I just watched the documentary about Marla this morning. She must be 8 years of age by now, four years after the popularity of her painting started to take root. The video is the real-life drama of the family's experience of the rise of this child artist, how media excites interest, interest builds and begets fame, media looks for scandal, and how this pressure can quell or re-ignite interest in that emerging artist's work.
The video looks at Marla's rise, fall and rise again. It doesn't conclude whether the suggested scandal (that her work was not completely done by her) has merit or not. But it does capture a parent's intoxication with the success of a child artist (at least this is my impression of her father).
I think the real question is whether Marla truly enjoys painting. Since she was so young at the start, I don't know if anyone will ever really know or whether she will even recall that time in her life when she gets older. Joy, though, is what many buyers of her work perceived from it. So, what is the truth?
Some of Marla's work has a Jackson Pollock appearance to it. Other work is very layered with simplified symbols and shapes in bright colors that look like it has been painted by the typical child.
For those of us who are artists, when we make art, does our style change from one piece to another? Or is there something recognizable in each that others can spot and know it is our work? If you or I were to make a quilt piece, for example, in a Liz Berg-like style, would it look like Liz's work or our own? Could anyone tell?
If you don't know much about Marla, here is the website established to market her work and story: http://www.marlaolmstead.com/.