If you read Time Magazine then you’ve likely seen the raw talent of 15-year old Tyler Gordon from San Jose. He painted a portrait of LeBron James for the cover of Time Magazine in December. You might have also seen the painting that propelled him into the national spotlight last year — a painting of Vice President Kamala Harris that he live-painted on Twitter, and it now sits alongside a portrait of President Joe Biden inside the Beverly Center in Los Angeles.
@KamalaHarris My name is Tyler Gordon and I'm 14 years old and I live in the Bay Area! I painted this picture of you and I hope you like it!!! Please Rt and tag her so that she can see this. Please!!!@JoeBiden @DouglasEmhoff @SenKamalaHarris @WeGotGame2 pic.twitter.com/X0qtChKBf2— Tyler Gordon (@tygordonsworld) November 23, 2020
Gordon is partially deaf and stutters when he speaks, yet he has already hit goals most of us can’t even dream of and. Now he is about to cross another crazy accomplishment off his list: bestselling author. His book "We Can: Portraits of Power" is a collection of Gordon’s paintings which include icons in entertainment, sports, art, and of course, politics.
"Everybody in this book had struggles and they overcame those struggles. They were kids just like us and they kept following their passion," Gordon told ABC7 News. "It's number 1 on Amazon and it's not even out yet. It really amazes me," Gordon says. He says that his personal struggles with his disabilities give him the motivation to express himself through painting. “Sometimes at school, I get bullied. So when I come home, I harness all that anger into a canvas,” he told CBS New York.
Gordon was unable to talk until he had surgery to activate the use of his right ear when he was six years old. He has developed his talent without the help of formal art training. His mom told ABC 7 that his passion for painting started when he says he heard God speak to him five years ago. "He said 'mom God is in my room' and I was like, 'don't go to the light. Just go back to bed.' He was like 'no mom he said I'm going to be a painter and I'm going to change the world,'" Gordon's mom says.
Gordon’s latest work is a portrait of rapper E40. He recently posted a YouTube video of himself painting it. After hearing about the painting, E40 decided he would pay Gordon for the piece at an undisclosed price. That the money will go toward another one of his dreams. "I actually promised my mom I would buy her a house next year. That is going to be a big day for me," Gordon told ABC7 News.
After the book releases this week, Gordon will be setting out on a book tour to promote it. You’ll likely see it on several bestseller lists starting next week.