Kevin Durant

How a 12-Year-Old From San Jose Met Kevin Hart, Durant Through His Paintings

The likes of comedian Kevin Hart and NBA star Kevin Durant have a painting from the same artist hanging inside their home.

The pieces were painted by Tyler Gordon, a 12-year-old boy from San Jose who uses his art to connect with people and express his creativity. His skills even landed him a spot on Steve Harvey's NBC show, "Little Big Shots", that showcase the world's young talents.

Tyler's mom, Nicole Kindle, said he never showed interest in art but she noticed that Tyler would sneak up at night, after all the kids were put to sleep, to watch her mom paint.

"I knew he was there but I never said anything to him. He'd just watch for hours. One day, he came to me and said 'Mom, I'm gonna paint for the school Art Fair,'" Kindle told NBC Bay Area.

Kindle is a stay-at-home mother of five and says she had been painting since she was 6 years old. She says Tyler's skill shocked her in the very beginning.

Kindle says she got Tyler some paint supplies and he started painting the principal of Fischer Middle School, where he attended 6th grade, within 20 minutes.

"I'm honestly fascinated. I'd just sit on the counter and watch how effortlessly he does it. I'm so proud of him. I didn't know he had it in him," Kindle said.

Tyler says he loves painting because he makes him feel calm and happy.

Tyler Gordon and his mother Nicole Kindle at their home in San Jose.
"I'm very inspired by my mom because she's an artist too. 

"I'm very inspired by my mom because she's an artist too," Tyler said with a little bit of a stutter because he's deaf in one ear and has limited hearing in the other. Being only 12 years old, Tyler has faced a lot of hardship in life.

He and his twin brother, Taylor, were born prematurely at seven months, according this Kindle. She said she was told that the twins weren't going to make it.

And in January, Tyler was diagnosed with Vitamin D deficiency after his femurs broke while he was walking, resulting in an emergency surgery on his hips. He spent a month in a wheelchair, but he still painted.

Like any young boy, Tyler wanted to play outside and be with his twin brother and his friends. "I was crying," Tyler says, when the doctors told him he couldn't play basketball or football anymore. 

Tyler's love for basketball runs deep, with Kevin Durant being one of his favorite players. One day, Durant's mother contacted him about a painting of Durant he had posted on Facebook and offered to buy it for $100.

It was the beginning of Tyler's road to making others happy with his talent. Durant's mother still keeps in contact with Tyler, according to his mother.

The calls kept coming in.

Tyler was asked to audition for "Little Big Shots" on NBC, filmed for the show in October and it was aired earlier this month. He even dressed up as Harvey for Halloween.

"I went to the mall. I asked people questions like Steve Harvey," Tyler recalled. He says he wants to be on TV like Harvey one day.

He was also contacted by Kevin Hart's friend and comedian Spank Horton to come to Hart's show "The Irresponsible Tour" at Mountain View Shoreline Amphitheater last week, and sold his portrait to Hart for $1,000.

"Best day EVER!!!!! MY DREAM CAME TRUE!!!! Mr. @KevinHart4real bought my PAINTING!!!!!!!!!!!! Thank you Mr. @SpankHorton. You made my life!!!," Tyler tweeted.

Tyler says he loved Hart's performance in "Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle" and thinks that he's a really funny.

The young 7th grader is also an active member in his community. "We get to help people who don't have enough food," Tyler said Friday, after he just got home from church.

Tyler says has been volunteering at the True Vine Baptist Church for two years, feeding the less fortunate.

"He’s a miracle and there’s so much more to come for him," Kindle said. "My hope for him is that he can grow with the talent and be one of the best there ever was. Have his name somewhere with Van Gogh and Picasso, I just want him to take it as far as he can."

CORRECTION (June 26, 2018, 5:29 pm.): The previous version of this article misspelled Nicole Kindle's last name.

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