November 7, 2014

"Prodigies have an intense drive to draw. They want to draw the minute they get up and the minute they get home from school."

"Said [Dr. Jennifer E. Drake, an assistant professor of psychology at Brooklyn College of the City University of New York.] 'They don’t care about showing their art.' One seven-year-old drew 'complicated transformers' in a highly realistic manner on a white board, and then simply erased it and started all over again, propelled by some internal drive. Drake’s recent research also found that the ability to draw hyper-realistically— created by children she calls precocious realists—is neither a function of IQ, age, gender, or training. As she describes it, precocious realists have the ability to immediately zone in on the details, as opposed to first sketching in the overall shapes. Drake sees a clear division between someone who is gifted and someone who is a prodigy. It turns out, unlike math, music, and chess prodigies, child art prodigies are the hardest to find, according to Dr. Joanne Ruthsatz, professor of psychology at Ohio State University and author of the forthcoming book, 'The Prodigy’s Cousin: One Psychologist’s Amazing Story of the Link Between Autism and Genius.' She tracks more than 30 prodigies, but has only five art prodigies in her group. While she can’t disclose who’s in the cohort, she can say Aelita is not—although she’s highly interested in meeting her."

From "What Makes a Child an Art Prodigy?/The paintings of seven-year-old Aelita Andre have sold for tens of thousands of dollars, raising the question of what separates true, precocious genius from mere youthful creativity with hype."

31 comments:

Heartless Aztec said...
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David said...

Sure. She's the next Picasso. No pressure, kid.

David said...

And surfed . . . the Luftwaffe? How about some nice P-51's and B-29's?

Heartless Aztec said...

That describes me. In elementary school I was drawing The USS Constitution with all it's rigging in the correct place, arcane aircraft of the Luftwaffe down to correct placement of rivets, detailed drawings of Big Ben clock tower. Who knew I was a prodigy? And I'm finding out now that I'm in my 60's? The museums that hang my work need to be notified...

Heartless Aztec said...
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John Lynch said...

If it keeps you from being thrown off a bridge.

Some autisms are more equal than others.

Heartless Aztec said...

@David - I had a good business in the 1970's and 80's recreating black and white pictures in full color for veterans of WWII - before computers and photoshop. But that business has been dying off - no pun intended. I've even did a Bf-109 for a German Luftwaffe pilot who had emigrated to America after the war. I've never done a B-29 - but several B-25's, B-17's and B-24's. Lot's of WWII naval ships too. I specialize in the Federal Sailing Navy - USS Constitution, USS Essex, etc.

Skyler said...

Yeah, when I saw the photo of the girl slopping paint around, I knew right away that this girl is neither an artist, nor a prodigy.

Jackson Pollack be damned. Slopping paint is not art. It is at best a form of decoration.

John Lynch said...

Oh... it's Pollack.

Ok...

rehajm said...
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Heartless Aztec said...

Here's an unfinished example - The USS Ohio Ship of the Line 1836

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=3230043686438&set=a.2386847887070.68611.1727006621&type=3&theater

rehajm said...
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rehajm said...

It turns out, unlike math, music, and chess prodigies, child art prodigies are the hardest to find

Maybe you're not looking in the right place? Froth of heated art markets are the best hunting grounds.

...raising the question of what separates true, precocious genius from mere youthful creativity with hype.

One day you cease to be a prodigy. Check back then?

Heartless Aztec said...

@Althouse - Even did a USS Wisconsin BB-9 1898 for a client in Madison several decades ago if I remember correctly. I'm sure I have a small print of it. Somewhere anyways. For all the incipient artistic detail of those prodigy years, my filing skills for clients and work is and has been a sad shambles.

Fernandinande said...

It turns out, unlike math, music, and chess prodigies, child art prodigies are the hardest to find,

That depends completely on how they define "prodigy":
Art prodigy = top .01 %
Others = top .1%.

Then art prodigies are 10 times rarer than others.

The paintings of seven-year-old Aelita Andre have sold for tens of thousands of dollars,

Google image-search her name and you'll see that fools and their money are soon parted.

SteveBrooklineMA said...

Now and then a friend and I talk about an artistic kid who was with us in kindergarten 45 years ago. He was amazing. I still remember a drawing he made around Easter time. His bunny looked like an actual bunny.

So I think art prodigies are out there. If you are going to write about them, I think it would be better to find someone who would impress most readers.

John Lynch said...

Watch this youtube and make up your own mind.

lemondog said...

What is her depth of technical skill to draw vs slopping around paint.

Her real gift may be in marketing and finance.

She has a Wiki. Both her parents are artists.

re: video, how much coaching by her parents.

Oh, you're SOOOOOO suspicious!

John Lynch said...

lemondog-

Oh, her parents are artists?

I'm shocked!

Prodigies don't come out of a vacuum.

I wish Palladian was still around. Any other artists who can tell if these paintings have value?

rehajm said...

The Prodigy’s Cousin: One Psychologist’s Amazing Story of the Link Between Autism and Genius.

Temple Grandin spoke on this at TED:
Autism is a very big continuum that goes from very severe -- the child remains non-verbal -- all the way up to brilliant scientists and engineers.
And I actually feel at home here,
because there's a lot of autism genetics here.

Heartless Aztec said...

@John Lynch - I did. No one in my family on either side was artistic with pencil, pen or paint. Yet I was rendering correct and fully rigged USS Constitutions and other ships in correct and historical detail from 4th grade on. My parents, in the way of that WWII generation were, dismissive of my art work, certainly not much interested lest it get in the way of cocktail hour and cigarettes with their friends. While I seem to fit the criteria from the article, who knows at this late date. And who would care except me. Hold on, Let me run it past my significant other. Nope - she doesn't care either.

John Lynch said...

Well, surfed, you didn't have parents to hype your work.

Does it matter now?

John Lynch said...

And do you sell prints?

Skyler said...

John Lynch queried: "Any other artists who can tell if these paintings have value?"

You don't need to be an artist to answer that one.

Rusty said...

I wish Palladian was still around. Any other artists who can tell if these paintings have value?

Do they have value to you? That is the only thing that counts.

BTW I thought they were describing my daughter.

Robert Cook said...

Based on the painting she made in the video, her work is not the work of a prodigy.

Heartless Aztec said...
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Heartless Aztec said...
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Heartless Aztec said...

@John Lynch - Not really. I'm an artist not a merchant. Never cared day one about money for them but will give them away to anyone who asks. My sig other, a business woman, is appalled. She has set up a web site to sell tee shirts, hoodies etc., with either a ship named after your city - typically WWII and before cruisers - and WWII and before battleships named after your state. It's all a bit beyond this surfer dude guitar playing military artist. However...while it's not yet complete, you can go to Café Press and look up my companies name - Southern Gothic Artworks - and nose around. I think it's terribly over priced. AND NOT COMPLETE - so please don't buy anything. Promise. If you want a print of something I already have shoot me an email at surfed256@hotmail.com and we'll talk. It'll probably be free. Originals are minimum wage times number of hours IF I do it. And I don't usually do it for money. I'm not a merchant. Surf's up dude.

A to the C said...

John Lynch -- Artist here, took a look to see if I could answer your question. I guess it depends on what you mean by value. In the strictest sense, based on the cost of the material & time it probably took to make of her paintings, they're not worth much. But then, art is rarely valued in a strictly material sense like that. In another sense, her paintings have some value because, I think, it's a very worthwhile effort to teach kids that it is fun to be creative and how cool it is to use their minds to direct their hands in making things rather than sitting on their ass playing video games or some such. I definitely plan on bringing my own nine month old son into my studio and gets a little better at holding a paintbrush.
To address what you probably mean by "value," I guess it comes down to the idea that things like like this are worth as much as some fuckin idiot is willing to give you for it. I'm skeptical about them selling for tens of thousands, though I'm frequently surprised at some of the stupid things I read about rich people burning their money on. Personally, I think there are some nice color choices in some of the paintings and think it's kinda neat that a 7 year old makes sime pretty "Pollack-esque" abstracts,but beyond that I'm not very impressed. of course, all I did was a quick scan of her website, maybe if I saw the paintings in person it would melt my soul.

Beloved Commenter AReasonableMan said...

My eight year old daughter has an intense desire to discuss what's new in the latest Economist magazine. Does this make her a prodigy?