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Page last updated at 14:57 GMT, Friday, 29 October 2010 15:57 UK
Kieron Williamson: Child artist could leave Norfolk
By David Keller
BBC Norfolk

Playing People by Kieron Williamson (Copyright: Kieron Williamson)
His family hope that moving to Cornwall will help Kieron's development

The family of eight-year-old "mini Monet" Kieron Williamson from Norfolk are planning on moving him to Cornwall to develop his talent.

Many of Kieron's paintings feature Norfolk landscapes, but he also paints scenes of Cornwall - a favourite holiday destination for his family.

His mother Michelle feels the move will give him greater opportunities.

"It would offer Kieron so much more in the way of other pursuits," said Michelle.

"It would be inspiration on your doorstep, but Cornwall gives us all something so it would benefit the whole family.

"We're reluctant to make any knee-jerk reactions at the moment - we want to make sure that we make the right decision by the children and do the right thing in terms of investing Kieron's money," she added.

Child prodigies

The news was revealed on Child Genius: Five Years On, a Channel 4 documentary examining child prodigies, which aired at 9pm on Thursday, 28 October 2010.

Ferryside by Kieron Williamson (detail) (Copyright: Kieron Williamson)
Kieron's family are keen to safeguard his future and not put pressure on him

Kieron's artwork has caught the public imagination with a recent exhibition in Holt selling for £150,000 in just half an hour.

The tag of child prodigy can be a tough one to live with while growing up, but Kieron's parents are aware of his talent and what is needed to protect him from the furore surrounding him.

"I think it sunk in a couple of years ago when Kieron started to produce his artwork and it really amazed us as parents and amazed family and friends," said Michelle.

"It's difficult to appreciate that it's only in the space of two years - it feels much longer, but it's still very difficult to appreciate where he gets it from and the fact that he's at that level," she added.

Ordinary family

His family have received praise for the way they have coped with Kieron's sudden fame and they were happy with the way he was portrayed in the programme.

"We had a sneak preview of Kieron's pieces and we were relieved it presented us as an ordinary family, very down-to-earth," said Michelle.

"We're very pleased with seeing the whole programme last night it was really very well done," she added.

The possibility of moving to Cornwall came after a family holiday to the area when Kieron was swept away by his surroundings.

"We recently visited Looe and Polperro and to be honest Kieron absolutely fell in love with Polperro," said Michelle.

"To be able to see the sun rise over the harbour there it was absolutely fantastic and the fact that the weather was cold and miserable didn't seem to make a difference.

"The transition in coming back home has meant that Kieron has struggled a little bit because he misses that opportunity of being able to paint in such a beautiful place on location, so the south coast is one particular area that we feel very drawn towards."

Future

Being dubbed "mini Monet" by the press has raised expectations of Kieron's future, but his family are aware that at heart he is still an 8-year-old boy.

"It's really difficult to plot your own future because he's very much in the driving seat and I think that's why Kieth [Kieron's father] and I are struggling with the situation," said Michelle.

Winter Lakeside by Kieron Williamson (Copyright: Kieron Williamson)
Kieron's mother belives that he will always be drawn to Norfolk

"We are in a position where we are just taking Kieron's lead and he could change his mind tomorrow and take up football, so we're very conscious not to make decisions based on his artwork.

"The fact that art is his best friend and he'll take it wherever he goes is a bonus, but the focus right now is making sure that we do the right thing and meet everybody's needs within the family."

The fame has inevitably brought money as well and any potential move would be designed to safeguard Kieron's financial future.

"I think we're at a stage where there is that percentage of money that needs to go into a sound investment and the banking situation at the moment isn't really offering very much," said Michelle.

"I don't think that if we were to buy a property that he would lose out. If we were to rent it ourselves or somebody else rented it then it would continue to work for him.

"Then if he wants to carry on with his artwork in the future and his prices are such that he doesn't have bills and things to worry about then he should be set up and not have overheads and things to worry about."

Cornish watercolours

Since returning from Cornwall, Kieron has immortalised his half-term holiday in paint - something that will have collectors salivating in anticipation.

"It is half term at the moment and he's currently drawing," said Michelle.

"He's done some beautiful watercolours of Cornwall and Cornish harbours since he's been back.

"He's a bit disappointed with the weather, that it's too wet to go out and play football, but I think he's waiting for school - he's ready for the routine again."

While the family is taking plans to move to Cornwall seriously, nothing is finalised yet and staying in Norfolk is still a possibility.

And for fans of Kieron's Norfolk scenes, there is some good news.

"He's drawn to mud, he's drawn to water so I don't think it matters where in the country it is as long as he's out there enjoying it and that's his inspiration, so I don't think he'll give up Norfolk mud," said Michelle.




SEE ALSO
In pictures: New Williamson art
06 Aug 10 |  Arts & Culture
Media circus surrounds Williamson
06 Aug 10 |  Arts & Culture
In pictures: Williamson's artwork
30 Jul 10 |  Arts & Culture

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