Art by Maria Kononov
Maria Kononov was born in 1997, in New Jersey, USA. Maria started to draw for fun when she was only three. Spontaneously, she took pencils and paper and started making cut-outs of dogs and horses to play with. The unusual talent did not go unnoticed and children from her kindergarten would line up asking Maria to draw their favorite animal.

Fairly quickly, she moved to watercolors, mastering perspective by the age of five without any formal instructions or external help. As she tried out different techniques, her spectrum of colors just kept on growing. While experimenting with pastels and magic markers, color inks and natural paints, Maria explored the various textures of paper, fabrics and eventually canvases.
By now, Maria already had personal exhibitions in Brussels, London, and Moscow. The young artist is actively involved in charities, like shows and auctions with proceeds going to orphanages. Today, many of her works can be found in private collections around the world.

Besides exhibitions, Maria's works have been published in wall calendars, as cover illustrations for the five books written by her grand-father, a doctor and a writer Vladimir Naidin, and on greeting cards that were sold by the thousands throughout the world. In 2007, Maria drew sketches of 20 outfits for girls and boys of her age. From these drawings, actual dresses were made and presented at a fashion show in April 2008. Belgian news media and TV covered the event and Maria was invited to repeat the show in Moscow, where Alef magazine welcomed Maria as "the world's youngest fashion designer".

Maria is very close to her family, her parents and little brother, Lev, who all support Maria in her efforts. Today, like many youngsters of her age, Maria Kononov likes music, books and horse riding. But Maria's all-consuming passion is art. Wherever she travels, Maria is mentally recording her impressions and saving them for her canvases. Folklore of different countries nurtures her fantasy: statues are brought to life, pigs fly through the sky and Pegasus talks to the moon.

Maria's work mature with each day and multiply in the number a clear sign of constant inspiration and eagerness to share her thoughts and emotions with others.

Let us wish her best of luck!