From Wilcox Gallery:
At 18 years old, artist Kyle Ma is painting circles around many lifelong professionals, and the professionals are taking note. The young artist continues to rack up awards and sales at a furious pace, despite being years younger than his competition.
He earned second place in The Artist’s Magazine’s annual competition in 2017, got an award for “Best Animals and Birds” from the 2017 Plein Air Salon, and even nailed down an Honorable Mention from the Oil Painters of America National Show for his painting of farmyard chickens at the age of 17.
But more recently, his mother April Wu shared an honor that surprised her, while reminding her just how young Kyle Ma really is. In February, the College Board said Kyle’s performance was so “superior” on an AP Studio Art: 2-d Portfolio Exam that he was only 1 of 9 students to earn every point possible on the difficult assessment. “We applaud your hard work, diligence, and enthusiasm,” said Trevor Packer, Senior Vice President of AP and Instruction at the College Board. A mere 0.03 percent of young artists rose that high with their artwork, but Ma has also been commercially successful.
The original Prodigious Prodigy Show at Wilcox Gallery in 2016 nearly sold out, an impressive feat for an artist at any stage of their career. And many of his paintings sold to other artists appreciative of what Kyle could do at such a young age.
Wilcox Gallery founder and well-known landscape artist Jim Wilcox is one of those artists who has purchased Ma’s artwork. “Kyle really knows how to paint,” Wilcox said. “That’s saying something at his age. I have to remind myself how old he is whenever I see his work.”
Though it’s tough to believe Ma’s age, the quality of the work is what draws people to him, making for an unbeatable combination of style and story, said Mark Wilcox, Wilcox Gallery’s creative director. He said he has heard collectors compare Kyle’s art to Richard Schmid and other painting greats. “Most lifelong professionals would be happy to produce an average Kyle Ma painting,” Mark Wilcox said. “Professionals often comment that such talent shouldn’t come so early or easily. Kyle’s drive, focus, and hard work have made him an amazing artist at a young age.”
Ma is able to paint a diverse array of subject matter — everything from street scenes to florals to landscapes to battleships. He does it all with a unique flare, pulling off amazing paintings of subject matter in which many artists wouldn’t see a subject. Ma’s artistic journey started at age 4, when he began drawing scenes of nature surrounding him in his native Taiwan. “I enjoyed drawing because it served as a way of sharing my passion with others,” he said. “The majestic mountain ranges and lush green prairies around me served as inspiration.”
He traveled extensively as a young child, visiting several art museums that introduced him to masterworks that showed him what he could do someday with his passion. By the age of 10, Ma’s family moved to the U.S., living in Austin, Texas. At about that time, he swapped his pencils out for brushes and has never looked back. “Until this day, I continue to strive to share my vision of the world around us through art,” he said. “I paint as much as I can, hoping to communicate with the viewer what I saw and felt each time I picked up a brush.”
The magic is working. People are excited and seeing the world through the vision of a prodigious prodigy who sees the world differently than most. Ma keeps on painting, and has already earned what many would feel are career honors. With so many accolades at such a young age, it’s hard to imagine that Ma has time for anything else. But under all the paint, he’s still just a normal teenager.
“After I sold a painting for Kyle recently, I called him to let him know about the sale,” Mark Wilcox said. “His mom answered and let me know that she was about to go pick him up from band practice. You forget he’s in high school until you hear something like that.”
Artist Kyle Ma will be featured at Wilcox Gallery July 13 through July 31, 2018. For more information: wilcoxgallery.com