Children love Christmas. And 13-year-old Elisabeth Anisimow is no exception – but it’s not because of the presents.
The American artist’s plan for the festive season is to fly between her home in Los Angeles, Kids Art Basel in Miami, Art Basel in Dubai and Hong Kong, where she has created a Christmas wonderland for kids: Christmas Muse Garden.
Being able to make her debut in Asia at K11 Musea is an exciting Christmas gift, she said. “I was thrilled to be invited to work on the Christmas Muse Garden. To have my work showcased here among art by world-renowned artists is an honor, and I look forward to sharing it with the city.”
Running until January 2, K11 Musea’s own edutainment zone, Donut Playhouse, is the venue and basis for Anisimow’s site-specific work. She paints the tale of Donut, a three-meter tall giant and his friend Ah Meow, who were suddenly transported into her colorful world while exploring the stars and constellations one evening.
Unlike previous art that made her the prodigy visual performance artist she is now, this work has a powerful and unconstrained style, featuring bears with candy canes, cats skating around multicolored unicorns, and a deer with Christmas ornaments. That last one is a mystical creatures with a human face, which people tend to mistake for a goat, a horse, a monster or a cannibal.
“I spent months creating a bunch of characters for the garden, but I didn’t track how many I created,” she said. “I created them mostly following my imagination and mood.”
Anisimow also designed different sets of costumes for five Christmas muses. Over the weekend as well as December 25 and 26, she will perform living painting on the muses.
This is her iconic stylet. Inspired by the European tableau vivant, which translates from French to “living picture,” she paints a real person, with the backdrop and props in the style of Monet, Degas, Renoir and Rembrandt.
After selling one of her first paintings of a girl carrying a basket of apples to a family friend at just nine, she realized that she could get paid for doing what she likes.
Since then, people have reached out to her (she calls herself a business artist) through social media and asked her to paint them the way they want to see themselves in a picture.
Anisimow believes her niche is featuring not only painting but also creating costumes and even a whole scene.
She draws people into her work, where they can pretend to be an imagined character but also be themselves.
Her mother told her she started painting when she was only two. She never went to an art school and learned how to paint all by herself, using two approaches.
One is to keep experimenting with different tools and materials. In Los Angeles, she converted her parents’ garage into her own studio for the creative process.
The second way is by going to museums and studying the techniques used in masterpieces. “I study the tools, the sizes, and how exactly the artist was creating the artwork without actually knowing what they used to do what they did,” she said.
Anisimow then figured out her own way to reproduce the same brushstrokes as other artists, using a rug and sometimes a piece of cloth. She used this technique on the wall in the garden to create a rough stroke, making the blue sky seem like it is covered by a layer of thin clouds.
Earlier this month, Anisimow sold her painting, Waiting for Departure, for US$12,500 (HK$97,500) at Art Basel, but she is not yet satisfied with her achievements.
The 13-year-old is saving up so that she can study art when she grows up.
“I don’t exactly know which art school I want to go to right now,” she said, explaining she started with the old masters but now her style is changing.
“I wanted to go to a classical art school like the Sorbonne in Paris, but now I’m leaning more toward contemporary, design and more modern stuff.”
(This article was published at The Standard on December 20, 2019: Weekend Glitz: Amusement for the young )