When he’s not playing with dinosaurs or reading a book, four-year-old Advait Kolarkar uses paint, canvases and his imagination to create internationally recognized abstract artwork.
The preschooler is already selling his paintings for thousands of dollars and has had his art featured in three exhibits.
His mother Shruti said in an interview Sunday that Advait first picked up the paintbrush when he was less than a year old and displayed a prowess for painting right away.
“He was creating something, not just playing with colours,” she said. “He had a sense of composition and colour.”
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Kolarkar said her son began creating “amazing compositions” by the age of one, and attracted the attention of a gallery curator in his hometown of Pune, India.
After observing the toddler for six months, the Art2Day gallery hosted Advait’s first exhibition when the boy was just two years old, shortly before the family migrated to Saint John, N.B., in 2016.
Earlier this month Advait shared his paintings at Artexpo New York, which is touted as the world’s largest fine art marketplace.
According to the Artexpo website, the exhibition draws tens of thousands of art enthusiasts and industry insiders each year.
In the past, the event has hosted the likes of pop art pioneer Andy Warhol, multimedia artist Robert Rauschenberg, and expressionist painter LeRoy Neiman.
More than 400 exhibiting artists, galleries and publishers showcased their work at the exhibition this year.
“They are really renowned artists, and when you see your son’s work among those artists, it feels really proud,” said Kolarkar, noting that Advait’s booth drew big crowds.
American artist Howard Schoor, who was at Artexpo to display his work at an exhibition for the first time, said that when he met Advait at the event, he felt a kinship with the young boy despite a 75-year age difference.
“What Advait and myself have in common is that we both started painting two years ago,” he said. “The difference is I’m 79 years old and he’s four years old.”
Schoor spent decades collecting art before he took up painting, and said his sharp eye for quality work made him recognize Advait’s potential right away.
“I think there’s just something where when you look at a lot of art over a period of time, you can sort of sense what will be acceptable, and collectible, and valuable,” he said.
“I think this young man has a unique talent that he’s been able to express at a very early age.”
Kolarkar said she’s proud that her son’s work is gaining recognition.
To date, she said Advait has earned around $23,000 from selling his paintings.
Other than starting elementary school next year, Kolarkar isn’t sure what’s in her son’s future – but she said the family will support him if he chooses to pursue art as a full-time career when he’s older.
“His happiness is very important to us,” she said. “We want him to enjoy art the way he’s enjoying now throughout his life.”