"My objective is to create art that increases self-esteem in Black women and girls," the Chicago-based artist explained.
3D artist Tyler Clark redefines bringing art to life. It's hard not to fall in love with Clark's creations while scrolling through her Instagram page (as I'm sure her 112k followers would agree) since her one-of-a-kind paintings are nothing less than an ode to the versatility and beauty of natural Black hair. With her creative use of mixed material—such as synthetic hair, jewelry, and fabric—in her stunning portraits, the Chicago-based creator hopes to inspire Black women and girls to embrace their natural hair and everything it has to offer.
"My objective is to create art that increases self-esteem in Black women and girls, and I use art to tell my life story," Clark tells Upworthy. While today her portraits are admired by the likes of Taraji P. Henson, Issa Rae, and Chance the Rapper, the young artist didn't always dream of pursuing a career in art. "I didn't plan to be an artist. I graduated from Spelman College with a math degree, and from Georgia Institute of Technology with a Mechanical Engineering degree," she explained. "I started painting as a way to release stress while earning my degree from Georgia Tech. My friends began complimenting my work and asking to buy it."
"After graduating, I accepted a position with a major airline in Revenue Management and painted during my nights and weekends," Clark continued. "When COVID-19 affected the company's business, employees were offered severance packages and I took one to focus on my art business full time." Since taking a leap of faith to pour more time and energy into her art, Clark's creations have been featured at several exhibitions and events across the United States and auctioned off in the Wearable Art Gala for the past few years. She was also featured among the top artists in the country during Art Basel in Miami.
"I have been painting primarily African American women and incorporating mixed materials, such as synthetic hair, jewelry, and fabric in my art," Clark said of her work. "The hair includes Bantu knots, twists, cornrows, and natural curls. I have always enjoyed styling hair. I got into mixed media because I wanted my art to be different and come to life. I did something I hadn't seen done before by adding hair to highlight our beauty and the versatility of our hair. It takes a few months to complete a painting. I begin by painting my canvass, then I add hair and accessories to the canvass."
"As a Black woman with kinky curly hair, there is a self-love discovery that comes along with hair," Clark told My Modern Met. "I used to get a relaxer to permanently straighten my hair because I didn't find beauty in my natural hair texture. It always felt like a lot to manage. Now that I have gone natural and embrace my hair texture, I want to help other girls and women do the same." Sharing some advice for budding artists hoping to make it big in the art industry, she said: "I suggest they develop their skill set, keep practicing their craft, and be authentic. People will be drawn to your artistry when it's real. Always create from your heart, not what you think people want."
Here are some more of Clark's creations: