Meet Claudia, the 4YO artist making a big impression

She is the little artist making a big impression.

In fact, Claudia Buchanan's super-sized abstract works are so masterful, it's hard to believe they have been painted by a four-year-old.

The Brookfield cutie's works appear on her Big Little Art Instagram feed and her website, where original pieces start from $1200 and limited-edition prints from $240.

 

Four year old Claudia Buchanan is creating paintings coveted by some big names in art. Picture: AAP/Renae Droop
Four year old Claudia Buchanan is creating paintings coveted by some big names in art. Picture: AAP/Renae Droop

And she has some big name patrons in Brisbane architect Shaun Lockyer, who snapped up Pony earlier this year, and Australian artist Ken Done, who recently sent Claudia a signed print and words of encouragement.

"When she got it, she was speechless, which is very rare for Claudia," laughs Claudia's mum Shannon Deutrom.

"She was so thrilled, so excited. She loves watching contemporary artists on YouTube. When I showed her Ken Done she said, 'Well he's good. He's not as good as me, but he's good'."

Shaun Lockyer, who is designing a new home in northern New South Wales for the Buchanan family, says Claudia's works are ones of pure, unadulterated expression.

Claudia, 4, with one of her monochrome paintings. Picture: AAP/Renae Droop
Claudia, 4, with one of her monochrome paintings. Picture: AAP/Renae Droop

"I would consider myself an avid art lover and we have a reasonable amount of art we have collected, mostly contemporary and Aboriginal works. One of my favourite artists is Sally Gabori, who is now deceased, and when I saw Claudia's painting, a lot of the things that resonated with me in Sally's work, the things I love about that work, I see in Claudia's work," he says. "I genuinely thought, 'Holy hell, that's a painting I want to own'.

"It's an authentic story in a world where art is bought or valued for the wrong reasons. I have (Pony) earmarked to go in my house at Stradbroke Island.

"It's a nice, playful, uplifting painting and it will find its home there as soon as I get it over there."

Claudia comes from creative stock, with mum Shannon a graphic designer and photographer who also paints. Shannon's mother, the late Maureen Deutrom, was also a talented painter and quilter.

 

Shannon Deutrom with her daughter Claudia. Picture: AAP/Renae Droop
Shannon Deutrom with her daughter Claudia. Picture: AAP/Renae Droop

Shannon says Claudia, who has three older siblings, completed her first major piece, Jellyfish, at age two, and then said, "Can I have another canvas?"

"I said, 'Sure!', and it just went from there. She was enjoying the process, it was keeping her busy and away from the TV and iPad and I thought, 'This is working', because I could sit with her and do some photo editing or reading or whatever and then she'd just come to me and ask me to open up the paint tubes for her."

Shannon never comments on her daughter's works. Claudia, who selects her own paint colours at the art supply store, is very much a solo operator.

"It's her painting; I don't want to change her style. It's been really interesting for me as a designer to watch her process. She stands back and she looks at it and I'd love to know what's going on in her head," Shannon says.

 

Young artist Claudia and Fergus the German Short haired pointer at home at Brookfield. Picture: SUPPLIED
Young artist Claudia and Fergus the German Short haired pointer at home at Brookfield. Picture: SUPPLIED

"She really does consider her work and then comes back to it and puts colour in another place and then brings me paint and says, 'Mummy can you open that one?' and I think, I would never have thought to use that colour, but then she puts it on the canvas and it's amazing. She'll get to a certain point where she'll say to me, 'I'm done. Can I have a bubble bath?' "

Twenty per cent of the proceeds from Claudia's art sales go to Room to Read - Sri Lanka, a charity that seeks to transform the lives of children in low-income communities by focusing on literary and gender equality in education.

Pony acrylic on canvas by Claudia Buchanan.
Pony acrylic on canvas by Claudia Buchanan.

Shannon's father Bill Deutrom, from Sri Lanka, has done a lot of charity work in his homeland, including sponsoring a girl to attend school and who is now at university.

"So I had a thought that while Claudia is learning, it would be nice for her to help other girls learn and grow and go to secondary school because in the poorer areas, they don't have a chance - they become cleaners, or have children and that's their life," Shannon says.

"Room to Read is an amazing organisation - they use local writers, local artists and local printers to produce books for the children in the countries they are working in, because if you send over something about a lorry in London for a child in Ethiopia, they don't understand it, but if they have a story about a tuktuk in a city they can relate to, it will make them want to read."

Claudia at home in Brookfield. Picture: AAP /Renae Droop
Claudia at home in Brookfield. Picture: AAP /Renae Droop

The opportunity to help others was part of the reason Shannon and husband Cameron Buchanan, who works in private equity, decided to sell Claudia's pieces.

That, and the fact they were fast running out of wall space.

"I think Claudia will benefit from it, in learning that she can make a difference

in the world," Shannon says.

"It's not a monetary thing, it's so she can do something to help people and have that self-pride. She can make a difference. I think we all want to do that, don't we?"



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