Our fifty ninth interview in this new series of intimate interviews is with talented mobile photographer and artist Paul Toussaint from New York, United States. Toussaint, a traditionally trained photographer, is hailed a ‘ pioneer ’ in the iPhonic art movement by mastering the use of apps to create fine art images presented on wood, canvas, textured paper, and metal. His Grand Central Station series was part of Art Takes Time Square and Early Morning Fog which won 1st place in the 2012 iPhone Photography Awards. In the past, Toussaint’s work has been displayed in over twenty-two different galleries across the United States and Europe, and featured in video installations in both Italy and Germany. This is a beautifully rendered interview, genuinely affecting and handsomely constructed. Enjoy!
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, Linda Toki, Deb Field, Emilo Nadales, Lydia Cassatt, David Hayes, Jean Hutter, Frederic Deschênes, Mark Schnidman, Fatma Korkut, Fleur Schim, Rob Pearson-Wright, Dieter Gaebel, James Ellis, Marco P Prado, Jeronimo Sanz, Manuela Matos Monteiro, Bleu Chemiko, Manuela Basaldella, Stefania Piccioni, Luis Rodríguez, Marilisa Andriani (@mitrydate) Mayte Balcells (@artofmayte), Nicole Christophe, Jennifer Graham, Cathrine Halsør and myself, go here.
All images ©Paul Toussaint
What was your childhood or earliest ambition?
Well my childhood ambition was and has been to be a photographer. I remember belonging to the local camera club as a kid, wanted to shoot like the adults, models, portraiture, etc. I dreamed of having an exhibition of my work some day. That ambition has turned into a photographic career and my new ambition is to finish my book on Photography. Almost complete.
My first recognition was, and I recall it clearly, was winning a blue ribbon in the local country fair in Photography and winning a scholarship to a weekend photographic workshop up at Amherst, Massachusetts. I was about 10 or 12 years old.
My first job was at age 16 earning minimum wage at a local department store. I was very good in all departments from Hardware, Seasonal, Automotive and Toy department.
Private or State school?
I attended grade 1 thru 8 at a Private catholic School, St. James and went into a Public School Killingly High School then into The Rhode Island School of Photography.
Who was or still is your mentor?
So hard to name a mentor, there are several and to name just one is tough. I am going to say anyone that artistic, creative and free loving.
How physically fit are you?
I would love to tell you I have rock hard abs and killer body and a bubble butt. But, I can’t. LOL. I am your average “Joe”. I don’t workout or go to a gym but I am not out of shape. I am physically “fit” naturally.
Ambition or talent: What matters more to success?
You have to have a little of both Ambition and Talent to make it in this field in particular. You have to go out let people know you exist and what you do. You then have to apply your talents and show them why you’re the best.
How politically committed are you?
I am so politically charged up now a days. particularly, the last two years because of our Fucked up government ( USA ). A person has to be during these times. I am glued to the news on politics.
What would you like to own that you don’t currently possess?
One Million Dollars. I don’t own one million dollars yet. But, I will
What’s your biggest extravagance?
My South African Safari in Kruger National Reserve.
In what places are you happiest?
I am the most happiest in the home I just purchased for myself and my dog Valerie. The house came with a cat. That makes me happy as well.
What ambitions do you still have?
My recent ambition is to have my own published book out. Which is in the works, I have a publisher and editors working on it as we speak. So stay tuned. It’s on Photography. Iphoneography. That’s all I can say for now.
What drives you on?
My Dad just passed away so being close to my mother drives me on from here on.
What is the greatest achievement of your life so far?
My greatest achievement is by far to have an almost sold out exhibition of my iphoneography making me the top selling iPhone artist at the time. My close second achievement is owning my own art gallery The Empty Spaces Project. I was the most happiest I have ever been when I owned and operated that space. I’ll do another gallery down the line for sure.
What do you find most irritating in other people?
People that take from you, steal from you or stab you in the back but smile at you the same time. They irritate the fuck out of me. So over them. They are dead to me. LoL
If you 20 year old self could see you now, what would he think?
You’ve had one hell of a ride.
Which object that you’ve lost do you wish you still had?
I had this small surrealism acrylic painting that I loved, Loved, Loved and it got ruined. Can’t replace or repair. It is what it is.
What is the greatest challenge of our time?
Hands down it has to be the weather, Global warming.
Do you believe in an afterlife?
I totally believe in the afterlife. Like many. I wish I could “check it out” first to see if I am going to like it or not. I want to know.
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