Tyler Gordon is a 12-year-old self-taught artist that concentrates his work on African-American culture and history. His works of art have paid tribute to the Central Park 5, Janet Jackson, Kevin Durant, Steve Harvey, Kevin Hart, and even the late Toni Morrison. In fifth grade, while many of us were running around on playgrounds, Tyler Gordon of San Jose had just discovered his endless supply of painting talent.
Tyler, who turns 12 Sunday, paints African-American, white and gray portraits of celebrities he finds on television, or of people who want a portrait of themselves. He has painted Kevin Durant, Jay-Z, Beyonce, the Beatles, Oprah, and many more famous people.
“His paintings are shadows and negative space,” said Nicole Kindle, his mother.
He has sold dozens of paintings, started a Facebook page to promote his art and this month appeared on Steve Harvey’s show, “Little Big Shots.” A budding entrepreneur, Tyler also promotes his art on other social media platforms, including Twitter and YouTube.
Last weekend, Tyler was at San Jose’s Juneteenth celebration at Plaza de Cesar Chavez, where he live-painted for several hours, fueled only by a baloney sandwich. He sold more than 40 paintings that day, he said.
Tyler’s living room in San Jose is filled with his painting supplies and the art he has made. He paints there sitting on a stool. Lately, he said he’s been at it for about four hours every day, to fulfill the orders that have come pouring in since he appeared on “Little Big Shots” and at the Juneteenth festival.
Despite Tyler’s accomplishments, his mom said that he is still a normal kid who plays outside most of the time, thinks he’s Superman and still has to finish his homework.
“His school comes first,” Kindle said. “If I see a grade slipping, that’s a priority.”
Kindle was the one who encouraged Tyler to start painting, and she instantly recognized his talent.
“I’ve never seen anything like that,” Kindle said on Oli Pettigrew’s TV show, “Right This Minute.” “I’ve been pushing, trying to get him everything he needs.”
Tyler’s accomplishments come despite life-changing hardships. For a while, he was in a wheelchair after breaking his hips, and he is nearly deaf, Kindle said. On Steve Harvey’s show, Tyler got a big surprise when one of his heroes, Kevin Durant of the Golden State Warriors, appeared in a video.
For more details about Tyler, follow him on Instagram at the rate official_tylergordon or Facebook
“Keep inspiring,” Durant told Tyler. And undoubtedly Tyler will.