An Interview with Taylor Baptiste, artist of “Healing Dancer”

When did you know you wanted to be an artist?

I’ve actually always loved creating art since I was little and would often go overboard with it on simple school projects. I specifically started coming into an art practice around age 14 when I would recreate my grandfather Francis Baptiste’s paintings on buckskin drums. I worked as an indigenous education support worker for four years but when my boyfriend and I moved from the Okanagan to Vancouver so he could pursue his Masters Degree at UBC I also applied to Emily Carr University to give my artistic side my full attention and pursue a career in it.

What other types of art do you do?

I do acrylic painting on canvas as well as buckskin, beading, mixed media with materials such as birch bark, antlers or shells. I love working with traditional indigenous materials and making items such as drums, rattles, and medicine pouches but I am trying to take those skills and mix them into a contemporary style. I have also recently started doing illustration on my iPad.

What is your preferred art medium? And why?

I do prefer working with traditional indigenous materials like buckskin but I recognize that I have limited access to that now living in Vancouver so I am seeking out alternatives like faux leather fabrics.

Who do you look to for inspiration?

I spend a lot of time on Instagram and Pinterest looking at other indigenous contemporary and traditional artists but I am mostly inspired by the land and culture of the Okanagan – my homeland.

What heals you or gives you strength?

Spending time outside! Especially during the covid-19 pandemic. My classes are entirely online this year so I make time everyday to go for walks, spend time on trails in the forest, or go to the water. It gives me time to reflect and recharge in the fresh air.

What are you most looking forward to in 2021?

I am looking forward to furthering my skills in illustration, collaborating with other artists, and developing my website.

Is there somewhere interested buyers go to purchase your art?

I am currently working with a graphic designer to design my own website but in the meantime I post everything that I am working on on my Instagram account @t.baps.creates


Taylor is on a mission to have her grand-father’s missing headdress returned to her family and community. Please read and share her post and the CBC article.