Surrendering

I am fighting this overwhelming feeling of fatigue, but I am obviously failing. I think I just have to surrender and stop fighting it. Perhaps I’ve been pushing myself too hard to get back into my routines of creativity and making art. I will try to be more patient and wait it out. I need to rest and stay away from any kind of pressure – especially if it’s coming from myself.

The photo shoot at the haunted hotel is less than a week away. I can’t wait. However it’s the first time I’m doing a photo shoot where I’m mimicking the method of my collaboration with Domenique; coming up with a story, creating characters, planning appropriate make up, costumes and attitudes. The biggest difference this time is that I have to do everything myself. Domenique was a make up artist and a stylist – I am neither. It makes me a little nervous. But if I succeed, I won’t feel as dependent on Domenique anymore.

I’ve spent this weekend trying to sort things, clean and organize my stuff so I can get rid of a lot of furniture – and make room for new ones. I have always loved to get rid of things, it’s more satisfying to me than to go shopping for new stuff. I love the process of change. It feels refreshing and hopeful.

I have a clear vision of how this apartment will look like, once I’m done with all the changes. It will take me a few months until it’ll match my vision. I guess I am being pretty creative after all…

Another morning

It is morning again. My hair is wet. My heart wide-open. And my mind at peace (for now). I had strange dreams but I don’t feel affected by their strangeness. I have a hunger to express myself more. I have so much inside me that wants to be expressed and released. I am craving the magic of making something that has tension – and many dimensions. Living in the real world can be a flat experience. Dry. I want to be a rainfall of love and magic. Let me rain. All over the world.

About freedom

It is early morning and I am on my way to work. I feel so tired – will I ever have enough energy to be creative when I get home after work? This bothers me a little. I am being sucked into real life (into the hamster wheel) and all I can do is hope that the essence of who I am won’t disappear in there.

You sacrifice your freedom to make money, in order to buy freedom because the real freedom makes you limited in this society. It’s messed up. I am not OK with this philosophy but I have no other choices right now. I miss my freedom of having time. But I don’t miss the stress and the constricted feeling of constant worrying about money.

As soon as I’ll have more energy, I will do everything I can do recreate the freedom that I miss, by starting making some real money on my art. That is my goal. This is just a little detour on my path. I know where I am going. I know what I want. And all I want – is my own definition of freedom.

To

be

who

I

am

,

without

making

any

compromises.

The path

I have been feeling very tired lately and today I had to stay home. I can barely keep my eyes open. Zero energy. But I have been sleeping on and off all day, hopefully I will feel better in the morning. I have also been going through all the projects I have in motion right now to sort it out – to prioritize so I can focus on one thing at a time:

  1. Preparing the photo shoot at the haunted hotel on July 29th
  2. Writing on this blog
  3. Finishing the last digital piece (House of Lava) in the No Place Like Home collection
  4. Planning the art collaboration with Mats Tusenfot
  5. Writing on The Anxiety Bible
  6. Pursuing my vision of creating a group of Swedish underground artists
  7. Painting on the pieces for the Dead Lolita collection
  8. Filming myself for Andy’s documentary about me
  9. Looking for Swedish galleries for my comeback show
  10. Preparing for a secret American group show next year

I had an amazing experience while meditating today. I saw this path in a deep forest. It was the path I have been walking on through life. The path I have created for myself. For each step I took, I continued creating the path forward. But there was a place in the forest where the trees were too many. I couldn’t find my way. I felt tired and lost. There was a armchair made of green wicker – I sat down. I knew I had to rest before I could continue my journey. Before I could decide in which direction I wanted to go next. I think this is where I am right now. I have walked on my path for such a long time. I have worked so hard to get to this place where I can finally choose where I wish to go – without any chains or restrictions. I have everything I need in order to achieve any goal or pursuit any dream. I am free now. My past is buried in the distance. My fears are losing substance. I feel stronger than ever before. I feel ready for whatever adventure I want to go for. Now, it’s time to carefully choose where to go next. To create a new path.

Creating our own world

Me and Mats Tusenfot

I feel so high on the raw, creative juices flowing inside my mind right now! I’ve spent the whole day with my artist friend Mats Tusenfot at a café – brainstorming ideas for an upcoming collaboration.  The meeting was, as always, intense and packed with inspiring stories, creative ideas and deep conversations about life, death, sex – and of course about art. I love the warm and glowing energy we generate together just by talking. To me, that is magical, to be able to connect deeply with another artist – with a friend. This collaboration will be a long-term project that will be presented to the public in a future art show. I just know it will be amazing, I can feel it. We share a visual language – you can see it in our artworks and it is rare and beautiful to be able to talk to someone else in a language most people don’t have access to. Through our art, we are able to create a world of our own. This world has its own rules – or perhaps lack of them and a different kind of gravity that pulls us in a direction that feels both familiar and unfamiliar at the same time. It is the feeling of being home but not in the place you usually call home. I love that. Being at the edge of what you know and love – and the great unknown.

Time

Yesterday, with messy hair

I am a little worried about the fact that I can’t seem to get back to working with my art after I come home from work. I need to get back into it – without pushing myself too hard of course. There has to be a balance. Perhaps I have to cut back on my writing project about anxiety – I simply don’t have enough time for all my projects. Time is without a doubt my biggest concern now when I have a daytime job. I finally have the money I need – but less time to make art.

However, I am planning all sorts of future projects. I am very excited about my upcoming photo shoot at this haunted hotel later this month. Karin and my friend Magic Frigren will be my models. It will be a great adventure! I can’t remember the last time I did something as exciting as this.

Every day, I try to find time to meditate, it is how I will stay out of the spinning hamster wheel. It will keep me grounded and centered. It is damn hard to withstand the gravity of that wheel. But I will try my hardest not to get caught it in. Time is precious and I won’t waste it on the wrong things. I hardly watch any TV or films anymore. I try to devote all my spare time to my creative projects, friends and to my relationship with Johnny. He has been holding my hand through all the processes I’ve been going through for many years now, including this big change of getting a job. We talk every morning while I take a walk to my workplace. Every morning is now a source of happiness and laughter. I feel so grateful – and so loved.

 

New ideas

What a great weekend I’ve had. I got to enough rest and relaxation so that I can manage all my ongoing projects for next week – and I also got some new ideas for future projects as well! I am planning a secret one for next year and I have found the perfect theme for the collection of artworks that will follow the two I am working on right now. For me, this is huge! It gives me a direction to walk in. A new path to follow. A path I have to create myself.

 

Thirtysomething

I love the intro music for Thirtysomething including the famous acoustic guitar -mandolin -coke bottle melody.

I’ve ordered a few seasons of the 80’s drama series Thirtysomething that I loved watching when I was younger.  I haven’t seen it in at least 25 years – and it’s weird watching it again when I am now thirtysomething myself.

Me, being thirtysomething

Some themes in the show feel really dated, while others are still relevant and real.

My twentysomething years were horrible,  the worst years of my life. I only have a handful of good memories from those years. Being thirtysomething have been about rebuilding myself and my life and creating a career as an artist.

Me, being twentysomething

 

I still have two more years left in my thirties, then I’ll be fourtysomething. I am really looking forward to it. Like a fresh start. A new era.

I know that I’ve come so far, I’ve reached places I never thought were possible to reach. I am the best version of me that I’ve ever been. But I feel like there still are some missing pieces.  I will look for them in my years of being fourtysomething. It will be the decade of exploration and conquests. I guess it is the nature of a person being twentysomething, but since I lost those years to trauma and PTSD,  I have to reclaim them.

Me, at the age of 27 (when I rediscovered my sexuality that had been ‘killed’ by my abuser and me at the age of 34 when I was having a life crisis and knew I had to lose everything in order to start over – leaving everything behind.)

Being thirtysomething is like building a bridge between the dreams you had when you were young and the reality of life as it really turned out while most of your dreams were crushed but also reinvented.

A break

It is lunch break at work. Another gray day. It has been a gray summer and for that I am grateful. I haven’t been able to be creative at all this week. Yesterday I knocked out right after my talk with Johnny during his lunch break (my 9 pm). I miss my art. I miss to flow with the mojo and dig deep into things. I miss feeling connected to my own private Universe without interruptions. Tomorrow I’ll try to be as creative as I can. On Sunday I have a meeting with another artist from my hometown – which is part of my plan to gather creative people and network so we can collaborate and put together great group shows in the future. I have never been so optimistic about the future before. It is filled with so many good things and they are all waiting for me. The biggest difference about my new future if I compare it to all the futures I’ve been waiting for before, is that I am creating this one from scratch. It will be my masterpiece.

Red

Red has always been my favorite color – and red was a theme in many of Ingmar Bergman’s movies. Perhaps the color red is what connects me to his inner world. The color of the inside. The color of our hearts, the world underneath our skin and the color of our wildest desire – the desire to connect, to bleed into each other’s existence.

The wildest heart

I took a walk home after work. Gray skies. My red hair flowing in the whirling summer winds. But I’ve got sunshine in my heart. I feel so many things. I feel free. Happy. Inspired. But most of all – I feel like I am made of pure love. There is just so much love everywhere. And I think I am crushing on the whole world right now. It is all so beautiful. Everything. This rainy summer. People. My inner Universe. I even feel beautiful to myself right now. But the most beautiful thing is to be alive. I mean – to really be alive. I can feel my heart like it is a a physical place, where everything is wild and free, just like the wind. I feel the glowing heat radiating from it. I wonder if other other people can see it as well?

I will never stop chasing the magic of life because it is the very heart of it. And I need to be in constant movement forward. At least within myself. Where everything is connected to a secret rhythm.  It is where I belong. Me and my wild, wild heart.

Sensual Saturday

It’s Saturday morning and my mind feels sensual and soft. I am absolutely at peace with myself right now. Life is no longer a threat. Is is a gateway to both the magic and the organic state of reality –  the challenge is to keep it balanced. There could not be one without the other. I don’t know why I was born with such a strong connection to the magic elements of life, it doesn’t run in the family, but I treasure it immensely. I am lucky that way. There is never any void. Or flatness. My connection with life has always been intense and raw – and it is not always to my advantage, but I would never want to be without it. Then, I would be indifferent to most things. There would always be filters, walls, high and thick – dense, between me and life. Between me and other people. And in my relationship to myself and my core. My heart is almost always overloaded and stuffed with emotions – I bleed easily. But the heart blood is what separates me from Death, not just the physical one but the emotional one which is much worse. You can follow the trail of blood through my words and my art. It is what makes me visible, not my skin.

“The job of the artist is always to deepen the mystery” ― Francis Bacon

Photo of me by photographer Jonas Tetzlaff, 2010

There is so much I want to do now once I will have money again (starting at the end of the month). I have been broke for almost a decade, which means I haven’t had the chance to invest money in bigger projects or had the chance to travel or do anything other than to survive. It is crazy how I’ve been trying to avoid the subject of money. It has always been a source of distress and pressure ever since my abusive marriage, where I was forced into a financial submission. It has also been mirroring my bad self-esteem and sense of low self-worth. The lack of money has been the last tie to my past, the last cage to escape. I am free now. Finally. I know I am worthy of success and happiness. I am submissive to none.

My plan is to buy some new furniture and plan for my life with Johnny in this apartment. I want him to feel at home, and I will create the perfect home for both of us. Johnny is a writer, so I want his to have a little library, and I will have a studio corner instead of a whole room until we’ll find a bigger place.I will arrange for a local thrift store to come pick up some old furniture, I want to get rid of the fragments of my old life that I still surround myself with. My rent is really cheap so I don’t want to move right now, it will give me the chance to invest money in my creative projects. Making art shows, buying props and things for my photography ideas and to save up for bigger investments. I have so many ideas I want to embody and transform into artistic expression. I have so many dreams to catch.

This is not only the beginning of a new life – it is also a time where I am changing as an artist. I want to be more focused. Tell better stories. Dig deeper into the metaphysical mysteries. Be bolder. More honest. Learning how to be more raw yet more subtle. “The job of the artist is always to deepen the mystery”, Francis Bacon once said. That is exactly what I wish to do.

I have so much inspiration. I have watched this week’s episode of Twin Peaks twice already. I am still too drained after work to be able to work at night, but I will eventually find a balance between work and rest. It is all about finding balance. In everything. That is how you are able to maintain a lasting happiness.

I feel grateful for everything I have in my life. The good thing about overcoming hard times is that you’ll never take anything for granted again. Not happiness, success, money, love or peace of mind. It is truly beautiful and rare to be able to share a short moment in history on this Earth. To experience the deep mystery that is life.

Creating a new world

I am only a few hours away from getting my period, which feels like something is dying inside me but at the same time is quite refreshing. It is a peculiar thing. I have been talking with Mats Tusenfot about a collaboration – and little by little our ideas are coming together to form something of a shared vision. I love that so much.

I am also trying to connect with other creative Swedes (artists, arts and crafts people, musicians, photographers etc) so that I can build my own community of ‘outsider creatives’. I know I have been complaining a lot about how I don’t have a context in the Swedish art world, so now I am trying to actively change it. It makes me feel like I’m actually doing something important – and at the same time I’m gaining new friendships along the way.

I have been creating a new life for myself, now it’s time to start creating a new world to go with it.

The future has never been closer

Self portrait, May 2017

I only have a few more days left until I start my new job on Thursday. I will continue to rest and collect energy. I try to meditate as often as I can.

Johnny and I are building our home, piece by piece and I feel closer to him than I ever have. As soon as we discover an issue or a problem, we solve it by being creative in our communication. It’s a good thing we are both artists. I am missing him so much, but we have learned to live with the frustration of not being able to touch, smell or look each other in the eyes. It is like we have found our own way of doing all those things, on a different level of our consciousness. This is the first time in my life where I feel seen in every way – and loved for everything I am. It is making me feel free to express myself in a louder voice, both socially and in my art. Johnny has had a great influence on my art since I first got to know him in 2013. Being a writer, he inspired me to bring out my own poetry that I started to put into my work the year after our first chat.

Me and Johnny last year

I am excited to find out how we can build something beautiful together in our work too. A collaboration. My future holds so many wonderful things. And I am so close to it now that I can almost touch it.

The last chapter

It is the last weekend before I start my new daytime job. I have been isolated pretty much all week, to keep my focus and my energy clean.

My first apartment, where all the bad things started to happen, 1998-1999.

I have finished the digital piece “The Pink House” – it is the first chapter in the story about my houses. It is based on the pink building where I shared the first apartment with the abuser. It is the first crime scene of my trauma. It is very personal. I have added the color blue in my personal mythology as the color of disconnection.

Now, there is only one piece left, then my collection about the houses is complete. It feels so good. I’ve been working on it for three years now. I have already started working a few new pieces, which will be included in the Lolita collection, and it’s a different tone than in the house collection. I am growing as an artist – growing out of old mannerisms and into new expressions. My latest body of work is much more balanced than my older works. There is a clarity to them, perhaps mirroring my present state of mind, while the old ones displayed my inner chaos.

One of my latest works – “The Blue Connection” and a piece from 2008 – “Holiday In Hell”

But the compositions are the same – I’ve always been a “walking Freudian slip”.

I wonder how my art will transform once I start my new job. I will have less time to create, of course, but I will be more stimulated, both creatively and socially. It means a lot to me. I have made 17 digital artworks this year already, 2 paintings and since my birthday in March when Johnny sent me the camera, I’ve had four photo sessions. I have also launched my writing project The Anxiety Bible (Ångestbibeln) and in early January, I had to recreate the new art site on this site, which was a lot of work. I have worked so hard and I have proved to myself that I can do anything I set my mind to.

I am ready to start a new chapter in my life.

Visitors Center at the Woodland Cemetery, Stockholm

One of my previous daytime jobs was as a waitress at a café (Visitors Center) at the Woodland Cemetery in Stockholm. It was in this beautiful building. It reminded me of The Big Northern Hotel in Twin Peaks. And I loved being surrounded by people who was mourning or visiting the graves of their loved ones and having some waffles and coffee while contemplating and enjoying the summer heat, in the middle of the woods.

As this weekend eventually comes to an end and my digital collection about the houses as well, my old life will end too. It is the best feeling ever.

The tension between reality and fantasy

Watching the return of Twin Peaks was truly the biggest art experience I have ever had in my life. I know it sounds dramatic – but that is how I feel. The first time I had such an overwhelming feeling of inspiration and being absolutely at home in any artistic expression, was when first I watched the last two episodes of the second season of Twin Peaks. Yesterday, I sat with both my eyes and my jaw wide open throughout all the four hours of pure David Lynch. I was literally in heaven. That is my definition of heaven – to be part of a creative expression – my own or other people’s visions. I don’t believe in an afterlife, partly because I wouldn’t want to be alive in a dimension where the tension between reality and fantasy doesn’t exist. What a nightmare. I wouldn’t want only fantasy or only reality. It’s the tension that creates art and they feed off each other so perfectly.

People often assume that I enjoy watching horror movies or indulge in neo-gothic art. But it is very difficult for me to find good horror films that don’t include all the worn-out cliches and lame plots with moral punchlines. Instead I enjoy surrealism, psychological thrillers and deeper expressions. I love mysteries, perhaps that is why I am so attracted to the true crime genre.

My inspiration comes more from movie directors than from other painters. I prefer the perfect and ‘sterile’ surface of a digital piece than the physical textures of a painting. Like it is a TV screen. I like to see the flat surface as a mirror instead of the properties of an actual object. People are still suspicious of this flat surface, because they can’t trace my labor in it – there are no ‘finger prints’, no brush strokes, no mistakes or flaws. Just like in movies – or in the photographs of Cindy Sherman. It is an illusion of perfection. All the ‘flaws’ in my digital work are planned and wanted. Controlled.

I like directing worlds more than I like being transported into them. After working with Karin who’s an actress, I do wonder what it would be like to be a movie director. It comes so natural to me. I even try to direct poor Andy when he’s filming the documentary about me.

Right now, I am so filled with inspiration from the new Twin Peaks that I don’t know what to do with it. I have started a new piece already. But I feel like I have so much more to explore that I have yet to define as visions. How exciting.

I think I have to watch the four first episodes all over again. This is Paradise. To be consumed by the tension between reality and fantasy.

My new photo session with Karin

“Karin”, photography by Mia Makila, 2017

Yesterday’s photo shoot with Karin turned out to be a magical experience. My vision was to capture Karin in her “natural habitat” – and since she is an actress,  we borrowed the stage of a local theater.

Karin is like a delicate flower, but I see so much more in her, hiding beneath the surface. I see a need in her, to demand both space to reign and attention for who she is, who she could be and who she wants to be. This really fascinates me. Karin is so sweet and a little shy – but through our collaborations I wish to give her the freedom to explore her other sides as well. Sides that are difficult for any girl to explore without feeling awkward and apologetic. I had brought some wigs with me and decided to try to draw out unexpected sides of her through different characters. It is the same method I used in my photo projects with Domenique. Nothing happened after she put on a blonde wig, but adding red lipstick set her free in exploring the psyche of a different character – or her own hidden personalities. I loved the transformation. I could see it both in her eyes and in her body language. Now she claimed the stage in a whole new way.

After that, we were able to create magic together:

I enjoyed every second of the shoot. She really is a muse. We connect through the camera. I was running back and forth to the mixing table that controlled the light, dragging heavy furniture up onto the stage and crawling around on my knees around Karin to find the best angles. I also found a big ceramic panther backstage that I used in the shoot. It was a perfect complement to illustrate her hidden wildness. After the shoot I felt exhausted but very satisfied. Andy was also there to capture me with his film camera.

However, I couldn’t help feeling a little guilty for enjoying the experience with Karin so much, I felt like I was somehow cheating on Domenique. It has been a long time ago since I worked with Domenique but she was the only model I used in my projects for almost 15 years. I have to let go of the guilt and set myself free as a photographer. And there is a big difference between how I approach my two muses. Domenique was a model and knew exactly how to act in front of the camera, I just had to keep up with her poses with my camera. Karin on the other hand is an actress and dependent on my direction and visions to deliver whatever I’m asking​ for. I love how I am slowly turning into a director with her, it is a new way of thinking but feels absolutely natural to me. Perhaps I’ll be directing movies in the future, who knows.

Domenique and Karin. Photography by me.

outtakes:

Two pieces away

Some of the pieces for my art show “No Place Like Home”

Things are really starting to come together now, piece by piece. I am proud of myself for having achieved so many good things already this year. I am now only 2 digital pieces away from completing the body of work for my art show “No Place Like Home” – one of the two new collections of artworks. It feels wonderful to be this close to finishing the story about finding a home (in the world, in love, in oneself). I have been working on this collection since 2013. The two digital pieces I have yet to finish are “The Pink House” – which is the beginning of the story, and “The House of Lava” – which is the last chapter in the show.

I will also launch my Swedish writing project on Sunday this week – it’s another blog but more like a scrapbook, which will hopefully turn into a book one day.

Sunday thoughts

I find it hard to be relaxed in front of the camera when Andy is here to shoot scenes for the documentary. It is not easy to just be my ‘everyday self’ like that, which is a little absurd. Being oneself should always be the easiest thing. I need to let go of the ego and stop trying to control how I look or how I come across. I guess I am so used to feeling judged by others that it is difficult to trust that there aren’t anyone there to judge when I’m being caught off guard by the camera.

I am also very good at trying to hijack other people’s projects, to make them my own. It is a natural instinct, to make – create –  follow visions. It is not natural for me to follow other people’s visions, but it’s a good exercise in trusting other people to lead me to good results, being self-taught and all. In everything I do, I try to learn as much as possible – I believe knowledge is the key to any form of success, personal or career wise.

Today I have to answer the interview questions for French online magazine Konbini. The questions are both fun and makes me think about my art from a different perspective.

Somewhere in between

I feel so full of life and energy right now. My mind is a bottomless source of new creative ideas. Good thing I have my meditation, otherwise my mind would never go quiet. At the same time, I feel both grounded and centered. I have been going to some job interviews lately and I am finally on the right path. I know now how and where to use my creative resources and I’ve found the direction for my future work challenges outside my own career. This is a huge change for me and I feel proud of myself for the hard work I’ve done to get to this point. It wasn’t that long ago since I had no idea how to use all the knowledge and the experience I’ve collected throughout the years working as an artist. Being an artist is so much more than just being creative in the studio. You have to have a sense for business, you have to know how to market yourself and your art, you have to create a brand, a place in the art world, you have to network and build relationships with galleries, customers, collectors, fans and with the audience in general. Then there is the ‘nitty gritty’ work of practical things, such as wrapping the artworks – and shipping, tracking and signing DHL delivery papers.

In the future when I have more money, I will hire an assistent to do all the other stuff for me, because it is what made me crash during the years I was pretty successful. At least now I know my weak spots. I definitely have to get better at the business stuff and perhaps a day time job can work as an business education for me as well as a place where I can explore and refine my other great resources. I feel very inspired and ready to take on new challenges.

And while all this is happening, I am working with Andy on the Swedish documentary about me and my art. He will come over in a few hours to shoot some scenes. This is all very surreal and a little bisarre but also fun and beautiful. This is a time in my life where I am planning my comeback as an artist and it’s exciting to not know how this comeback will tun out, both for me and for an audience as well. I might fail or I might make it big – and the reality of it will most likely be found somewhere in between.

A turning point

My Swedish writing project is soon ready to launched, perhaps in a week or so. I feel really good about it. It is not only a writing project, but also an initiative, a space for like minded people to connect on a deeper level. This project has so much potential and can grow in many different directions. I will link to it once it’s up and running.

“Anxiety” by Mia Makila, 2017 (digital)

I have made a new version of my digital piece Anxiety (which is based on the face in last year’s work Bones of Rape). And I have been planning more digital pieces – I have so many new things I wish to express in my work.

I keep growing out of old and twisted self images and destructive patterns that has kept me in locked positions in various relationships and situations. It is such a liberating experience and it opens up new possibilities to express myself in a more free and direct way. I think this is the turning point where I am finally able to break my fear and replace it with necessary and positive anger so I can stand up for myself when I need to – instead of my old patten where I kept quiet and allowed myself to be abused and humiliated. I have certainly come a long way. I never thought I would be able to break away from all the fear and insecurities. It seemed like they had become part of me – part of my identity. Luckily, I was wrong. Writing in my secret diary ‘the book of wrath’ has been one of the best things I’ve ever done. Learning how to be angry is amazing. It used to frighten me so, but it is truly the key to self-preservation and keeping the core safe and intact.