A seven year old boy art prodigy has orders for 30 paintings, earning him the school nickname ‘Van Gogh’.
Primary school pupil Max Coker first drew attention with his artwork aged just three when a nursery worker asked him to sign one of his pictures for her “just in case.”
Four years later Max is painting at such a level that he has racked up 30 orders including a commision from a woman in Moscow.
On his love of painting, Max said: “It’s hard to explain, but I started drawing when I was about three and I always loved it.
“At the start I was drawing aliens and dinosaurs because I used to love dinosaurs.
“Now I like it all, drawing and painting. My teachers think it’s incredible. They call me Vincent Van Gogh.”
The child prodigy is now using his talent to help seven-year-old Ashton Andrews, who suffers from Usher Syndrome, a rare condition which causes progressive sight loss.
He is selling a series of animal silhouettes to raise funds for Ashton and Great Ormond Street Hospital.
Max himself was treated at the world-famous children’s hospital as a baby when he was born with one leg longer than the other and now wants to give back by raising money for Ashton
The young painter, of Ramsgate, Kent, is selling his animal sunset pictures for £12 each and the money will be shared between Great Ormond Street Hospital and the Cure Usher charity.
Kerry Coker, Max’s mum, said: “We used to have to trek up to GOSH quite a bit so it feels good for him to now be discharged. He really wants to give something back.”
Kerry admitted that she did not think her son’s talents were exceptional until the nursery worker asked the then three-year-old Max to sign his work.
She said: “I’d just thought that was what an average child of his age was drawing, that they could all draw like that.
“He’s always loved it. Wherever we take him as long as he’s got a pencil, he’s happy. Even on holiday he would sit by the pool drawing.”
The proud mum explained how Max wishes for wet play at school so he can stay inside and draw.
She once booked Max into a football camp over half-term, but when she picked him up discovered he had not kicked the ball once, but had drawn throughout instead.
The young artist has recently learnt how to paint quickly, having picked up a paintbrush for the first time in August when he started attending Talents Art Studio in Kent.
Under the guidance of studio artist Lana Arkhi, Max has produced exceptional pieces including a self-portrait and bagged his first international commission.
She said: “I am a professional artist so I have a lot of friends who commission things and one saw Max’s picture of a dog on my Facebook page and she commissioned him to do a portrait of her dog.”
Despite the demand for his artwork, Max still suffers with low self-confidence.
His mum, Kerry, said: “We put the self portrait on Facebook and that had over 500 comments and 1,600 likes.
“It’s a real confidence boost because sometimes he says ‘I can’t do it,’ particularly when he gets to the eyes on anything, which he finds hard.
“I was reading the comments to Max and he said ‘stop reading them, you’re making me cry’. It does make you proud.”
Max is currently painting a landscape of Kent’s Botany Bay, which his head teacher is already eyeing up.