The Bay Area is home to creativity, innovation, and thousands of young people with talent.
Twenty-four-year-old former SF State student Mike Texada is a thriving fashion designer, painter and writer. His multifaceted talents are rooted in his upbringing in Oakland and he’s constructed a world of his own, illustrated by life lessons and experiences.
Texada described his work as a reflection of Black men in America. He specifically hopes to redefine the patriarchal stereotypes surrounding Black men through his artwork.
Texada dropped out of SF State in 2014 after his freshman year to pursue his passion for the art and he said he didn’t look back. He perceived formal education unfit for him.
“Formal education just wasn’t working for me,” Texada said. “When you have a plan, you have a plan. Early on I believed every step I took was a step toward the goal.”
From there, Texada ventured into the world of creativity.
In 2014, he launched his original cut and sew clothing brand, Matte By Mike Texada (MBMT). The brand featured a mixture of casual drawstring pants, tailored two-button jackets made from custom fabrics, hand-treated denim and unconventional cuts of neutral colors.
Just two years after the culmination of his vision, Texada’s first collection made an appearance in the 2016 Los Angeles Fashion Week. He said he is finalizing his second collection of the clothing line, which is set to drop in June.
Tapping into another avenue of creativity, Texada wrote a book titled “Sinner’s Symphony.” In it he invited readers into the inner workings of his mind and introduced them to the captivating characters he created based on his own life experiences. Characters are not only key elements
in his writing, but also in his painting and fashion.
Texada describes the characters he creates as reflections of people he knows in real life: “From the stories I write and the characters I create, I shape looks based on that,” he said. “[They are] inspired by real people, but there’s no concrete place or origin for inspiration. I just like exploring and creating.”
Texada’s Oakland art studio provides him with vital inspiration. He draws from the environment around him, including people and scenery. Texada’s colorful paintings are plastered on the walls and the studio’s bright windows open up onto a view of one of his many muses, the Oakland Hills.
While acknowledging the beauty of the city, Texada said he is aware that Oakland is plagued by issues like poverty and gender discrimination, but he hasn’t allowed them to distract him from his artwork.
Growing up he experienced obstacles of coming of age as a Black man and being raised by a single mother, but he used these obstacles as assets to his success as an artist.
One barrier Texada faced was the patriarchal oppression his mother endured. He admired his mother’s strength surviving in a world that places women second. He said his mother influenced him most and caused him to see the value in women.
“I’d be a fool to be raised the way I was and say women are weaker,” Texada said. “Imagine waking up knowing that your opinion is undervalued or you’re always going to be heard second— it’s really mind blowing.”
His mother eventually helped him get his clothing brand off the ground, and he said he considers her a business partner.
In his art, he has a character dedicated to his mother.
One of his paintings features a man hanging on to a women’s dreadlocks for dear life, which he uses as a metaphor to convey how much men rely on women.
Texada also faced much sexism growing up in Oakland, often rooted in his appearance. Because he wore tight clothes, he was often belittled and called “gay” by his peers. Texada said he was never discouraged, though. He believes experimenting with his style at a young age fostered
many of the visions and ideas that manifested into MBMT. While he didn’t necessarily look or speak the same way his peers did, he stayed true to himself and embraced the femininity others looked down upon.
Texada wants to influence others to embrace their femininity and rid themselves of toxic egos.
“I hate male egos, they’re so fragile,” Texada said. “Exploring the feminine side of life is glorious.”
He said he hopes his art universe and the message he wishes to convey influences the world.
“The world is known to be a ‘man’s world’, but my universe stems from the opposite of that— where women are known to be superior,” Texada said. “I want to form my world opposite of what I thought I lived in, something coming from a pure place, not a corrupted place, […] but from a place of concepts and exploration.”
Texada exhibits his various works on a website through a Lookbook account that includes his most recent clothes, paintings and other art projects. He said his goal is to filter a sense of awareness and responsibility through the art he shares with the world.