Kieron Williamson turns 8-years-old on Wednesday, but the British boy got his birthday present over the weekend, when the budding artist sold a bunch of his paintings for nearly a quarter of a million dollars.
The boy the London tabloids have dubbed “Mini Monet” because of the similarity of his work to the great master raked in 150,000 British Pounds (that's $235,804 to you and me) for 33 of his works. What's more, they sold out in less than a half an hour.
Demand is so great for Kieron's paintings that people camped out outside the gallery for two days before the show. The waiting list for future pieces is up to 2000, according to his mom.
Adrian Hill, co-owner of the Picturecraft Gallery in the town of Holt where the sale was conducted, compared the response to Kieron to that of another legendary artist. “He is red-hot,” Hill told the Daily Mail. “I believe the last child artist in this bracket was Picasso. And Kieron is getting better and better and better. He has a very mature hand and has mastered certain techniques at an early stage which some artists would take years to perfect.”
Kieron parents say the boy used to draw just like every other kid. But during a family vacation to picturesque Devon and Cornwall two years ago, Kieron was inspired. He asked his parents for paper so he could copy what he saw.
“First pictures that he did were what any 5-year-old would do,” his mother Michelle Williamson told NBC News. “It was the time, and level of concentration that he put into doing it; that was the turning point. It was like a switch. We never thought he would continue drawing after the holiday. He just improved.”
The family enrolled Kieron in art classes, and his talent grew. Art experts began praising his work, saying Kieron’s landscapes showed the perspective, shadow and reflections of a master.
The first sign that Kieron was something special was last summer, when he held his first exhibit. 19 paintings went for $22,338. His second exhibit in December sold out in 15 minutes, netting $27,125.
The secret was out for this latest exhibit. Buyers from the United States, Japan and South Africa flew in for the chance to buy his works.
“The overwhelming sense of wonder is so many people have traveled to see this young man’s paintings,” gallery co-owner Hill said. “There’s no one painting that’s as young as Kieron is.”
His mother predicted Kieron would be able to satisfy the 2000 anxious buyers on his waiting list. She said he is so prolific, he sometimes completes as many as six works in a week.
As for Kieron, “I like painting because it’s fun and inspiring. It makes me think of places I can’t see. Painting is my favorite hobby — but I like football as well.”