Young at art

Young at art

When Australian abstract artist Aelita Andre was just four years old, she held her first solo exhibition, making her the youngest-ever professional painter. Three years later, our junior reporters caught up with her at her latest exhibition at Marco Polo Hongkong

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Aelita, with parents Nikka Kalashnikova and Michael Andre, met our junior reporters (from left) Sharon Cheng, Vinisha Asarpota, Helen Wong, Leanne Cheng and Henry Lui
Aelita, with parents Nikka Kalashnikova and Michael Andre, met our junior reporters (from left) Sharon Cheng, Vinisha Asarpota, Helen Wong, Leanne Cheng and Henry Lui
Photo: Edward Wong/SCMP

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Aelita's art is inspired by science, space, unicorns and dinosaurs.
Aelita's art is inspired by science, space, unicorns and dinosaurs.
Photo: Edward Wong/SCMP

Endless imagination

Aelita Andre is the epitome of original.

"[Aelita] hates when people tell her: do it this way," says her mother Nikka Kalashnikova. "Aelita would say: no, I want to be original, I don't want to copy anybody."

Aelita knows about Jackson Pollock, a well-known abstract expressionist artist, but she wants to paint in her own way.

Pollock's art was influential during the abstract expressionist movement after the second world war.

While his work was influenced by alcohol and depression, Aelita's work is inspired by the small, beautiful things in life we often take for granted.

This young artist has an endless imagination. Her belief in mythical creatures such as unicorns and dragons leads to the use of bright colours in her art.

"Just because you can't see something it doesn't mean it's not there," she says.

Sharon Cheng


Dinosaurs and unicorns

I can't do art. When I had compulsory art lessons in primary school, I fumbled around with the pencil drawing faces nobody would admire.

Most of us are terrible at art. But Aelita, who is only seven, has already been named the "youngest-ever professional artist" by critics.

Born to Michael Andre, a videographer, and Nikka Kalashnikova, a photographer, she soon developed an interest in abstract art. At the age of four, she held her first solo exhibition, which comprised 24 of her paintings. The most expensive piece sold for US$10,000.

After watching a series of science-related documentaries, she developed a fascination with science, which still serves as an inspiration for her art.

Aelita told Young Post that she feels like she's travelling in "a portal of time, to the time of dinosaurs in space" , as she crates her pieces. This is reflected in her art, where several of her pieces feature clay figures of dinosaurs, butterflies, spiders and even real microscopes.

Aelita, who believes in the existence of unicorns, paints anything that is in her mind. Her youth is perhaps the reason she can create art only a few adults could replicate. She's free of the reality of adult life.

Henry Lui


Mystery and magic

"I am not Aelita," says Aelita. "I am a unicorn!"

It may be impossible to look into the mind of this prodigy, but we can have a peek at how she thinks through her paintings.

Using her hair as a tool and a microscope to add details, Aelita creates her art in an unusual way, to say the least.

Because of her massive potential, many artists have offered Aelita free lessons. "We've had approaches from so many artists, really famous artists, saying, 'We'll teach [Aelita] for free, we think she is absolutely amazingly talented and we can teach her to draw realistically'," said Kalashnikova.

"But to draw realistically, you have to know the body. You have to know what the body is made from. It's a different field."

Aelita's parents are worried that giving her art lessons may spoil her creativity. "It's all about mystery, it's all about magic. It's important that for a girl like Aelita, whose imagination has no bounds, that it is not suppressed," says her mother. "Why suppress her when she can express everything she wants, completely freely?

"She started this way with abstract art and it's going well. With lessons, she will have to follow rules, learn how to draw normally. But why obey someone else's rules when you can create your own?"

Leanne Cheng and Helen Wong

This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
Young at art

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