By: Toby Reynolds
I believe talents, generally speaking, come from above. I also believe everyone has at least one, and that they ought to be discovered and practiced, and used to bless the lives of others. Often these talents are subtle, perhaps even unknown to the individual, and sometimes are hard won. It just may be in some instances, our talents are so unknown to us that we need a little help finding them. Or perhaps we just need someone to point us in the right direction. For Akiane Kramarik, that direction came by way of heavenly vision.
Akiane says she began having, what she can only describe as, visions of heaven when she was 4 years old. She recalls feeling incapable of expressing herself, of relating her experiences to her parents. Then she started drawing. By age 5, she was painting. She began expressing herself through her art, and explaining to her family and those around her the visions she had been having.
To her parent’s surprise, Akiane appeared to be a child prodigy painter. Even more surprising, was the fact that she was seeing heaven; her parents were both self-proclaimed atheists. They’d never discussed faith, or any form of spirituality in their home. They’d certainly never discussed Heaven and visions. This amazing talent, these seemingly divine experiences, were all Akiane. And if her verbal descriptions weren’t enough, her prodigious talent certainly convinced them. This was all for real.
At the age of 8, Akiane painted a portrait of Christ entitled, Prince of Peace, and began getting worldwide attention as a self-taught master painter, a prodigy. She’s been on television interviews around the world. She now has original pieces worth over one million dollars, and she’s recently spent the last year in Australia. Prior to that, she was right here in North Idaho. Despite her fame, however, Akiane will be the first to say she doesn’t paint for money or attention. “I paint,” she says, and her words seem to echo with the voices of so many masters before her, “because it’s in my blood. It’s who I am and who I always want to be.”
Akiane established early in her career that she would use her talent to inspire others, and she has certainly held to that. Her paintings and story have inspired people across the globe. She often spoke of her desire for others to find and do what they love most, and her hope that her art might encourage that. At age 10 Akiane declared, “Everything I do has a meaning of spirituality.” Visit her website and you’ll see what this means. Many of her paintings are accompanied by a spiritual explanation, or a thought on her experience with a particular piece. And often there is an original Akiane Kramarik poem attached.
Here are a few of my favorites: The Light Bear-ers; “…is an allegory painting showing different ways people respond to God. The moral of the painting is this: do not run away from light, do not be angry with light, do not fight, or think of yourself, otherwise, you will miss the light completely. Look up to God to live, and God will provide.” (Akiane, age 9, 2004)
On My Knees; “When we are alone in prayer or meditation, we reach peace, joy, love and wisdom. That intimate time nourishes us for eternity. Each of us walks through our own spiritual journey. But before we walk, before we climb, before we fly, we need to be on our knees.” (Akiane, age 11, 2006)
Akiane is older now. Her visions come less frequently. Although this frightened her a little at first— “When we experience visions or dreams, we start craving their exotic experiences.”—she explains that she knew it would eventually happen, she’d been told in a vision when she was still quite young. However, there are many things Akiane has learned that will continue to be a large part of her work. “I learned,” she says, “to respect and appreciate our earthly life: so remarkable and brief.”
She’s also come to understand that by combining life experience with visions, dreams, and imagination in her work, she opens new doors as an artist. We can expect to continue to see inspiring work from this young woman. “My relationship with God is personal and profound. Myown spirituality has never changed.”
I can’t say that Akiane’s visions of heaven were an indispensable piece of some great divine plan. I can’t say they were meant to change the religious views of her parents— though, they did. However, I can say that, if nothing else, they helped her discover her amazing talents, that they have influenced the lives of many around the world, and they have influenced my own.
As featured in the Nspire Magazine Winter/Spring 2015 Coeur d’Alene Edition