LIGHTHOUSE POINT — With titles such as Blended Flame, Crazy Rooster, and Spilled Spaghetti, 9-year-old Lighthouse Point digital media artist Lia Naro expresses her vision of the world through her vibrant and colorful landscapes and abstracts.
Combining technology with her innate sense of aesthetics, Naro, a student at Pinecrest School in Fort Lauderdale, is making a name for herself in the mostly male sphere of NFT digital art.
According to Bloomberg News, female NFT artists accounted for just 5 percent of all sales over the past 21 months.
“As her parents, we think she’s talented,” says her father, Val Narodetsky, a business owner. “But it’s been gratifying for us to see other people think she has talent, and not just her parents.”
“Seeing other people’s reactions to Lia’s work makes us very proud,” he says.
An only child and first-generation American (her parents emigrated to the U.S. from Ukraine and Belarus in the mid-1990s), Naro began painting at the age of 3 using a fresh-paint application and by the age of 5 demonstrated both an affinity and ability for creating unique pieces.
Her parents bought her a laptop complete with painting applications.
“When they saw that I had artistic talent, they wanted to encourage me and take it one step further,” Lia says.
Spending her summer before fourth grade in dance camp practicing her jazz, tap, ballet, contemporary and lyrical dance, Naro says she is looking forward to fourth grade, where students earn extra privileges.
Her first love, however, is painting.
Taking tutorials online with the website, “Art with Flo,” which teaches users to work in Procreate, and studying the work of Nyla Hayes, a 12-year-old digital artist known for her long-necked portraits of famous women such as Coco Chanel, Amelia Earhart and Frida Kahlo, Naro begin experimenting with color and moving shapes around on the screen.
She learned to shade and use layers to create landscapes in Procreate.
Her first collection, which debuted on Feb. 22, 2022, her mother Zhanna Narodetsky’s birthday, is titled Tribute to the World. It showcases bright, vibrant colors that Naro says reflect the backdrop of her Florida life.
Eighty percent of Lia’s 500 original works sold out in their first month on OpenSea, an online digital marketplace for NFTs and other crypto-collectibles.
The NFT uses Bitcoin as currency and her work was up for sale using the Ethereum blockchain currency selling at .08 — corresponding to her age at the time — or approximately $130 to $150 apiece.
Buyers purchase the commodity along with reproductive rights enabling them to do whatever they want with the digital file, including printing it and hanging the physical art on their walls. The digital assets can also be sold on the secondary market.
Her dad says she was the youngest artist on the site and the results were both surprising and gratifying.
“Lia wants to be an inspiration for others, especially other young girls,” Val Narodetsky says.
Her parents, both entrepreneurs, are encouraging her to stay ahead of the curve and are even envisioning plans for her own art gallery in the metaverse.
“We’re blown away by her success,” he says. “It’s not something we ever anticipated.”
Her own favorite colors tend toward the cools — neon light blue, lavenders and teal — with her art featuring more of the primary colors in deep, saturated hues.
“I love Lia’s playful use of colors and whimsical style,” says Juliette Blake, co-founder of the website “Miss O Cool Girls,” which provides a safe online space for young girls to shape their own narrative and works to counteract negative stereotypes of girls in popular culture.
Blake was looking for young artists to include in her gallery, SuperRare, an NFT marketplace for curated crypto-art.
“When I saw Lia’s work, I was blown away and knew she had to be part of our opening,” Blake says. “Her talent is unreal, and it was no surprise her first two pieces sold right away.”
“I can’t wait to see what Lia continues to create and how she inspires other young girls to pursue digital art,” says Blake.
Lia Naro is already fast at work on her second collection titled “Lia’s World,” set to coincide with Art Basel Miami Beach in December, where she hopes to exhibit her work.
“I’m just getting started,” she says. “I can’t wait to see what I can accomplish in the future.”