First artwork of the year finished and the comeback collection completed! 4 years of hard work!
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.
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.
“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.
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.
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.
As I am trying to make room for my upcoming collection “No Place Like Home”, I’ve decided to get rid of some older pieces. I am selling these two pieces from 2012 to a great price, both are matted and ready to be shipped. I accept international PayPal payments and Swedish bank transfers. If you want to adopt a piece, send me an email: email@example.com
TESS by Mia Makila, 2012, digital collage. 30 x 30 cm + white border. Matted. Original print 2/10 printed with high quality pigment ink on archival paper (Hahnemühle Photo Rag 308g). Signed and numbered by the artist. 4500 SEK (
7500 SEK), 463 EURO, 537 USD
HAPPY DAY by Mia Makila, 2012, digital collage. 30 x 30 cm + white border. Matted. Original print 1/5 printed with high quality pigment ink on archival paper (Hahnemühle Photo Rag 308g). Signed and numbered by the artist. 4500 SEK (
7500 SEK), 463 EURO, 537 USD
This little character is very dear to me.
Blood ties woven with heavy strokes. The bruises of the heart, shining like stars above our dance of death.
My new painting is finished! I put a lot of work into it and I feel great. This piece is very personal and has a lot of emotions mixed into it.
Here is what the first draft looked like:
My core expression is always found in simplicity, clarity and in the raw, captured emotions i wish to express.
Writing in my new diary, the book of wrath, is truly liberating. And when was the last time I did something creative just for my own pleasure? I’ve become so used to the idea of publicly displaying all my innermost feelings and thoughts that the lines between what is private and public have become blurred and distorted. Keeping a secret journal is good practice. I can see how I have used wrath in my art as an outlet, but it’s always mixed with fear, like in my painting The Virgin from 2010. From now on, I want to separate the two emotions.
I don’t like the fact that I am still so mentally fragile and sensitive to external negativity – but I have to accept that this is who I am right now and I know exactly why I’ve become so sensitive. It is not my fault. The same thing happened last summer when there was a wave of rape cases and sexual assaults, here in Sweden. It really got to me. That is when I made the two digital pieces about rape (The Little Man and Bones of Rape).
But I believe that once I’ve found the voice to my wrath and anger, it will be easier for me to deal with external dark energies. I don’t have as thick skin as other people. Just look at my paintings and you’ll see vulnerable layers of melting skin, rashes, open wounds and exposed nerves.
What I need is thicker skin and I think that’s exactly what I am working on right now with my new diary and being aware of how other people are treating me. The lack of rage and wrath has left me too vulnerable, too much of an easy prey for narcissists and abusive personalities. Once I am able to get really, really mad when I need to, instead of suppressing anger and becoming depressed and sad – I will be unstoppable in my creativity as well. I have a good confidence, but my self-esteem is still pretty shitty. I can’t wait to be able to throwing tantrums in the heat of the moment instead of keeping it all locked up inside and exploding hours later when I am all by myself and it’s too late to stand up for myself. It will be the crowning achievement when it comes to overcoming the traumas of my past.
Sanpaku is a Japanese term meaning “three whites,” and is generally referred to in English as “sanpaku eyes” and refers to eyes in which the white space above or below the iris is visible.
I have always been fascinated with eyes. It is the place where I connect or feel disconnected to other people. And it is the most important element in my art. I always start out with the eyes, working my way from there like they are the gravity of the piece. The eyes is the heart of my portraits.
You can see the raw emotion I am going for, concentrated in the eyes. Madness. Fear. Rage. Horror. I love exploring these emotions through the eyes, especially eyes with three whites visible instead of the normal two. These eyes are called Sanpaku eyes, where three whites are visible; extra white below iris (yin) which comes from a long-term pressure of feeling inferior or from stress – or extra white above iris (yang) which is an indication of a manic, psychotic state, superiority or madness.
When I was abused – I got to know the yang sanpaku eyes up close, and how they got dark, almost black right before I was attacked. It was scary. Perhaps that is one reason why I work with “crazy eyes” in my art, as a way to deal with the memories.
These eyes can be so intense, yet so distant, like they are looking right through you. I read a theory about yang sanpaku eyes – which is seen in many killers and psychotic people – that their sanpaku eyes is an indication of how lost they are in their own imagination. When you are using your “inner eye” and the imagination is activated, you open your eyes wider. Try it. Look in the mirror and let your imagination take over, you will see extra whites around iris. It’s hard to catch yourself daydreaming, but try to study other people who are daydreaming and watch their eyes expand. It could be that killers and psychotic people, who have a deeply distorted sense of reality are so lost in it, and in that “daydream state” all the time. It’s just a theory but an interesting one.
Notable examples of people with yang sanpaku eyes:
I will make more research about sanpaku eyes and about how eyes can tell stories about our hearts and minds. I want to get even better at capturing the essence of madness, rage, fear and horror in my art. I never want to be too obvious, I prefer strong yet subtle expressions. That’s what makes it such a fun challenge.
I end this post with my favorite sanpaku girl – Laura Bush (perhaps just in one unfortunate photo).
I found some videos regarding my digital work “Maria” on my computer and uploaded them on YouTube. The first one is footage from the photo shoot with my muse Domenique in 2009 and in the second video I’m presenting the printed work in 2015.
It has been overcast and cold for days now. I am feeling a little grey as well. There is so much negative energy in the world and I’m really sensitive to it. I wish there was something positive I could add to the world, something beyond my art and my writing – I wish I could contribute more. I am not a political artist but it’s important for me to keep working with themes like female sexuality, trauma and humiliation in my paintings. It is not a good time for women, even though we have come a long way since the really bad times. We still have a lot of battles to win, especially when it comes to our bodies.
Because I’m dealing with female sexuality, fear and rage in my work, people often ask me if I consider myself to be a feminist – and they are often surprised when I tell them that I’m not. Then they want to know why. To me it’s simple; I am not a feminist because I believe in common sense, decency, equality and humanity. It should not be about gender and which side you’re on. As long as we are dividing ourselves like that – feminists vs sexists etc, there will never be any equality. Just like I don’t go around saying I am “immigrant friendly” to show that I am not a racist. To me it doesn’t make sense to label myself as this or that when I am using my mind and my heart as a compass. Then I don’t need it. It is only necessary if we use our insecurity, our ego, ignorance or fear as a compass. But then it is an indication that we are not connected to our core voice – or that we have lost it to some other belief as a compensation for the pain of not being able to connect with our inner voice. Those beliefs are often promoting our ego and sense of superiority or entitlement. That’s when the core belief becomes a ‘we against them’ thing. I think this is especially an experience for younger men who feel pressured to look away from their core – because it is the place of vulnerability and self-intimacy, things which are of low priority for boys and men – or perhaps even taboo.
It comes natural for me to believe that we are all equals as humans, something that goes beyond labels and ‘ism’s. Who cares about race, skin color or gender, it’s so superficial. I don’t like to talk about superficial matters. I have green eyes. I was born with blond hair. My skin is very fair. I have a pussy. None of these things will ever define me.
The real issue is about how we behave towards other people and how we perceive ourselves. If we are good, bad, indifferent, ignorant, open, honest, warm or cold. If we are tolerant, intolerant, engaged, disengaged or if we are real or fake. Those things come without color or gender.
I have been bullied by girls and abused by men. I have been best friends with both men and women. I have betrayed both men and women. I have been betrayed by both sexes. I have been good, I have been bad. I have loved men who were bad and men who were good. The point is that we all have a choice to be a good or a bad person and that we hurt each other and we get hurt because of bad choices. I don’t believe that people are born good or bad. It is a choice. And what I’ve learned is that the worst people are also the most wounded. Suffering leads to more suffering. Hatred leads to more hate. The most dangerous person is a self-proclaimed victim – because they feel entitled to hurt other people while seeking justice or vengeance. This is how people get radicalized, why some people use psychological or physical violence on others and why there is war in the world.
The word ‘feminist’ to me is just that – a word. I am more about taking action – to share my experience of being a woman in this world, through my art and my writing. I am trying to dress the abstract feelings of humiliation and shame in colors and an artistic expression, things that women struggle with a lot when it comes to our self-images, bodies, our sexuality and capability. But I am not dealing with these subject matters because I take a political standpoint as a feminist – but because it is hard to figure these things out and if I can make some sense of it, then it’s my obligation to pass it on. Knowledge is a powerful thing. And in the end, my experience of myself and life is not that unique. It is simply nuanced slightly different that yours. The nuances is what makes it interesting. The nuances can create understanding, tolerance and acceptance. And if I can contribute with my personal nuances to other people’s monochrome views and visions of themselves and the world – then I feel like I’ve done some good in this life.
Strong inside but you don’t know it
Good little girls they never show it
When you open up your mouth to speak
Could you be a little weak
Hurt that’s not supposed to show
And tears that fall when no one knows
When you’re trying hard to be your best
Could you be a little less
– Madonna “What It Feels Like For A Girl
A digital work from 2012