard Things, along with his twin brother, Alex. He is married to his best friend, Ana, who blogs at He is the founder of the Young Writers Workshop — an ongoing coaching program for serious writers.


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  • I’ve always wanted to be an artist. When I was little, I wanted to be a painter. I still love making crafts, but I grew out of wanting to be a painter. Now I want to be a writer. I still consider that a form of artist. I’m proud that this girl didn’t grow out of the “artist phase” and doesn’t want to.

  • That’s amazing! I can’t believe she’s so good! I just hope that she has time to play instead of always having to paint. (Of course, if that’s what she likes…)

  • So. Much. Respect. This girl is amazing. I see painting as a form of worship and display of God’s beauty, goodness and truth. When I read this I am reminded of how unique we all are in our talents that He has given us!

    • Yes! I guess any creative pursuit should be a form of worship since we are reflecting the fact that we are made in God’s image. Thankfully we don’t all have to be child prodigies though, but this was a great reminder!

  • I have a question. Does anyone know where to submit discussion questions and stories/articles? I am pretty new to the rebelution site and would like to submit some things. Thank you all!

    • Very top of the page to the far right. “Submit Content.” 🙂 It took me awhile to find it at first too!

  • Nice colour combination, but if you ask me it kinda
    looks like random paint splats to me.

    Am I missing something about modern art?

    • THANK YOU!!!!! I was trying to think of a nice way to say that…..

      Glad to know I’m not the only one. =)

      • I really did LOL, when I saw your comment @josh_whatshislastname:disqus.

        I was beginning to think I was the only one. =)

    • This is not an uncommon response to modern art. I have had the same thought.

      At the same time, studies shows that the average adult can tell the difference between modern art created by a professional artist and random paint splats created by children or chimpanzees more frequently than could be accomplished by random guessing.

      There does seem to be something that sets professional modern artists apart — even to an average, non-artistic observer.

      And this makes sense because if ANYONE could throw paint on a canvas and succeed as a modern artist (and sell their paintings for $30K+) then EVERYONE would. It would qualify as the ultimate get-rich-quick scheme.

      So, even if the criteria for great modern art is itself random… there is some criteria which prevents just anyone from succeeding at the art form.

      I don’t remember if this particular article mentions this… But Aelita’s paintings are often recognized as exceptional by modern art experts without them knowing the age of the artist. So it’s not as if she’s just good for a kid.

      All that to say, many people consider modern art silly. But it makes sense to conclude that there’s more to it than meets the uneducated eye.

      • Advertizement hype of her art may help to make her art more popular.
        If you present something as amazing, someone may believe it.

        For modern art, I would have to admit it does look better than most.

        As for my thoughts, I have a far greater respect for realistic art or
        art for cuteness sake, like Disney style and cartoon look.

        But, I guess, everyone has unique tastes! 😀

        Thanks Brett for the perspective. 😉

    • When I first started studying art, I felt a lot like you do, but now I’ve come to appreciate the beauty and emotion in non-representational work. This young artist has been compared to Kandinsky, who pioneered the idea that art is like music. Art doesn’t need to have literal aspects to be beautiful, just as music without words can be beautiful. There can be harmony in abstract art, different emotions, rhythms or tempos… just as people talk about the “colors” and “textures” of music. Does that make sense? This girl skillfully uses these various design elements in her work, which is why so many art enthusiasts are excited about her.

      (Also, as a side note, I love that she uses actual violins in her work, because it reinforces the idea that art and music are linked.)

      • Some people think that peach and olive green go well together…

        It is just “not my cup of tea.” ;D

  • Okay, this is pretty amazing. As an art student myself, I can appreciate the freedom and joy to be found in creating “magic universes” like she says. 🙂 She just looks so happy to be doing something she loves and excelling at it.

  • I can’t draw a stick figure. But I think I could do modern art, it looks exactly the same every time to me. Actually, it looks like someone accidentally dropped a paint bucket on a canvas! Am I right?

  • I remember painting when i was her age. And i could not paint vary well i stick to drawing. But she is going to be an awesome teenager since she started doing hard things at her age.

  • I can’t believe it! When I look at her paintings I see things that famous painters could make. I’m exited to see some of the works of art she does when she gets older.

rebelling against low expectations

The Rebelution is a teenage rebellion against low expectations—a worldwide campaign to reject apathy, embrace responsibility, and do hard things. Learn More →