They say art won't pay the bills. Nine-year-old Baker Smith, meanwhile, has already sold more of her paintings than she has had birthdays.
Anyone who has ever created art of any kind can likely relate to just how difficult it can be to get people to notice your creations; much less get them to spend any money on them.
Nine-year-old Baker Smith, meanwhile, has already sold more of her paintings than she has had birthdays.
The joyful Warren resident smiled widely across from a table at The Coffee Depot while chatting about the 37 pieces of art she created over the course of a year, which are now on display throughout the rest of the month of February and for sale to anyone interested. So far, around 10 of the pieces have already been sold.
Baker said that she has been drawing and painting since she was 3, but her mom, Jen, said that the activity really picked up during Covid, when she would participate in a popular YouTube series with artist, Mo Willems, who encouraged kids to do a different drawing each day while stuck inside due to the lockdowns.
“She used to do it every day, and loved it,” Jen said. “I would say that’s when she really started getting into it.”
Jen and her husband, Andrew, neither of who claim to be very artistically inclined themselves, wanted to encourage Baker in her creative pursuits. So they transformed her bedroom closet into an art studio. That’s where she churned out the more than three dozen pieces now on display at Warren’s central caffeine hub. Baker got the inspiration after seeing other art displays on the walls.
“I just saw a lot of art up [on the walls at the Coffee Depot], and I said ‘Wow, that would be cool to be in an art shop,’” Baker said.
As for how that happened, Jen said she simply asked.
“And they were so open to it. They said they hadn’t had any youth artists before, and this would be the first one,” Jen said, thanking Kate Silva, who curates the rotating art that appears on the shop’s walls throughout the year. “She was great. They do it so artists have this opportunity to show and sell without overhead or having to rent a space to do it. I’m starting to realize it more and more, how supportive everyone is.”
Jen said Baker started to gain confidence in her artistic abilities when they held a community art show in their neighborhood. “She got a ton of support from people, so I think that made her less nervous to do something like this,” she said.
Walking around and looking at the various pieces, some in particular — like a watercolor painting of four happy penguins — wouldn’t look out of place in a professional art gallery, utilizing various advanced techniques and showcasing a natural skill for shading and attention to little details.
“Wait, that was done by a 9-year-old?” one patron said, eyes open in surprise, and further exclaiming in shock when she learned that all the pieces were.
As for what she’s going to do with the significant amount of money she’s already made, Baker didn’t have any grand plans. Jen said that half of it would immediately be going into the bank; a savvy piece of financial advice for any up-and-coming artist.
Baker didn’t seem to be thinking too much about the money, anyways. She was more excited that her paintings were getting attention. She said that one day she hopes to be a professional artist.
Depending on your definition of what a professional artist is, this author would argue she’s already most of the way there.
You can see her work at The Coffee Depot or at her website, www.bakersmith.art.