NEW YORK - He’s only 12 years old but Xeo Chu has already wowed the art world. His first New York show is about to open in Soho, fittingly titled “Big World, Little Eyes.”
“I was happy and excited because I didn’t think I would make it this far,” Chu said.
The paintings, on display at the George Bergès Gallery are abstract interpretations of real scenes from Chu’s family travels in Canada and Vietnam, where he’s from. He paints his canvases on the floor, using acrylics mixed with water. It’s a skill he says he’s honed over most of his life.
“I’ve been painting since I was four years old,” he said.
He had his first exhibition at his mother’s Ho Chi Mihn City Gallery. Now, some of his art commands six figures.
One four-panel piece he created specially for the New York show is priced at over $150,000, thought to be a record for an artist of that age.
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“It’s groundbreaking,” said George Bergès, the gallery owner. “The fact that people have to have his art shows he’s tapping into something that resonates.”
Bergès found Chu through word of mouth. He didn’t realize how young the artist was until after looking at the work.
“If a twelve-year-old can do that without the life experience, it really validates my belief that art comes from a transcendental place, this mythical place,” Bergès said.
Already three of Chu’s paintings have sold ahead of the official opening. But the teen says he will donate his proceeds to charities in Vietnam, including Heartbeat Vietnam, which helps children afford surgeries and medical care.
“I feel like I have like an opportunity to do this and go to school and my mom supports me, and some people aren’t that lucky so I want to support them,” Chu said.
Chu’s art will be on display at the George Bergès Gallery at 462 West Broadway through January 3. The paintings start at $25,000.