This is why I haven’t had any time to write here or to clean my apartment or even take down the Christmas decorations. I have worked really hard on my project of collecting some cool and inspiring artists from Sweden with a little darker expressions – and now we are the ART MONSTERS OF SWEDEN collective! Joining forces with Maria Wingård has been a great source of energy and courage for me. I just know that this journey will be the best one I’ve ever made. It’s like everything that has ever happened in my life have led up to this project and it means a lot to me to be able to contribute something beautiful and fresh to the Swedish art world. You can like us on Facebook but the page is not really active yet. I also have one artist working on making a logo for us. This is just the most exciting thing ever!
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.
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.
One of my favorite works of art.
In the fall of 2013, artist Jordan Wolfson moved to Los Angeles to work with a special effects studio on “(Female figure),” an animatronic sculpture that takes the form of an attractive woman, dancing provocatively in the uncanny valley. Dressed in a negligee and bearing scuffs and dirt marks, what Wolfson calls “the dancer” shimmies and gyrates to a pop music soundtrack. Through advanced facial recognition technology, she locks eyes on the viewers behind her, watching them through a mirror to which she is permanently fixed. Her physical presence is in dialogue with the voice of Wolfson, which emanates from her lips between songs, disclosing the secrets of a male identity. According to the New York-based artist, the sculpture is less about the contemporary woman than the contemporary experience of being looked at—and the violence of that objectification.
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.
…that Mark Ryden liked your art on Instagram… ♥
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
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?
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.
My friend Buddy Nestor made these super cool portraits of me in 2013. I love them all!
Art by Reinhard Stammer