His Art's Abstract, but His Talent Is Not; 4-Year-Old Finds Success after Living Room Walls Run out of Room for His Art

Article excerpt

Byline: LIZ HAMPTON, Times-Union correspondent

KINGSLAND -- About a month after exhibiting 40 paintings in a St. Simons Island art gallery, Dante Lamb celebrated his birthday.

It was his fourth birthday.

The son of Scott and Aimee Lamb of Kingsland has received national attention for his painting skills. After being publicized by area media and The Associated Press, he appeared on The Early Show on CBS.

Scott Lamb said he and his wife thought Dante's coloring book skills surpassed those of his contemporaries, so they gave him some canvas and acrylic paints to see what he'd do.

With various brushes, sponges and a scraper, Dante began creating colorful abstract works of art. The Lamb home soon was overflowing with Dante's works of art.

Scott Lamb, a stay-at-home dad, said they began having Dante paint over his own paintings, sometimes several times.

"Canvas is expensive and we were running out of room," Scott Lamb said.

With little sister Zoe to watch also, Scott Lamb set up an outdoor space for Dante to paint and entertain himself. Outdoors became the studio space of choice, to keep paint spatterings off the carpet and furniture.

"Sometimes, Dante will make four or five paintings in one sitting, and then he may go a month without painting at all. It's sporadic," his father said. "Dante is entranced when he's painting."

Dante was asked the name of one of his paintings hanging in the family room. He hesitated.

"Rainbow Restaurant," he said, "and that's Rainbow Restaurant," he added, pointing to another painting on the wall.

His father said Dante usually doesn't name his paintings, but if asked, he might come up with something spontaneously.

As the paintings began to take over their home, the Lambs approached area galleries to see about having them exhibited. They found a taker in the Monkey Dessert Bar and Gallery on St. Simons Island.

According to gallery owner Britt Figueroa, she agreed to look at the abstract paintings after the Lambs e-mailed an inquiry to her.

Scott, Aimee, Dante and Zoe Lamb showed up at her gallery at the appointed time.

"They showed me the work and didn't say the artist was a child," Figueroa noted. …