Kieron Williamson: Child artist, 9, hosts career gallery
- 20 July 2012
- From the section Norfolk
Working in the media I have the privilege of meeting people with remarkable talent.
But as I patiently listen to cats snoozing in the living room of a rustic country home, it hits me that the person I'm waiting to interview has been so successful that he bought the surrounding bricks and mortar last year when he was aged just eight.
And as he bounces through the door after a good day at school, it strikes me that the artist I last met two years ago is still pint-sized... but now he's almost a millionaire.
Last week 24 of Kieron Williamson's latest pieces sold for a combined £250,000.
This week the public is getting the chance to see them up close, along with his first ever paintings, at a career-spanning exhibition in Holt, Norfolk, a fortnight before he turns 10.
But does he even think about the money?
"No," says Kieron, rather abruptly for such a shy boy, "but I like it a little bit".
Kieron's talent was first discovered by his parents on a family holiday to Cornwall at the age of five and since then his artistic ability has shown no signs of slowing down.
'My style's changed'
He hit the headlines in 2010 when his first major art sale fetched £150,000 in half an hour.
Since then he has had hundreds of requests from people around the world to paint for them, including high-profile celebrities and royal family members.
"I'm not painting as many, but I think they're better quality than they were," says Kieron, sitting in his art studio in his new home in Ludham on the Norfolk Broads.
"My style's changed and I've now got every medium."
His landscapes, though impressive two years ago, have a phenomenal amount of detail in them these days.
The oils, watercolours and pastels show real maturity. During the interview Kieron jumps at the chance to show me his latest piece on the easel, which he believes is his best yet.
"The best picture I've painted is Wells [north Norfolk] in the mist. It's got a fishing boat and all other boats being caught by the light and you can't see the horizon because it's really misty."
He says he definitely won't be selling this one after regretting "one or two" that went to different homes in the past few years.
But also contained in the mini-Monet's studio are new pieces of experimentation, veering away from his traditional landscapes.
"I'm doing more horses and more people," he explains.
"I done this painting of a man collecting seaweed. Mum took a photo of him and I was really inspired to paint him so I done a picture of him.
"In the mornings I normally look on the laptop for pictures and then I go to school and when I get home I try and find the picture again. Then I normally paint it.
"But some of the time I think about it at school because I've got the image in my head. I pick out all the bad bits and if there's more bad bits than good bits then I tend to go for another picture."
With a child explaining it, it all seems so simple. But Kieron's mother Michelle tells me his natural talent has taken everyone by surprise.
"If you'd asked me five years ago where we'd be and what we'd be doing I wouldn't have believed you," she says.
"As a toddler he said he's going to be world famous. It is bizarre because I wouldn't have expected it from him to be honest.
"Kieron's got a lot of his dad's characteristics which serve him well. He's got sheer grit and determination and you see that on the sports field - he just will give everything 200%.
"The accountant has said that he's not quite a millionnaire yet, but it's going to happen at some point - it's just a time process. He's a very lucky boy."
Kieron Williamson's retrospective exhibition, featuring more than 100 works and the launch of his first book Coming to Light, takes place at Picturecraft Gallery in Holt, Norfolk, from 20 to 25 July.