Two Gems

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What were you doing at age 10? This young painter is showing his works at Art Miami

When most of us watch a film about a famous artist, we marvel in wonder.

Andres Valencia watched a film about Jean-Michel Basquiat and told his father: I can do that. 

You can see for yourself how the work of the 10-year-old painter from San Diego turned out at the Chase Contemporary booth at Art Miami (hint: it’s pretty remarkable). The collection, on display at the show which runs through Sunday, already has an offer from a New York-based collector, according to Nick Korniloff, the fair’s director.

“We work with young artists all the time, but this one is special,” Korniloff said, adding that the exhibit is important to him for a personal reason: Part of the proceeds from sales will benefit the Perry J. Cohen Foundation, named for his son Perry, who was lost at sea at age 14 in 2015.

Andres, who is inspired by Cubism but still likes to play with his G.I. Joe, is self-taught, said his dad Guadalupe Valencia, an attorney (mom Elsa is a jewelry designer — perhaps she is the genetic wellspring of all this talent). Andres painted his first painting at age 4 and began to work on small canvases. Last year, when the pandemic rolled around and the lockdown loomed, his dad brought home large canvases with trepidation, unsure how Andres would react to the bigger scale.

Turns out he did just fine. His second large painting is part of the collection at Art Miami.

“He even painted an 84-by-48-inch canvas,” said Guadalupe Valencia. ‘He uses a ladder.”

Scale isn’t a problem for the diminutive young artist, who got to meet street artist Shepard Fairey at Art Miami (their booths are next to each other) and counts George Condo and Picasso as his favorite painters (he’s a Modigliani fan, too). The hardest thing, he says, “is combining everything together to make the style match.”

The best thing? “You can express your feelings and stuff on canvas,” he said.null

Andres will paint live at noon on Saturday at Art Miami, which is a good example of what the fair strives to provide, Korniloff said.

“It shows you what we do around the fair all the time,” he said. “We always have something for people to look at and say, ‘That’s interesting. That’s different.’ ”

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