Every weekend as I’m scrolling through my feed and Insta-stalking the celebrities and influencers that I fangirl for, I come across something interesting and inspiring in the beauty space. From jaw-dropping transformations to drool-inducing hair, there’s always something that I can’t stop staring at or watching, and it instantly garners a double-tap.

This past Saturday I fell in love. And it’s the kind of love that my partner should be worried about because it has the power to consume me. I haven’t been able to stop thinking about the work of Chicago-based artist and influencer Tyler Clark. I’ve been scrolling through her Instagram page for hours a day since discovering her creations, and every piece is worthy of a double-tap.

There are so many beautiful elements incorporated in her art that I can’t narrow down which is the most striking. Analyst by day, the 27-year-old artist uses a mix of materials, including fabric and jewelry to bring her beautiful Black women to life. But it might be her use of hair that truly gets me in my feelings. Her muses have Bantu knots, cornrows, Senegalese twists, and natural curls amongst other styles, that literally come off the canvas.

“I got into mixed media because I wanted my art to be different and come to life. It started with African fabric and jewelry then spread to using synthetic hair on my pieces,” Clark told ESSENCE. “I think it’s about pushing the boundaries on art and doing something I haven’t seen done before. I wanted to use hair because it is so important in our community and I wanted to highlight our beauty and versatility.”

When I look at her pieces I see myself, my mother, my sisters, my people. She captures the similarities but also the nuances in Black women’s facial features and hair with such expertise. It’s no wonder she’s rubbing elbows with A-listers such as Tina Knowles-Lawson, Issa Rae, La La, Common, and Tyler Perry.

Her artwork was also auctioned in the Wearable Art Gala presented by Tina Knowles and featured on WACO’s Wearable Art Gala on the OWN network. ESSENCE’s own Richelieu Dennis even purchased one of her pieces to display in the publication’s new headquarters.

Artwork by Tyler Clark
(Instagram/@inspirebytyler)
Artwork by Tyler Clark
(Instagram/@inspirebytyler)

“This is where I vision my art being placed,” she wrote in an Instagram post. “In spaces that empower Black women.”

In 2016 she launched Inspire by Tyler as a brand that encompasses art, motivational speaking and scholarships. Her goal is to use her art to inspire others through her journey, and through promoting self-love and women’s empowerment.

It’s an honor and a blessing to have one of her creative paintings. And if you missed Clark at Art Basel in Miami this fall, you can still shop her work at inspiredbytyler.com. You can also get her dope art on accessories such as bags, phone cases and pillows, just in time for the holidays.

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