Today I would like to tell you about an artist that has been called an “artistic genius” and “child prodigy.” She has sold millions of dollars’ worth of paintings, and she is just 15 years old.
Autumn de Forest (born 2001) lives in Las Vegas, Nevada with her parents. When she was 5 years old she began experimenting with a paintbrush, and her parents instantly recognized their child’s artistic ability. They encouraged her to continue and she experimented with brushes, acrylic paint and canvas, and her parents transformed a room in their home into an art studio. Autumn de Forest already wanted to display her art when she was just 7 years old. Her parents rented a space at the Boulder City Fine Arts Festival in 2009 where Autumn received an honorable mention. Just one month later she won best in show at “Art in the Park” in Boulder City, and that night she slept still wearing her name badge that said “Exhibitor”. After that she got represented by Ben Valenty, her child-artist agent.
Her career grew by leaps and bounds. When she was 8 years old (in 2010) she began to sell paintings at auction with a combined worth of $100,000, and one of her paintings was even purchased for $25,000. After that success, she got the attention of the media and the Discovery Health Channel, NBC, ABC, CBS, FOX, Disney and Time Inc. wrote articles about her and invited her into their shows (Today Show, The Wendy Williams Show, Time for Kids).
Autumn de Forest likes to paint with acrylic paint, oil paint and encaustic on canvas. The themes that she likes to explore are dreams, things that she notices in passing and even commercials on TV. Great artists like Andy Warhol, Georgia O’Keeffe, Pablo Picasso, Jackson Pollock, Jasper Johns and Henri Matisse are her inspiration. A Picassoesque painting showing a shapely figurine hangs inside her home’s front door with the signature “Autumn 2008” – she was six years old. At the back door is another striking piece – a wax pastiche of American Gothic, Grant Wood’s masterpiece depicting a couple in front of a house. But instead of a pitchfork, the man is holding a huge crayon. The painting is called American Graphic and Autumn painted it when she was nine years old. Her pop pieces tend to get the highest prices at auction but she is keen to exploring different styles and themes.
Considering that she is a teenager, school is an important matter to her parents. They were worried about committing her to schools in Las Vegas and thought that home schooling would be better for her, bouncing from exhibitions to masterclasses and television shows. But Autumn said: “I think it is important to be able to expose to real-life situations. Home schooling is great for travelling but you are not experiencing what other kids experiencing.” Her parents have her college fund already together and Autumn has Yale in her thoughts.
Her father Doug wants to develop Autumn as a brand. She has done some deals with American Girl, Gap and Nordstrom, the upmarket department store which already sells Converse high-top trainers bearing a design by Autumn. And he also wants to set up an online portal for children to exhibit and sell their art.
Humanitarian and charitable causes are very important to her. She has lectured through the country for charities, organizations, global corporations and universities. Autumn has been invited to speak at Harvard University on the importance of the arts in education. She has also donated to public art installations, The Red Cross and Habitat for Humanity.
When I read about her for the first time I was truly impressed and started to research her right away. The benefit of having such great parents is shown by how far she has been able to take her career in such a young age. The fact that she is so young has to be highlighted and brings to mind the question of how she will cope with the attention and, ultimately, what will she do with her gift in the future? I can only hope for the best, as from where we are standing, the future of Autumn de Forest looks very bright indeed. Besides her great works of art, her engagement for charitable causes is truly exemplary. So let me know what you think about this artist and enjoy her paintings!