The evolution of my art

Here is a fun collage of how my art has evolved throughout the years. I started making “dark art” in 2006, three years after a very destructive and abusive marriage. You can trace my inner journey in these works as well as my artistic metamorphosis.

All artworks by Mia Makila 2006-2017

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The seashell strategy

Lately, I’ve been focused on coming up with a new strategy for my comeback in the art world. I need to analyze my brand, my market and just how big my ambition is, so that I can be more clear about who I am as an artist and what I have to offer the world. Just as I’ve gone from being very open about my private life here on the blog, to focusing more on my art, that’s what I’ll do in all social context. No wonder my new favorite symbol to represent myself with –  is a seashell (which is the main theme in my current works in progress). I am a seashell who’s home within herself, protected from life on the outside but at the same time, producing beautiful pearls (art) like gifts to the world.

 

The art life

At times I feel like I have too many ideas and way too much inspiration for my own sanity. Or maybe I just don’t have the proper time to do all the things that needs  to  come  out. It’s overwhelming and very frustrating. I know that I won’t be able to live like this forever – that at some point I need to break free from this “real life” if I want to pursue, what David Lynch refer to as, “the art life”. I’ve done it before, I know how difficult it is and how much I need to sacrifice

I have always felt torn between these two worlds; reality and my own inner world of magic and imagination. I feel like don’t belong in the real world but I also know that I can’t survive in my own creation. Therefore I am forced to compromise, just like any other artist. The trick is to find a productive balance between reality and magic – and in the end; the balance of time and focus.

I need to find a way to move between many realities at the same time without getting distracted. I am not ready to break free yet. Staying in the real world is good for me – but I desperately need my world of artistic freedom and intellectual independence. I think I might get sick if I don’t find a way to incorporate the art life within the real life. That will be this year’s big challenge.

Closing in, to open up

My life is no longer about survival and healing, I am finally living my life, moving away from my past and everything dark. I am reclaiming my self-esteem and finding more of myself everyday that passes – but it isn’t the main focus anymore. I can’t remember the last time when life was just chugging along like this, without any traumatic events. It feels great. Johnny is here with me and we are trying to figure things out for the future. My life, right now, is all about moving onward from my past and forward into the future, while being present in the here and now, it is a balancing act of; time, memories, visions and all the layers of reality. I feel like the more balanced everything is, the clearer my self-perception is. I can see myself with much more clarity. I see where I am damaged and messed up. Where I need extra care. Where my potentials lay. I see my strengths and my talents and how they are so unexplored. I can see when I need to ask for help, when it’s time to let go – or when it’s time to fight for something.  I can see how I deserve to be treated, loved and respected.

I can also see how the older versions of myself are still present, especially on this blog and on social media. I share so much of myself with the world – I love to share – but why do I share this much? It is in my nature to be open and honest about my feelings and most people appriciate it and get inspired (a beautiful echo). It has also caused me much suffering throughout the years. Some people have taken advantage of my most wonderful qualities, so they could try to control, manipulate, punish and destroy me. They have succeeded a few times. I have been hated and abused, not because of something I’ve done, but simply because of who (they think) I am.

I have been blogging and writing public diary entries, almost daily for 13 years. I was 26 when I started to blog, today I am almost 39. I have gone through a number of metamorphosis during these years and perhaps the most important ones have happened in these last couple of years. I can’t relate to the Mia who wrote the first entries in her blog in 2005, I can’t even relate to the Mia who wrote the first post on this blog in 2015.

The writing helped me get through some really hard times and reaching out to – you – was my way of feeling connected to a world I was not really part of at the time. Sharing my soul and wounds helped me connect with other people, it inspired them and their feedback gave me strength to continue my journey out of the darkness.

Why do I still share so much of myself? Isn’t my art personal enough? Why do I let all my readers into my very core? The questions are hard to answer, mostly because I’ve gotten so used to writing like this. However, since I got my daytime job at the furniture store, I haven’t had enough time to write and it has made me look at it from a new perspective.

I know I have a great talent in writing and I am planning on writing on a professional level as soon as I find more time. I will always be personal in my writing, it will always be raw and delicate, honest and real, just like it has been in this blog – but I long to write something substantial in Swedish, the language where my talent can flow without any barriers. I long to live my life without being stressed about having to update the blog or faced with loss of readers. I just want to be. I just want to live. I just want to write – but for myself this time. When I write these blog posts, I have to censor a lot, cut out important but private emotions or thoughts. I don’t want to censor anything anymore. I don’t want to share myself so intimately with people anymore, especially not with people who don’t deserve to know me that way. Some of my readers are part of the past I am trying to move away from. I need to close in around myself so that I can open up all my potential.

Therefore, I will stop sharing intimate diary notes on this blog and focus on creative updates regarding my art. I won’t update daily, but please visit my blog once in a while to follow my journey back into the art world.

Thank you for reading and for your interest in me and my art. I sincerely wish that you will all have an amazing new year!

Love//Mia ♥

En vision

Så jävla typiskt att vi blev sjuka. Detta är tredje gången Johnny är här – och tredje gången någon av oss har blivit dålig. Men det stoppar inte mig från att njuta av hans närvaro och mellan febertopparna växer en vision sig allt starkare. En vision om hur jag vill fortsätta leva mitt liv, om vad som är viktigt för mig nu och vad som inte längre känns viktigt eller relevant. Precis som jag gjort inför varje nytt år, sedan uppbrottet i Stockholm för snart fyra år sedan, går jag in i det nya året med en del förändringar. Jag ska berätta mer om dem i ett senare inlägg, nu måste jag vila lite.

The artworks of 2017

2017 was the year when I got back into the amazing flow in my creativity. The artworks of 2017 are both bolder and more intricate than the artworks from last year. They are also darker – but with more elements of vibrant colors. In total I made 18 artworks this year – 16 of them were digital works, including two collaboration pieces with Candice Angelini  – and also one painting and one mixed media piece.

Compare them to the artworks of 2016 and 2015. and you’ll find many differences but also a story being told, year by year.

Bleeding

It is Saturday morning and it’s time to enter my own world instead of being part of the real one. This weekend I’ll try to be creative and more importantly – I’ll create my annual “life plan” for next year. I have to sit down to map out all my goals, dreams and visions for next year. Since I’ve made such amazing progress in all areas of my life this year, I don’t have to be too hard on myself in 2018. I just have to continue doing whatever I am already doing. But there is so much I wish to accomplish. The key to all those things is to start accepting myself completely and to improve my self esteem to a degree that nothing can trigger my inner wound to bleed anymore. I will always have scars, I will always have sore spots – but I have to stop the bleeding for good.

Evolving

I started a new digital collage this weekend. It is a very calm piece, charged of course, like everything else I am making, but more dreamy.

At times I feel like I could be many artist into one. I can be raw. I can be sweet. I can be funny. I can be serious. My art always fluctuate between dreamy images and more nightmarish ones. I think I will always express myself in a dark way – and perhaps I will have more than one nuance of light and darkness in my art – but I believe that I am evolving from a place of pain to something more serene. Just like I am in life as well.

 

 

Shifting blame

Yesterday was therapy day. Another wound revealed and dissected. The healing process behind PTSD and trauma is excruciatingly long and just when you think you are all healed and whole, something triggers an unresolved piece of your wounded soul. If it’s not a psychological memory being triggered, it’s a certain smell, a word, a tone of voice, a song, a mood or an emotional stress that feels too familiar. I have experienced many different kinds of abuse;
emotional
psychological
physical
sexual
ambient abuse

All this, with men who I have loved and trusted (never with any stranger) – so no wonder that it takes such a long time to get over it. I have many wounds to heal and take care of. The biggest challenge for me have been – and still is – to put the responsibility and blame where it belongs; in the hands of the men. None of these men would ever admit to what they have done or the pain and suffering they have caused me. None of these men would ever understand what I have been going through because to them – I was to blame or that I’m overreacting. “You were in it too”. They would say. “You are not innocent”. They would say. Or, “we are both to blame”. But that is simply not true.

Yes, I was there – I was part of the whole toxic dance. I was there because I didn’t know how to get out of it. I was there because I felt shame, guilt and because I was manipulated into staying, through psychological codependency and being emotionally destroyed and mentally weakened. I wasn’t there to hurt anybody. I wasn’t there to make them mad or abusive.

When an abuse victim can’t win with those arguments, the abuser would say; “you are only feeling sorry for yourself and using your victimization to get sympathies from others”. I can assure you that I would just love to just be happy and to feel free from all the pain, fear and anger they have caused me. I don’t want any sympathies, I have so many good qualities that I can share with people, I don’t need to get their sympathy. Deep down, I am a happy person who loves to laugh and making other people laugh (and I am good at it!) – there is no need for me to ‘use’ my PTSD to get people’s attention.

The whole #metoo campaign is such a liberating and empowering revolution for women like me.  It has inspired me to be open about my trauma in a whole new way. I used to feel scared when I was sharing details about it in my writing but now I am using my voice to liberate myself and hopefully other women as well. As I am slowly healing, I am learning how to shift blame to where it really belongs:

I was not to blame
I am still not to blame
the guilt does not belong to me
the shame is not mine
I am free to express myself
I am free to tell my story
I do not deserve to be punished
I am free to heal in my own time
I am allowed to heal in my own way

I don’t care if these men get upset anymore. I let them believe whatever they want to believe about themselves. I only care about my healing process and everything that I have in my life that makes me feel happy and inspired. That is my responsibility, just like other people are responsible for doing the same for themselves.

Another day, another year

The days go by so fast. One is simply replace by the next in the blink of an eye and I am having a hard time keeping up with everything, the apartment is a mess. Johnny will be here in two weeks. At least then, we’ll get to share almost 14 days of vacation days together. I can’t wait.

While life is rushing by and almost away from me at times, I am still working hard with self-empowering work. I think this year, I will only give myself a short to-do-list for 2018:

  1. improve my self-esteem and start believing in myself 100%
  2. finish the work on the new collection, get everything printed and framed
  3. have my first solo show in 8 years
  4. enjoy life, love and creativity without feeling any pressure

I think that’s really all I need to accomplish in a year.

21 days

December 1st, early morning. I can’t believe Johnny will be here in 21 days. I am a workday away from accessing my own world of art and creativity. I have to finish up the digital piece I’m currently working on and start something new and fresh. A new painting perhaps.

Yesterday, I got a notification on Facebook from writer and scholar Line Henriksen that the new special issue of Women, Gender & Research by herself and Morten Bülowa and Erika Kvistad, had been published – with my art ( “Iceland” ) on the back cover! This is yet another reminder that my art belongs out there in the world. I have to wrap up the work on my new collection – and hand it over to the audience. ♥

The perfect space

Will I ever make another art show? Sometimes I wonder. It’s been 8 years since my last solo show. 8 years! I miss the art world and meeting my audience.

It is even a miracle that I have managed to keep one foot still in the art world. I know that I am unique in my style and my expression and that my art is more relevant now than ever, since I’m dealing with themes such as anxiety and the dark sides of female sexuality. I need my art and the world needs my art too. I just have to finish my collection and then find a perfect gallery where I can show my art. It’s a shame there aren’t any suitable galleries to collaborate with here in my city. My art is way too loud to be shown in these “sterile” places. I need a place where my demons are allowed to scream without creating a contrast to their environment.

The “sex palace”

Perhaps I have to look for other places than this one to show my art – but I do want to comeback show in the city where I was born and where all the traumas happened. It feels important to me. Perhaps I can rent a place, a dirty, old space somewhere, like in an abandoned factory or in the fancy but decadent “sex palace” by the river (an old theatre building that has been turned into a swingers club). I want to find a perfect space for my collection because it will be a very special show – the best one I’ve ever made. So far.

I spegelglaset

Det är som om jag vaknar ur en lång och skuggdröm, lite mer för varje dag. Mitt liv har varit fullt av djupa hål av mörk materia och jag lär mig hoppa över dem istället för att falla rakt ned och bli slukad av allt det svarta. Det har tagit lång tid att vakna. Att hoppa istället för att falla. Så lång tid att jag knappt kommer ihåg hur allt började eller vem jag var då. Snuddar tanken vid någon tidigare version av mig själv, drabbas jag av omedelbar panik. Känner hur det spänner i huden – den enda barriär mellan mig och mörkret som dånar utanför mig själv. Mörkret som alltid har ett namn, ett ansikte och kyliga men brännande ord som smattrar likt kulor mot min tunna barriär. Vissa ordkulor gick rakt igenom och borrade sig djupt in i min själ där de förblivit en del av mig. Begravda någonstans inom mig, framkallar de en hård metallsmak så fort de gör sig påminda. Därför begraver jag dem djupare. De blir allt mer obetydliga. Jag lösgör mig från skammen. Den som aldrig var min. Jag släpper taget om skulden. Den bär inte mina anletsdrag. Jag skakar av mig mörkret. Hoppar över alla djupa hål.

Jag betraktar mig själv i spegelglaset. Såsom jag är. Såsom jag alltid varit – fast aldrig fått vara. Jag vaknar. Hela tiden lite mer. Hjärtat vidöppet. Jag ser allt så tydligt. Även mig själv.

“Rebel Girl”

NEW ARTWORK!

“Rebel Girl” by Mia Makila, 2017 [digital], another contribution to the #metoo movement

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My sanctuary

Therapy day. New times, new therapist, new process. Good first session. She made me aware of how abusive I can be towards myself. I think I’ve gotten so used to being judged by others that it has become natural for me to judge myself the same way. I need to be more accepting, warmer, kinder to myself. “If you don’t deserve your own love, who does?” she asked.

It’s been a busy week at the furniture store, because of the black Friday sale. I’ve been creating advertisement material in Photoshop (small collages) but I miss making real art. I want to go deep into my creativity bubble and stay there for days. I haven’t had the time to do that I’m a while –  but this weekend will be my sanctuary. I can’t wait. I need my own world of magic and imagination. That is where I truly belong, far away from any outside pressure or cruel reality.

Hopeful

As I was walking home from work, I felt a new sense of hope that I haven’t felt in a while. I’ve had so many different kinds of closure this year. I have closed the door to my past once and for all. I really have. No more restless ghosts. I am free from it all. And I will try to change the way I look at my past by remembering the good parts instead of being haunted by all the traumas and sorrows. I have a motto that I repeat everywhere in my notebooks so I will remember it: “What I focus on, I shall receive” and I know it works, because I’ve experienced it so many times. I will try to hold on to the motto. It is a key that will unlock so many future doors. I will show you.

Killing every doubt

This weekend I’ve worked hard on my self-therapy by making notes and meditating. Since I have a few hard months behind me, I will do whatever it takes to get back to the place where I finally started to feel happy and confident. I am on the right path again, I can feel it –  I just have to power through.

I have especially focused on the psychological mechanisms behind self-doubt and what I have found is slightly bizarre; I have more doubt when it comes to good things than I have when it comes to bad. For example, I doubt my talents more than I doubt other people’s judgmental opinions about me. It doesn’t make any sense at all. I doubt love more than I doubt other people’s manipulation. But on a positive note, I can easily fix this by teaching my brain to think in new ways – just like I’ve done with so many other things. My new rule is to “only doubt things that doesn’t feel right, never doubt what makes me feel good.” I should never doubt my talent, strength or my intelligence, like I’ve done so many times in my life. Doubt is what ultimately will kill my ambition and freedom of expression, so I have to kill the act of doubting instead.  Nothing will stand in the way of my future career and success, not even my own mind.

Gnistan

Det blåser ute och det viner och tjuter från mina fönster mot kyrkogården. I mig händer det inte mycket. Allt står still. Känner mig torr och fnasig inombords, som om jag flagnar bort lite grann. Har hemsk PMS och känner mig en aning tillplattad efter de kriser jag gick igenom för ett par månader sedan. Måste hitta tillbaka till den där gnistan igen. Den som verkligen definierar vem jag är. Just nu är jag bara en platt pappversion av mig själv.

Ibland önskar jag att min hud var av teflon. Eller järn. Något som inte absorberar allt runt omkring. Något som avvisar andras negativitet, drama, ondska och mörker. Jag önskar att jag kunde välja vilka känslor jag ska känna, istället för att känna allihop,  hela tiden på högsta volym. Den enda känslan som ofta liknar en viskning, är lycka. Jag försöker ge den en röst – det tar tid och jag förstör hela tiden med min förbannade oro och rädsla. Vad är jag ens rädd för?

Livet.

Men det måste levas, jag är faktiskt rätt bra på det – i alla fall när jag drar på mig teflonhuden och låter den där gnistan spraka högre än all rädsla.

Jag klär mig ständigt i andras bild av vem jag är för dem. Jag är ful. Dum. Självisk. En idiot. Tragisk. I deras bild av vem jag är, finns inte gnistan, bara sånt som de anser är fel. I deras bild av mig, finns inte jag.

Jag är här. Lyssnar till vinden. Lyssnar för att se om det sprakar någonstans därinne. Tänker lyssna tills jag hör. Ska klä av mig deras bilder och klä på mig ett lager teflonhud tills jag inte längre känner det som inte tillhör mig.

No movement

I have been trying to write here for a few days now, but it is like there’s something is in the way, something blocking my thoughts. I am also trying to price my art and it feels like pricing my soul. It’s very uncomfortable. My latest collection is really personal, almost private. Next year marks the fourth year of working on it. That’s crazy. I need to finish it and move on.

 

All the different me’s

All of my different sides are visible in my art.

.

I haven’t felt like myself for a while. I’m a little torn between different versions of myself. The office-me, the artist-me, the Swedish-speaking-me and the English-speaking me, the strong me, the scared me etc. It can be a confusing at times. I’ve always had many sides to my personality and also many layers within each side which makes me a bit complicated to say the least. This is also visible in my art. I don’t have one single signature style, but various forms of expressions. I can be raw, I can be cute, I can be dark, I can be colorful. And I can be all those things at once. Even though I win many different followers and collectors by using different techniques and styles, I sort of envy artist with a clear signature style – because they are so dedicated to it. I am too restless, too curious about the next level of expression. I am always moving forward and I can’t go back to a successful style or expression even if I’d want to. When I move on, I never look back. Going back to an old style wouldn’t feel genuine and it would look forced. So, I guess that is my style – to always reinvent myself and my visual expression. On a deeper level, I believe I’ve used my art to rediscover and reclaim all the sides to myself that used to be censored or oppressed by other people.

The stranger

I’ve had some difficult days with health problems. I believe we attract diseases and physical issues which reflect our emotional wounds, almost like a physical manifestation of our heartache. In my case, I’m having issues with my gut (where I believe my core is located) and lately also with my heart. I have had so many years of heartache, anxiety and emotional suffering and it has affected my body in various ways. I have to be kinder to it and give it even more love and care.

PTSD symptoms are often connected to a survival strategy of dissociative behavior. Mine was to separate body and mind so I’d be able to endure painful incidents and uncomfortable situations. I have gotten so used to numbing both the pain and the desires of my body for so  many years, that I don’t know much about what my body wants or likes. In a notebook from a therapy session, I wrote: “my body is a stranger”.

I have worked so hard to change the behavior of my mind but not as much when it comes to changing my physical behavior. I have been talking a lot about the importance of balance – and when it comes to finding a balance between body and mind, I am still looking for it. The mind has gotten all the benefits of my therapy work, so now it’s time to focus on my body, my health and physical connections. I have to learn how to trust my body just as much as I trust my mind. I have to learn how to love it, accept it and how nurture it – and I can only do that by listen to what it has to say. What is is trying to protect? Where does it store the pain? The joy? What does it like? What does it want to do that I’m not allowing it?

I think going back to painting will be the perfect therapy. Working with digital art can be a bit sterile and I can’t wait to get sweaty, messy and drained from some physical labor.

Vädrar ut mörkret

Under en kvävande migrän, slaktar jag gamla spöken. Vädrar ur mörkret. Renar luften i min själ. Har aldrig varit särskilt bra på att stänga mitt hjärta men nu sker det. Jag är ändå för gammal för att ha ett barns vidöppna hjärta. Är alldeles för blåmärkt ända in där det blöder som mest. Hur många gånger har jag gått sönder. Hur många gånger har jag läkt. Antalet förlorade hjärtslag är en massgrav där inne.

Jag tog emot alla som kom nära. Sög nästan, in andra själar i min. Släppte igenom åskan. Deras blixtrar brände sig igenom alla lager. Elektricitetens armar piskade som lavetter på insidan. Allt det mjuka skulle de utplåna, ända tills metallsmaken isade i min hjärna.

Jag drar ihop mig.

Samtidigt lossnar metallsmaken.