Tower of Babel

I have been so busy lately with art related projects after work, I haven’t had any time over for anything else. The apartment is a mess, all my dirty dishes in the zink look like the tower of Babel and there’s a ton of ideas I haven’t had the time to explore.

At the same time I feel like I am coming close to a limit of what I have to give at the moment. I have to be very careful not to get too overwhelmed or stressed out again. Overcoming the challenges of being all burned out has been very hard and it has taken me almost 10 years to get to a place of feeling energized and focused – but to get burned out again can happen very quickly.  Some days I feel low of energy and a little depressed just because I am so overwhelmed by everything that has to be fixed in order for me to get back into the art world. Finish the collection. Printing. Pricing. Look for galleries. Plan projects.

But what do  – I – need? I don’t ask myself that question very often.

I need to meditate more. I need to laugh more. I need Johnny. And I certainly need to do the household chores more often.

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It started out as a way to survive

“Without Hope” by Mia Makila, 2006 – mixed media on panel

It all started with this one, in 2006 – three years after a very painful divorce with the abuser. “Without Hope” was my very first mixed media collage and it was the first time I felt like I expressed myself in a truly genuine way. It was so much darker and more gloomy than my earlier pieces. I had been working with lighter motifs for a while; jungle landscapes with nudes, crying angels and God knows what else. I had been trying to find my true artistic voice for years but nothing felt right. Not until this piece.

An older version of “Without Hope”

At this point in my life, I was deeply depressed and everything around me was painfully chaotic, to say the least. I started using my creativity as a way to deal with all my traumas  – and I found the perfect outlet for my pain. I could breathe through my art. It allowed me to scream when I felt mute, it made me explode with intensity at the same time when I felt paralyzed by fear and depression – and most importantly; it kept me alive.

I am not really a painter, it’s not where my artistic strength lies but when I am making a collage I felt right at home. As a collage artist, I get to balance the line between destruction and reconstruction,  between the rawness of cutting a picture apart and making something beautiful out of the chaos. I am also balancing between the subconscious and the intellect (it’s quite a Freudian process). So when I started experimenting with collages and mixed media, by cutting out images from old books and vintage magazines and blending them with paint on a canvas, I could go wild with all my emotions. The scissors were like knifes, cutting out my pain, the glue was also highly symbolic because I was emotionally broken to pieces at the time. I used charcoal to demonstrate the dark place of depression. I splattered and splashed paint over the collage like it was blood. Or tears. It was very liberating. For a whole year, I worked day and night with the first collection of the collages. It was a year of catharsis.

Interview from 2007 about the process of making collages.

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“Without Hope” was originally a painting but for some reason I decided to make it into a mixed media piece and everything just clicked. I am still making collages (mixed media) but in PhotoShop. Both my life and my technique have changed since 2006. I no longer use my art as a lifeline but it gives me such a feeling of freedom when I get to destroy something that has been defined as definite and then recreate it to match my own vision of perfection. This way, I am reclaiming my own history. I get to tell my story, piece by piece and to glue my life back together. And my heart of course.

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 ♥

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.

 

 

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.

All the different me’s

All of my different sides are visible in my art.

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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.

Black on black

Dead Lolitas by Mia Makila

“Dead Lolitas” by Mia Makila, 2017 [digital[

I had some kind of breakthrough in my thoughts about my future painting last night. It was wonderful. The Dead Lolita theme has felt old for some time now. I don’t connect with the role of Lolita anymore, I’ve come too far on my journey of self-empowerment. It has been four years since I first got the idea of killing my inner Lolita – and I think I killed her on the way without even noticing. All the artworks for the Lolita show will be included in other collections.

The new theme for a future collection of paintings is “black on black” – whatever that might be. I have worked a lot with demon portraits against a black background and I would say it is my signature style. I love playing around with different nuances of black, adding more life to the dark and, often flat, color. I will also go back to making mixed media pieces instead of just acrylic on canvas – I have some new ideas I want to explore when it comes to my technique. This is exciting! I have already prepared some canvases. All covered with black paint, of course.

Saturday morning

Stranger Things 2

It’s early Saturday morning and I’m watching the second season of Stranger Things in bed. I am also thinking about how clear-minded I feel at the moment. I have rediscovered my path again and I’ll hold on to it harder this time.

Since I have my personal life in order, I will focus on my art from now on. I have a lot of hard work to do. First, I have to price my digital pieces, make a great pricelist and then I have to finish the new collection. Nothing or no one is allowed to come in between me and my art now. I feel ready to make this new journey. The time has come for me to reclaim my career.

 

Forbidden area

At the hospital for another therapy session

Therapy day. I had a lot to talk about this time. I am still a magnet for destructive connections, especially when it comes to men. “If you didn’t have your art, I’m sure you would have been even more self-destructive”, she said. It is not the first time someone has told me that my creativity seem to be a matter of life and death for me. I am so grateful for all my talents – and for being an artist. I have a great outlet for my anxiety and all my fears because of it. A place where I get to deal with all my forbidden emotions – like rage. It is forbidden and out of reach since I have a problem with exposing anger in real life. I don’t get angry, I just get sad, but of course the anger is still there – and I have a lot of it. Just look at my paintings.

I need to take my creativity even more seriously from now on. It is what keeps me balanced. Perhaps it is my fear of anger that makes it so difficult for me to go back to painting, since it is the main element in my visual expression as a painter.

The anger might be my pandora’s box. Once I figure out how to set it free, I’m sure it would both be explosive and liberating. Exposing my anger in a more honest way, is an equally scary as a wonderful thought. It would  be ugly but it would set me free. I have all my talents and my artistic skills as the perfect tools for bringing it out. Writing, visual art, photography. I just have to figure out how to approach the forbidden areas of my mind.

If Michael Jackson could do it, so can I.

Tusen månar

Det är så mörkt ute. Som om någon stulit månljuset, men innanför min hud brinner tusen månar. Jag är fylld av en längtan som läcker igenom varje tanke. Gör mig nästan sjuk. Önskar jag kunde klä av huden och låta månljuset flöda ut över världen. Vill lysa.

A new era

I am done crying, worrying, doubting and freaking out. I am so done with it. From now on, I will laugh more, love harder and only look forward. The crisis with Johnny is over. We have done a lot of soul searching and a lot of thinking, and our personal issues should never interfere with our love story. The home we have built together over the last 3-4 years, is too strong to break. I didn’t understand this until after we broke up. It really amazes me.

It can be so hard to be in a long distance relationship. No eye contact. No physical dimension. Not sharing everyday stuff together. But it is also so rewarding. All we have is communication and talking from the depths of our hearts. Things get more real that way. It is more alive. I have never been closer to anyone in my whole life – even if we have a whole ocean standing in between us.

I am soon leaving for work but I can’t wait till I’ll get back home again so I can continue working on my new digital pieces. I have so much that wants to get out. I have so many stories to share with you.

I am entering yet another era. This will be my favorite one yet, I can feel it.

My natural state

I am finally back to making art again. It’s been 5 months since I finished the last piece in PhotoShop (The Blue Connection). Being creative is my natural state, so I am starting to feel like myself again. I can see that my style has changed a bit since the last 2 pieces. It has shifted from a darker expression to a more delicate and dreamy style. My collage technique has always been driven by a freudian selection of images – but I work on a much deeper level now. My new collection of works will be my most personal one yet. Like visual diary notes. Who needs therapy when you have a talent to dig into yourself and bring it out as an emotional confession through a clear visual expression?

Thursday morning

Thursday morning. Classical music while having breakfast. Enjoying the moment. I started a new piece last night. It will be a new version of the lava house.  I made once of the houses sink to the bottom of the lava ocean while the other one has disappeared into the black sky. It made me cry but at the same time feel a sense of inner peace. I wonder what will happen to the houses. This is such a sad ending to the story, but I have a feeling that they will be fine.

Lunch at the hospital

It is Tuesday and I am having lunch at the hospital before my last dentist appointment together with the therapist in my treatment for fear of the dentist. I have proved to myself that I can conquer my fears and do things that seem impossible to me. I have also studied my anxiety and see how powerful it is – how much damage it causes. To tame and soothe my anxiety is the most important thing now, otherwise I will never be able to liberate myself from my fears nor find the freedom and peace within myself that I have always needed. It is time to grow up and out of all these suffocating layers of self-protection and heavy doubts about what I am capable of.

What am I so afraid of anyway? I have survived traumas and all kinds of crap – I can survive anything that life throws at me.  Am I really afraid of more bad things – or am I petrified of the possibility that life can be easy, drama free and great? Because then, I won’t need to be in constant self-protection mode and that’s when it gets scary. To be vulnerable – and free of all the heavy layers that have worked as protective scar tissue around my soul.

Who would I become if I walked through life while remembering that I can do whatever I want? Who am I becoming just by asking this question?

About my new collection “No Place Like Home”

art by Mia Makila

“The Blue Connection” by Mia Makila, 2017 [digital]

It is early morning and I am thinking about my new collection No Place Like Home and how it was supposed to be a love story. I have been working on the collection for almost 4 years now. From the time I met Johnny until now when we are broken up – you can follow our love and connection by studying my work. A house adrift. Two houses making a connection. Creating a root system. Sparks. Fire. Then – a separation. A disconnection within the root system. And now what? Am I supposed to end the collection about “finding a home” – on a bad note (with The Blue Connection)? Perhaps I have to continue working on it until something comes along that will create a ‘happy ending’? What if I have to wait for years to find my happy ending?

I will continue working on this collection to see where it’ll take me.

Conquering time

The biggest issue I have nowadays is without a doubt the lack of TIME. Especially now when I have two forces playing against each other; the need to rest and relax so my body is feeling OK and the need to be active and finish my new collection so I can rebuild my art career. I have been away from the art world for almost 8 years now. I have so much to do. I don’t have time to rest. This is why I have to conquer time and try to both rest and work in my free time so I can find the perfect balance. There is just not enough hours of the day – I have to create a very strict schedule and to practice self-discipline.

I have money now, to finance new art projects – all I need is the time to actually make them happen. I have no idea where or how I will find time, but I will try my best to get all the pieces of the puzzle together so I can live a balanced life without stress and pressure. I don’t know what’s worse – the pressure from falling behind in my art, or the pressure of having to rest when all I want to do is to make art.

To be able to make money off my art again, I need to finish my collection and to price it – print it – frame it – show it – sell it. And for that to happen, I need TIME.

And all this while having a full time job (which I love), dealing with health problems and a broken heart, planning collaborations, rediscovering sides to myself that I have forgotten about – and building new connections and networking.

I have to find the time to rest and the time to play. Now it’s all work and recovering from work. I know I am not cut out for a normal life – but trying to fit in. I just have to adjust the normality so it fits ME instead of the other way around. Time to conquer time and the freedom to live the life as an artist without getting disrupted by the motion of the hamster wheel.

Raw material

I have been fighting a head cold for a few days and today I had to stay in bed. My head feels like a diving bell.

However, my heart is slowly healing. I am a person who mourns something before it is gone. Like I can sense that it fading out. Dying. How it’s disappearing before it actually happens. This is why it is easier from me to move on – while Johnny, on the other hand, is more present in his grief. We are there for each other and holding each other’s hand through the pain.

Even in dark times like this, I feel stronger than ever. I even feel pretty happy – not in this present situation of course, but within myself.

No wonder I haven’t been able to finish the last piece of my collection about finding ‘home’ in love and life – The Lava House, that was supposed to be the finale piece –  the happy ending with Johnny sailing across the Atlantic ocean (of glowing lava) to my continent. There wasn’t any happy ending and I could not finish the piece because I want to be honest in my art – and on some subconscious level I think I knew it was not a happy piece after all. I guess I have to put this piece aside and start working on new ones and continue the story about the houses. I have some new ideas and the heartache I am going through, is filled with raw material for more works. This collection is therefore still an ongoing project.