Today’s Woman Making History is Texas Malika Toussaint-Baptiste, a freelance artist and photographer living in New York City. Texas first picked up a camera in 2005 and got her start and nickname “That Kid Texas” shooting punk rock shows at CBGBs and other pockets of New York City nightlife. Her unique style of portraiture amidst the backdrop of New York’s most notable tastemakers and parties gained her and her self-titled blog quick attention. But as a lover of humble people, simple life and vegan food her interests soon grew larger than her roots as a nightlife documentarian.
In 2007, Texas became a partner in the media company The New Pop, sited as a crew of artists to watch in 2009 by URB magazine. She also joined acclaimed New York – San Francisco art and design collective 21st Century Maroon Colony which represents the Afro-Triangle and 2/3s world.
More flicks by Texas, including a survey and Q&A, after the jump!
Inspired by change, individuality, evolution and revolution, Texas has put aside her nightlife nickname and embraced her artist identity: Texas Malika Toussaint-Baptiste. She moves into 2009 shooting portraits for artists, documenting for magazines, and producing two visual interpretation projects: NEW ORLEANS and I AM KING/WOMEN ARE THE NEW KINGS slated to debut in JUNE 2009. Her new website will launch in April.
1. What woman, besides your mom or grandmother, do you find inspirational?
I think I’d have to say myself. I choose myself because I know I try my best every single day. I am aware of my struggles, my pain, my mistakes, & my achievements for the past 22 years. I know myself better than anyone else, including my mother. I think a lot of people, including women do not give themselves enough credit at the end of the day. There have been a lot of times in my life when I’d wake up in the morning and not have a dollar to my name. There have been times when I’ve had to get a day job because I couldn’t afford to freelance, so, I’d sacrifice my creative freedom to the nine to five world. There have been times when I would become stuck in that nine to five world and not photograph for a month or two. There have been times when I’ve thought about quitting and doing something else, because of lost hope or naysayers, only to ask myself.. “other than this, what can I do”? Every day is a constant struggle, and I am not the only one that goes through it. Everyone does. I began actively photographing a good two years ago, and there have been plenty of times when I just wanted to stop. But, I didn’t and I won’t. I’m still here. Even, if I’m not creating content – I’m advancing myself mentally, spiritually, emotionally, & physically. That’s the best I can do. Within my mistakes, comes a light at the end of the tunnel. So, I inspire myself every day or at least I try to.
2. How did you get your start? What was your first camera and what are you shooting with today?
I started at CBGB’s. CBGB’s was my starting point. Going every week to that venue and documenting the current hardcore culture was the most fun I’ve ever had in my entire life. I was shooting with a NIKON FM 10 and then for my 19th birthday, I got a Canon Rebel XT. I never thought at that moment I wanted to do photography for the rest of my life. Around that time, I dropped out of community college so I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life. I was just living for the moment and being a teenager. Now, I have a camera that I worked eight long months to afford, but its totally not what makes me the artist that I am.
3. If you could photograph any event (past, present or future) or person (dead or alive) what or who would it be and why?
To be honest, If I could go back in time, I’d photograph the enslavement of African Americans and the Holocaust.
As far as a person, I’d have to say RADIOHEAD, not just Thom Yorke. If you listen to Radiohead, you’d pretty much know why haha. They are by far one of the best bands in my lifetime, and if anyone wants to argue about it then lets go!
4. What has been your favorite experience thus far in your career?
Going to New Orleans, Louisiana in March of 2008 for the first time. Driving through the Ninth Ward right after I came out of the airport was very tough and emotional. I went down there to visit my brother from another mother, Jeremy Baptiste, and he took the time out to show me around New Orleans and Baton Rouge. At that point, I knew where I wanted my work to go but I knew it wasn’t the time to take it there until I was REALLY ready. I wanted to do something important. I wanted my work to SAY something. I wanted my work to speak to people, and I still do. It made me feel more confident about my values. It made me feel more comfortable with my beliefs and who I am as a person. I am still relatively young, stubborn, irresponsible & responsible, and PASSIONATE. To the point where you can tell me I can not do something, and I’ll tell you that I can and I will. Not, to necessarily prove anything to the next person but to show myself that I can do whatever I want if I push myself. New Orleans brought that out of me. New Orleans made me crunk.
5. What part of your process is the most challenging and do you dislike the most?
I love what I do. I love the struggles that come with it. I admire the enjoyment that comes with it. I love everything about what I do and what I am about to do. No complaints. No dislikes. No challenges at all.
Stay up with Texas and her work at the links below:
- Women Making History: Aviva Klein
- Women Making History: Marley Kate
- Photo Of The Week: Masks by Nydia Williams
- Shepard Fairey Obey Collaboration With Levi’s Times Square Event
- Photo Of The Week: Hermanas by Amanda Lopez