WAY BEYOND THE #SELFIE: Self Portraits by 12 Year Old Artist Kaia Miller
Twelve year old Kaia Miller calls her photos #tweenart. Let's make a correction. They are real art.
Kaia will be the youngest artist, alongside much more established artists, exhibiting this fall at a show of photographic self portraits at the Ricco Maresca Gallery in NYC running from September 17 through October 24, 2015. Frank Maresca explains that he is including her because he sees a "spark" in her work. I couldn't agree more.
Kaia creates one self portrait a day, with her iPhone, but these aren't your typical duck face #selfies.
Kaia's self portraits are rife with emotion and creativity. She uses a variety of apps and overlays to create her art, all on her iPhone.
She doesn't have a camera.
The young artist says she is often inspired by her dreams, or sometimes a spark of an idea is set off as she walks about her day. She keeps a notebook by her bed where she "brainstorms" at night before sleep. This next photograph was influenced by the beautiful orchids on her porch.
Sometimes her mom takes her picture and other times she takes them herself. Invariably, Kaia explains that her initial idea is modified and refined as she crafts her work. Kaia says she tries to make them look as realistic as possible but obviously "they are not real at all."
Kaia often chooses very poignant captions for her self portraits. She explains that she can have a strong opinion about what her images say, but that she really wants to keep her true meaning inside. It's "how I let out my feeling between the pixels...," she says.
Occasionally she explores her fears through her photography. For example, Kaia is afraid of water, but she finds it beautiful too. It is often featured in her work.
As a 12 year old, Kaia says she can "feel kind of small," but her photography allows her to show "that the smaller thing... can be just as strong...and still just as much as a fighter as the bigger thing." Kaia can express such powerful statements, yet she never loses the charm of her 12 year old self (a few emojis help).
Kaia Miller's images go straight to the heart, rich with feelings such as joy, sadness, and hope.
For Kaia, its all about the delight she has making these portraits. She repeatedly explains how much fun it is for her. That alone makes me smile.
I want to live in her dreams. How about you?
All photographs by Kaia Miller. Follow her on Instagram at the aptly named @growingrainbows.She is also on Tumblr. Kaia's quotes and the her thoughts on her work come from a video taken by her father and an audio interview with her mother. I had the great pleasure of meeting Kaia and her family last weekend at a lovely party at their home. It was a treat to experience her enthusiasm first hand.