When Andres Valencia was five, his parents, Elsa and Lupe Valencia, knew their son had a special gift. They were right. Just five years later, at 10, Valencia has accomplished more than many artists in their lifetime. The contemporary artist had a solo showcase at Art Miami, made his solo gallery debut (“No Rules”) in New York at Contemporary chase, and has sold several pieces for over $125,000. High profile collectors and fans include Brooke Shields, Diane Keaton, Jon Bon Jovi, Channing Tatum and Sofia Vergara, to name a few.
But it’s not just the successful showcases or the impressive collaborations (which include projects with Risk Rock, Raphael Mazzucco, Bradley Theodore and RETNA). Valencia has always looked for ways to give back through their art. To date, he has raised over $300,000 for various charities and organizations.
He fell ill one day and stayed home from school shortly after the outbreak of war, when he heard the news of the invasion of Ukraine. Devastated by what he heard, Valencia took to the canvas. Thus, his piece, Invasion of Ukraine, was born. Valencia enjoys helping people with their art and wanted the piece to benefit the people of Ukraine. He partnered with The Klitschko Foundation, founded by Ukrainian heavyweight boxing champions and brothers, Wladimir and Vitali Klitschko, a grassroots foundation that provides humanitarian aid and helps the people of Ukraine in the midst of the horrific Russian invasion. There will be 500 prints of the coin, priced at $1,000, with 100% of the proceeds going to the foundation. The original artwork, which measures 48 × 60 inches, will live at Chase Contemporary.
“I learned that from watching the news and hearing everything people are going through and what’s going on in Ukraine,” Valencia said via Zoom, joined by his father, Lupe. “I hope Ukraine can win the war and be left in peace.”
Symbolism, Surrealism and Cubism styles combine in the painting, which depicts the horror of war. There is a crying eye on a Ukrainian flag with a broken heart and casings, an assault rifle and Russian soldiers. In the center of the painting, there are people on the ground trying to fight, and the Ukrainian soldier’s hand represents power, Valencia explains.
“I want people to know that Ukraine will not give up and they will keep fighting,” Valencia said. “I want him to be known as the Guernica of today. [Picasso] did the painting for Guernica and didn’t want the people of Guernica to be forgotten.
Lupe says they hope to raise at least half a million dollars for Ukraine with the 500 prints that will be sold. He also says his son continues to ask about ways to raise money through his art.
“Our whole family is inspired by this, including Andres, so we hope to continue fundraising for different charities that Andres cares about,” he says.
When he’s not painting his large format works, he’s probably studying the works of Pablo Picasso, Modigliani Modigliani, Diego Rivera and George Brock. Although neither of Valencia’s parents painted, his father collected art. He paints and draws both smaller and large format works, which he does in a dedicated painting room at his home, which is accomplished by standing on a ladder to reach every inch. He likes to paint at night and listen to music to inspire his process, but he paints whenever he is inspired.
“When he was four or five, my wife and I would watch him paint and sketch, and we were really surprised at what he would do,” Lupe says. “On the one hand, you think you like it because you’re supposed to like what your kids are doing. But over time things got more sophisticated and evolved. When Bernie Chase, who now represents Andres, arrived when he was six or seven years old, he decided to represent him. He told us that Andres was going to be an important artist.
Invasion of Ukraine prints will be available September 9.