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Strokes of God
At age 14, Akiane travels the world, conducts interviews with magazines and appears on national television shows. Her masterpieces displayed at renowned galleries are worth millions.

When looking back, child prodigy Akiane Kramarik recalls the early days when she first realized God put her on earth with a specific purpose for her life. It was just an ordinary day when she went to her mother and whispered, “Today I met God.”

Akiane

But at age four the little girl could explain very little about her visions of heaven, despite repetitive questioning from her parents. She simply said God, all knowing, arm and good, was her parent and talked with her.

Her parents didn't know what to make of their daughter's peculiar behaviour, and were concerned.

Her mother, Foreli, had been raised as an atheist in Lithuania, and her father, Markus, considered himself agnostic, having grown up in a non-spiritual environment.

The Kramariks had never taught their daughter the word God, and they didn’t understand how she could be aware of His existence.

Then Akiane’s mystery waxed even more marvellous.

She developed an intense interest in drawing and began sketching hundreds of figures and portraits. She drew on whatever surfaces she found at hand, including furniture and even her own arms and legs.

It was as if something, someone, was compelling her to create.

By age six, she progressed to painting, and stories she told about the time she spent with God revealed profound wisdom.

Though she often wondered why God chose her, her faith in Him never wavered. She simply accepted God was real and he was drawing her closer to a relationship with Him.

But Akiane’s parents didn’t know what to believe.

“We had to either take a leap of faith or remain locked up in scepticism and doubt,” Foreli writes in the book Akiane, Her Life, Her Art, Her Poetry (Thomas Nelson).

“For the first time, we began sharing with each other our own budding faith,” she said.

From that point on the Kramarik family set their feet upon a path that would lead them to Jesus Christ and to a mission to share their gifts with people around the world.

Getting up at 4:30 in the morning, Akiane paints four hours a day, six days a week, teaching herself from her mistakes. She only works on one painting at a time, and creates from eight to 20 a year.

The length of time it takes to complete on painting varies – The Planted Eyes, painted at age eight, was her fastest painting and took only 15 hours to complete. The Dreams, age 10, took 300 hours. It has become normal for her to paint off and on for days.

The Planted Eyes, her first oil portrait, was painted on canvas 36” by 48”. The portrait of an African woman, Oprah Winfrey’s favourite, expresses beauty and suffering, strength and spirituality.

The Planted Eyes

While she also paints animals, landscapes, and flowers, Akiane enjoys painting faces most and is always looking for interesting people to paint. When she was eight, however, there was a specific face she searched for and couldn’t seem to find: a face to represent Jesus, who she had seen in her dreams.

For over a year she went to supermarkets, shopping malls, and parks, looking for the right face, only to be disappointed.

One morning, she prayed about it, “I can’t do this anymore, God. This is it. I can’t find anyone by myself. I need you to send me the right model and give me the right idea.”

The next day a friend brought a man to their door, a carpenter. Akiane knew this was the man.

“This is he!” she announced. “This is the man who’ll model for the Jesus painting. He resembles the image that keeps coming back to me in my visions.”

After 40 hours of sketching and painting, Prince of Peace: The Resurrection was completed.

Today Akiane (pronounced ah-KEE-ah-nah), 14, travels the world, conducting interviews with magazines (Time Magazine, Sun, Today’s Christian, etc.), appearing on national television shows (The Oprah Winfrey Show, CNN, Good Morning America, etc.) and showcasing her masterpieces at renowned art galleries. Her originals sell from $100,000 up to $1,000,000.

Portions of the money she makes go to charities, including Operations Smile, helping children with cleft palates.

Prince of Peace: The Resurrection

“I really want to help needy people in Africa and other places,” she told Christianity Today. “Especially the Lithuanian people – the ‘garbage children’ is what they’re called. They live in the garbage, and two- and three-year-olds are being killed for the first place in the food line.”

Akiane hopes to continue her tours with her oldest brother while her parents focus on raising the younger boys. She also wants to focus more on her poetry, which came to her as naturally as her paintings. In fact, almost every painting has an accompanying poem.

Her earliest poems were written in a combination of Lithuanian, English, and Russian, but frustrated with the translation process, she eventually began writing only in English.

Despite the poems’ complex, often coded messages, they appeal to everyday people.

“We notice that the message of faith is recognized by people of all religious and philosophical viewpoints,” Foreli says. “And the art is absorbed easily by both young and old.”

When she was ten, Akiane had an exhibit at the Museum of Religious Art in Iowa where thousands of people of all ages came to see her paintings and ask her questions. As she explains in her book, when the crowd asked about religion, she replied, “I belong to God. I didn’t choose Christianity, I chose Jesus Christ,” she continued. “I don’t know much about religions, but I know this: God looks at our love.”

Akiane doesn’t know what God’s plans are for her future. She plans to continue living each day waiting for God’s direction and timing.

The Dreams

However, she sees herself continuing her pursuit of art, perhaps formally studying it.

“My gift to God is what I do with my talents,” she says. “We each have a different gift, and this is our responsibility, to share them with others.”

She even wants to write novels, try sculpting, and compose classical music pieces. But her real passion is to meet new people and help them.

Akiane says she hopes Jesus will work through her so that others can see Him. “I want my art to draw people’s attention to God,” she says.

Her life goal is to share her love for Christ with people around the world. “Live for others,” she advises. “Listen to God and spend time in the quiet.”

The greatest gift we could give to God, Akiane believes, is to love each other and to have faith in Him everyday.

Unchanged by her celebrity status, her autograph sessions, interview schedules and intense touring, Akiane is content being the paintbrush in God’s creative hand.

Originally published in Living Light News, March/April 2009.

 

 
 
 
 

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