Thursday, January 13, 2005

A child could do it!

Oh, to be four again. To dip my stiff brush in a baby food jar of tempera paint and splash it onto my rippled Manila sheet without a care in the world. Where were the dealers and critics when I was making my wild masterpieces? I could've used the cash.

Little four year old Marla Olmstead is making a splash of her own in the commercial artworld at up to fifteen thousand a shot. The New York blond is a hot commodity as the youngest abstract expressionist on the block.

Her story reminds me of the kind of genius attributed to art-making animals such as the prolific Surapa, the painting elephant at the Buffalo Zoo. Surapa's paintings fetch $25 at the zoo gift shop, certificate of authenticity included. (Other elephants have earned significantly more)

Surapa's handlers ensure that her paintings are colourful by dipping her brushes in selected colours. This ensures the canvas has the right amount of saleability.

Marla also has a handler, her "assistant" father and amateur painter, Mark.
"I'm her assistant, I hand her the brushes. She doesn't appreciate that most artists have to wait longer to have an assistant," he joked...Despite prompting from her father, a giggling Marla refused to speak about her work to BBC News Online.

My question is, if these paintings were done by Mark Olmstead, would they be rushing into collections? Am I merely jealous of an elephant and a four year old? Can I make that kind of cash? What's my hook?

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