Saya, an 8-year old artist prodigy, is a world-famous award-winning artist!
Next Generation Star #21: Elementary School Prodigy Painter "I forget to eat when I paint" Selected from more than 5,000 works
A zebra with kind eyes and a cat with big eyes ……. The girl smiling surrounded by her drawings is 8-year-old Saya. Her work conveys a sophistication and uniqueness that one would not expect from a third grader in elementary school.
I try to use unusual colors. Giraffes are often associated with yellow, but I thought it would be nice to paint them in blue.
Saya is a genius painter who is attracting attention overseas. She won the first prize in the environmental category of the World Young Designers Competition, which was held in October 2008 to select artists under the age of 16 with the theme of “Cars of the Future. The honor was awarded to Saya from more than 500 entries from more than 80 countries.
Saya’s talent for painting began to blossom when she was two years old, while her family was in England. Her mother, Maya, tells us, “She always liked to draw.
Saya’s preschool teacher approached me when she saw a unique self-portrait Saya had drawn of herself with green and pink faces. She said, ‘Maybe she has a talent for art. Until then, I had given Saya cheap crayons and other supplies, but on the way home the day the teacher praised her, I bought some paints and construction paper. Saya was very happy.
Behind the blossoming of Saya’s talent at Corona
After returning to Japan at the age of 5, Saya continued to paint what she loved. A further turning point came when she entered elementary school in April 2008.
Maya continues, “School was cancelled due to the new coronavirus. The entrance ceremony, which I had been looking forward to, was canceled. Saya began to spend more time at home and started painting in earnest. Until then, she had been painting freely, but sometimes she would spend as long as 40 days on a project.
Saya’s concentration is tremendous. Saya’s concentration is tremendous,” she says.
When she paints, she gets so absorbed in her work that she forgets to eat. When I realize it is time to go to bed,” she says.
Maya does not interfere, either.
I let Saya do whatever she wants. I don’t tell her to eat quickly. When she draws a blue giraffe, I don’t interrupt her, saying, ‘Giraffes are yellow, aren’t they? I leave it to her imagination. All I can do is buy art supplies and praise her excessively. When the painting is finished, she says, “Wow! It’s so beautiful! You did it 100 times better than Mommy! Saya uses whatever we have at home as materials for her drawings, whether it’s a toothbrush or a cotton swab.
When Maya uploads her daughter’s artwork to social networking sites, it immediately becomes a topic of conversation. Some of her paintings have been viewed 3.8 million times. As mentioned above, she won the top prize at the World Young Designers Competition, which she happened to see on the Internet.
What is amazing about Saya’s paintings is that each of her works has a story. What is amazing about Saya’s paintings is that each one has its own story. She gives each character a name and even thinks about its personality. It seems that she decides on colors and composition based on the story she has drawn in her mind.
We asked Saya what inspires her.
I think a lot of my inspiration comes from books that I like. I imagine the characters in the books in my own way. If there is a continuation of the story, I think it would be interesting to develop it in this way.
Saya continues to draw pictures spontaneously with her unique sensibility.
Saya was born in January 2002. She is a third grader at a prestigious elementary school in Tokyo. Her hobbies are reading and collecting stuffed animals. She is also an official ambassador for the NPO “Children’s Earth Fund.
From the October 21, 2022 issue of FRIDAY
Photographed by： Hiroyuki Komatsu