Linda Toki speaks volubly about herself in our thirty third interview of our new intimate series, she discloses her artistic fantasies, ambitions and her significant achievements. This interview draws on Toki as an artist and succeeds powerfully with her art adding elemental pleasure mixed with a very healthy splashing of humour adorning the page.
To read the other published interviews in this series including artists, Adria Ellis, Rino Rossi, Mehmet Duyulmus, Alexis Rotella, Lou Ann Sanford Donahue, Irene Oleksiuk, Kerry Mitchell, Filiz Ak, Dale Botha, Lisa Mitchell, M. Cecilia Sao Thiago, Deborah McMillion, Rita Colantonio, Amy Ecenbarger, Jane Schultz, Anca Balaj, Joyce Harkin, Armineh Hovanesian, Kate Zari Roberts, Vicki Cooper, Peter Wilkin, Barbara Braman, Becky Menzies, Sukru Mehmet Omur, Sarah Bichachi, Michel Pretterklieber, Alon Goldsmith, Judy Lurie Whalberg, Andrea Bigiarni, Sean Hayes, Oola Cristina, Kathleen Magner-Rios and myself, go here.
All images ©Linda M Toki
What was your childhood or earliest ambition?
I wanted to be many things. I read encyclopaedias and National Geographic magazine as a child so: artist, architect, costume designer, set designer, and archaeologist!
In art: high school regional art competition. I won first place with a tapestry sized batik of a dragon.
I was a summer recreation and arts/crafts counselor for underprivileged children. It was very rewarding to help kids excel in things they may not have had in regular school or just not had time for period.
Private or State School?
I went to high school in western Pennsylvania. It is a mountainous semi-rural area. I spent most of my years in the art room or stage.
University or Work?
I graduated from the Indian University of Pennsylvania with a degree in Art Education and a minor in art history and jewellery making.
Who was or still is your mentor?
My mentors: my dad Stephen Toki who passed in 2005, my high school art teacher Ben Manotti, my first photography teacher William Folsom. Since then, I learn from everyone I encounter on the internet or IRL.
How physically fit are you?
Pffft. I do have a swimming goal though. I hate water. I can swim but I still hate it.
Ambition or Talent? What matters more to success?
Both are important when used without ego. Destroy your ego. It gets in the way. You cannot grow if you think you are “all that” already. I don’t compete. I know what I bring to the table. Life unfolds for you as a matter of how you treat people and interact with the world, not being king or queen of photography. Being a good person and making a difference in the life of another human being or helping the planet is real success.
How politically committed are you?
I have a solid sense of what is right and wrong.
What would you like to own that you don’t currently possess?
What is your biggest extravagance?
I can’t think of anything I didn’t deserve!
What places are you the happiest?
My house with my dogs. Running the roads by myself and taking pics. And in my own mind.
What ambitions do you still have?
Develop my property as a living photo studio, cake decorating, own a shop in Gettysburg, developing my farmette and going to farmer’s markets…..I have a list.
What drives you on?
Helping people. Connecting people. I feel driven to care for and heal this piece of property that I own and influencing others to do the same. We cannot continue poisoning the earth and each other.
What is the greatest achievement of your life so far?
Raising a son who is an excellent human being. Oh, and making people laugh.
What do you find most irritating in other people?
Intolerance, not enough MYOB.
If your 20-year old self could see you now, what would she think?
“Dad’s proud of you.” Kind of an inside remark…..my dad used to say this when he was proud of us.
Which object that you’ve love do you wish you still have?
Nothing really. I have my box of magical objects from over the years. Maybe a little blue plastic mermaid that my grandmother gave me! I often think about that. I don’t know why. It seemed magical!
Do you believe in an afterlife?
Absolutely. The soul is infinite energy traveling through time and space.
What is the greatest challenge of our time?
Saving the planet. Global warming.
If you had to rate your satisfaction with your life so far, out of 10, what would you score?
11 because 11 is my number.
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