Twelve-year-old Elisabeth Anisimow started painting as a toddler. Now her work has been seen around the world, including at the International Museum of Children’s Art, in Norway. The California-based artist spoke with TFK’s Kio Herrera about her process and her Living Art series, in which she paints live models in historical settings.
1. You’ve accomplished so much as an artist—and you’re only 12! How did you get interested in painting?
I started painting at a very young age. I’ve always enjoyed going to museums and art exhibitions—anything related to art.
2. What’s the best part of being a painter? And what’s the hardest part?
The best part of being a painter is that I can express myself. There’s no real limit in the world of art, except the edge of your canvas, of course! But then there are other canvases you can use instead. Being a painter is a lot of work, but so is any other kind of creative process.
3. What art has inspired you?
I’ve been inspired by impressionism and artists such as Edgar Degas and Pablo Picasso. I like all the colors and the different styles they use.
4. What does a normal day look like for you?
I start by doing schoolwork. Once I’m done, I go to my garage and measure everything out before setting up my work space. Sometimes, I go to a thrift store to look for props or costumes. I take time to look around and figure out what fits with the piece I’m working on. Usually, I already have an idea of what I want to do. I kind of get a rush from the creative process.
5. We’d love to know more about your Living Art series. How long does it take you to create a portrait?
It’s a long process. I usually start with an idea. Then I try to find items and clothing that would match the time period, such as the Renaissance . Other times, I see something in a store and it changes my original idea completely. But every portrait brings something different and new to the process.
6. How do you choose which model will appear in each Living Art painting?
People usually contact me to be in my paintings. But when I get to choose, I try to imagine how the person would look in the time period that my painting is set in.
7. Your artwork has been auctioned off for charity. Can you tell us about that?
Charity work is really important to me. It makes me feel excited and proud to know that my artwork is helping people. I recently created a sculpture called Wonder Heart that took me a month to complete. It was auctioned off to raise money for the Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital, in California.
8. Do you have any advice for kids who want to become professional artists?
Believe in yourself, and believe in your work. There will always be people who will like your work and others who won’t. Follow your heart.