Exclusive Q&A with one of black art’s shining stars



When “Hurt Bae” forced her way into our collective hearts through her viral tell all video, there was discussion, there were memes and then ultimately, she was gone. That is, until the uniquely talented artist who goes by Tyler brought her back. The Illinois representer has bursted on to the art scene with a mixture of African American subject matter and real material such as hair or clothing attached to her artwork. Her Hurt Bae piece, which she’s entitled “Hurtbae to Healedbae”, has gotten her almost 60,000 likes on IG, a number that will continually grow by the time this hits the press. Despite being a rising talent though, the “Struggling Artist” tag was never quite for her. Tyler’s a Spelman and Georgia Institute of Technology alumna who is an analyst by day, artist by night. We chatted with her about her life, and her art. Enjoy!

1. What was your upbringing like and how did it lead you towards art?

I grew up in a middle class home in the south suburbs (not far from Chicago IL). My mother is artistic and always let me express my creativity. I have older twin brothers and a younger sister. When I was finally able to have my own room, my Mom let me paint a mural on the wall. I knew I loved to paint but it started more as a way to decorate my room without having to spend too much money.

2. What would you say makes you unique as an artist?

My art is unique because I use multidimensional elements such as hair, fabric and/or jewelry. My goal is to create art that people can connect to. I want to leave people with a message that will encourage and motivate them. Hence Inspire by Tyler.

3. How do you get inspired? What led you to picking #hurtbae as the subject of your amazing piece?

I get inspired by so many things, pictures of people or things that interest me. A lot of my paintings include black women because we are beautiful and I love capturing that. Also one of my closest friends vocalist Keya Trammell “Gifted Keys” inspires me. She helped me get out of my comfort zone and explore my artistic creativity. She also challenges me in ways I wouldn’t have been able to do alone. She always is willing to share her stage with me. We are a powerful team. I can’t thank her enough for sharing her platform with me.

4. Is there a piece of art that’s most special to you? If so, why?

I love my paintings but the most special ones to me at this moment are paintings that have actual hair on it. It is a very real expression of my creativity. At this moment ‘HurtBae to HealedBae’ and ‘CurlFriends’ are my favorites. It also feels good to receive so much love towards these paintings.

5. What are your dreams and goals for the future?

 I’m honestly on the path to reach my dreams. I want to have my art on more walls. I want to be a household name for black art.  I want children to grow up with my art on the walls.  I have a full time corporate job and am blessed to find the balance between my career and my art business. I went to Spelman and Georgia Tech and studied math and mechanical engineering. So it feels good to pour back into my creativity.
I picked HurtBae because she went to Spelman and I feel like people only focused on her pain and not the fact that she overcame that relationship and is growing a successful modeling career. I want to inspire people and challenge everyone to think differently. Also we can’t be scared of loving someone because we fear being our own version of  #hurtbae. I believe love is worth that risk.