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Young boy's 'gun art' raises awareness about gun violence

Photo via Facebook

Young boy's 'gun art' raises awareness about gun violence

An 11-year-old boy from Los Angeles is making waves with his "gun art," which showcases real-looking toy guns on canvas and camouflaged with splatted paint in abstract designs.

Grade 6 student Charles Gitnick's work was featured this week at the Art Basel show in Miami, one the world's most prestigious contemporary art fairs.

He says his art expresses his fear of gun violence and his belief that guns should stay in galleries.

"I kept hearing about all these terrible things happening -- like shootings or terrorist attacks, things like that. I thought I could express my feelings about guns through my art," he tells the Los Angeles Times.

Gitnick has sold a number of his works over the past few years in L.A. and New York City, with an average cost of $1,500 per piece.

The sensitive boy was deeply affected by the Sandy Hook school massacre last December -- so much so that he lost his creative inspiration.

"I stopped making art for 18 days...because I was afraid people would think I was promoting guns and not like my art," he says.

In 2011, Gitnick took newspaper stories about violence and wrapped them around a toy gun mounted on canvas with similar news articles.

"This seemed like a way to say to adults that kids shouldn't feel scared as I did -- that being at school shouldn't be scary or dangerous," he tells the Associated Press.

The first time he ever sold to the public was a few years ago with his family on a boardwalk in Venice Beach, Calif. This summer, he sold paintings every weekend in July.

"We made $1,100 in one day, the most I’ve ever made in a day. I’m saving for a car," says the young artist.

Gitnick has been making art since his was five, and by the age eight actively took up learning about famous artists. His two biggest influences are artists Jean-Michel Basquiat and Jackson Pollock.

"I’d watch movies and read books and watch slide shows -- my dad has a projector -- so I’ve studied them a lot and now I can identify them," says Gitnick.

See below for a collection of the young artist's stunning works of art. -- by Shereen Dindar