Akiane Kramarik was born in 1994 in Mount Morris, Illinois. Her American father and Lithuanian mother identified themselves as atheists; and then surprisingly, their daughter began to have intense spiritual visions in which she would meet God “face to face”.
This was not initially easy to accept as her mother Forelli remembered, “At first I thought it was a nightmare.” (Evening Magazine.) Her father Mark was also caught off-guard, “It sort of took me aback because we never read the Bible and didn’t have any kind of spiritual connection.” (CNN)
Akiane began having spiritual visions at age three; the following year she picked up art tools to express the things she was experiencing. “I was just so surprised at the impeccable images I had in my head that I just had to express them in some sort of physical matter.” (Sally Lee, Daily Mail, January 30, 2015.) She quickly progressed from sketching to pastel by five, then to acrylic at six, and finally to oil.
Her mother speaks of this process as follows,
“It wasn’t just art that was happening. Simultaneous with art was a spiritual awakening…. It all began to happen when she started to share her dreams and visions. … We didn’t pray together, there was no discussion about God, and we didn’t go to church. Then all of a sudden, Akiane was starting to talk about God. … We were with the kids all the time, and so these words from Akiane about God didn’t come from the outside—we knew that. But there suddenly were intense conversations about God’s love, His place [in our lives], and she would describe everything in detail.” (Marry Berryhill, Today’s Christian, July/August 2004.)
Akiane’s parents soon joined the church, while she herself remains spiritual but does not consider herself a member of any denomination or religion despite frequent Christian references in her art.
Akiane’s family did not have an artistic character. Akiane describes her painterly education thus, “I am self-taught. In other words, God is my teacher.” (In5d, Indigos, April 26, 2011). Nonetheless, she was soon recognized as a prodigy. In a few short years she appeared with Oprah, CNN’s Lou Dobbs, ABC’s Peter Jennings, Katie Couric and Diane Sawyer on Good Morning America, Craig Ferguson of The Late Late Show, and Robert Schuller on the Hour of Power. Her paintings sold for upwards of fifty-thousand dollars, and hung in locations such as the U.S. embassy in Singapore.
Akiane is highly dedicated. She paints six days a week, rising at three or four a.m. and paints for as many as fourteen hours a day; some works take months and hundreds of hours to complete.
Akiane’s art can mostly be described as either realist or surrealist. Often times, she herself does not know the meaning of the images she has seen in visions and feels compelled to paint. She said, “God gave me more ideas I don’t even know what the meaning is, like pyramids, I really don’t even know that meaning….” (CNN) Her mother said of these fantastic dream images,
“When she was talking about these galaxies and intergalactic experiences and God, I knew whatever she was seeing, something was really there for her.” (CNN)
As a girl artist who often made a girl the subject of her work, she might be doubly interesting to Pigtails readers. In fact, many times that girl subject was a self-portrait. Described as an indigo child and dedicated to God and love, it’s probably appropriate to find girls and particularly one so angelic as herself in her paintings.
Akiane has traveled to thirty different countries and is currently residing on the Gold Coast in Australia. She is fond of animals and since the age of twelve, her compassion for other living souls has motivated her to practice veganism. She is home-schooled and studies largely only what is interesting to her personally. Akiane speaks five languages including American Sign Language and has contributed significant funds to children’s charities.
Akiane’s painting and the publication of two books have earned her millions of dollars. Rich, beautiful and genius, she has quite a lot going for her. Despite all that, she remains humble and committed to sharing what she’s been given. “I really love sharing my gift with others. At the same time, I’m just a normal kid having fun and that’s what life is all about—having fun at the same time as helping people.” (rememberwhoweare, October 20, 2011.)
Akiane has occasionally faced criticism. Some people accused her of being a fraud; others called her technical proficiency lacking, and some were offended by the religious content. She recalls, “People wanted to burn all my works when we tried to display them in public.” (Sally Lee, Daily Mail, January 30, 2015.)
Akiane had some profound insights on art and children,
“Portals of divinity are everywhere. I believe that children may enter these divine portals easier, because they are seeking for answers in the purest way.” (In5d, Indigos, April 26, 2011)
“Infinity imagines curiosity from the wild abyss—Only the child makes a swing-set view of the worlds upside down. Unwatched truth is the enchantment of childhood. And we never grow out of it…” (rememberwhoweare, October 20, 2011)
Akiane has a personal site online which can be found here.
The purity of innocence is unquestionable at Akiane’s early age that most of us seem to outgrow in both inner belief and honesty. This young soul carries truth in the eyes that she paints. I hope to meet her some day as my old age has lost the mental perception of genuine spirituality. I see in her paintings an Almighty Spirit that renews my thoughts of youth growing up knowing what prayer can do. I paint a lesser art but pray that God does bless everyone. RBenton Jacks
At first, I had hesitated to say this, but as long as now Ron has said what he said above:
There is a certain amount of controversy about the entire matter of “indigo children”. I do not think that it should be condemned as fraud, but the explanation in terms of neurological disorders is not beyond the realm of possibility.
Disorder or genius depends on your openness to new knowledge.
It is fortuitous that this post should come so soon after the Cranach post. One of the purposes of Pigtails is to attempt to counterbalance the disparity in male and female values in Western society.
The first thing I did after reading this post was check the Novel Activist blog. Ray Harris fancies himself an expert on the child prodigy and I wanted to see if he mentioned Akiane. Indeed he did and he expressed one of the ideas I intended to express: namely, the visual form that a religious ecstacy might take.
Looking at Akiane’s work, it is hard to ignore how much the imagery resembles that of Catholic iconography (and adopted by some other Christian sects as well). Given the intensity of the visions, this Catholic legacy would indeed be appealing to the artist’s unconscious mind.
The tradition in higher-order mythologies in the West and the East is to represent earthly/mortal figures in blue and spiritual/eternal figures in red. By that logic, Akiane is continuing the legacy of portraying the Virgin Mary often with herself as a model. That might be considered blasphemous by some and could account for some of the criticism. Albrecht Dürer received quite a bit of flak with his unapologetic Christ-like self portraits.
It is also understandable that she should garner passionate polar responses to her work: the Christian community anointing her as a vehicle for a Christian Renaissance and others who object to such validation as an insult to the principles of reason. This situation is further exacerbated by our culture’s notion that a young girl is too innocent and pure to perpetuate culturally biased ideas–however inadvertent and unconscious. I believe that these validating effects along with the novelty of a child prodigy accounts for her commercial success. Sure, she is very skilled, but so are many other artists less financially successful than she has been.
One more interesting thing to note is the business of her “visions”. From a materialist standpoint, these are neurochemical and/or neurostructural disorders. This may sound like a condemnation, but is just a way of saying that this is not normal and it is up to each person’s conscience and personal xenophobic tendencies to accept or reject such a person’s legitimacy in their world. In the days before rigorous scientific inquiry, such productive abnormalities would be routinely accepted as heavenly miracles or demonic possession depending on how closely the visions conform to institutional doctrines. In a primeval society, such visions would have been regarded as a special gift and the youngster would have taken a path to become a shaman–to heal and perhaps influence the development of a tribe’s mythological culture.
I am currently working on a post called “The Blind Art Collector” that deals with the matter of child prodigies in art and the capacity of some people to accept such talent on faith or reject it as some kind of chicanery. I will naturally be tackling the kinds of questions that are rarely asked in the mainstream media. -Ron
Hi Ron! Convinced Christians who know Christ intimately will appreciate the genuineness of Akiane’s visions. For my part, I do not need to analyze Akiane’s personality. I simply watch in wonder as she reveals Jesus and His creation to me. What a wonderful Savior is mine! James