Teen overcomes struggles through art

Tyler Gordon is only 13 years old, and already has his own gallery show in New York City, featuring his interpretations of some of his favorite celebrities. 

He's painted everyone from President Barack Obama, to Cardi B and Missy Elliot, and many of his subjects have taken notice. In the just two years he's been at it, he's won the praises of the likes of Janet Jackson, J-Lo and A-Rod.

But that's not even the most remarkable part of his story.

"I barely wanted to talk around people because I knew I was going to stutter," Gordon recalled of being a kid. "But I found a way to speak through art."Gordon, who's from California, was born deaf. He regained most of his hearing through surgeries by the time he was 6, but as a result, he has a stutter. Recently an injury left him in a wheelchair for two years. And on top of that, he says he's been the victim of ruthless bullying.

"Tyler would come home crying all the time saying, 'Mom he was messing with me, they’re mocking me, they’re making fun of me," said Gordon's mother, Nicole Kindle.

When he tried his hand at painting, it brought a boost of confidence.

One of the people who really enjoy his art is famed violinist Damien Escobar, who says Tyler's art and story on Instagram.

"I feel like a talent like his needs to be exposed to the world," Escobar said.

He owns the Gloria Gail Gallery in East Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and invited Tyler to show his art there.

Escobar says the teen's story reminded him of his own.


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"Just growing up being different, me being a young kid growing up in Jamaica, Queens playing the violin, says enough," Escobar said. "His courage is amazing, he’s like: 'look, I’m ok being different and I’m gonna show other kids it’s cool to be different as well."

Gordon has started working on a series of paintings about bullying, to send a message to other kids who are also living it.

"I just want those kids to feel free to be themselves," he said.

All of his works on show at the Gloria Gail Gallery, at 173 Power Street in Brooklyn, are for sale, and a portion of the proceeds will go to Gordon's foundation, Tongue Ties, which aims to help other children struggling with speech impediments.