NEW PIECE! “Never Good Enough”

NEW PIECE! “Never Good Enough”, mixed media on black paper, 3500 SEK (+ shipping), 26 x 16 cm matted. If interested, send a message in the contact form.

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In between the delicate and the raw

I have been studying alternative art forms lately. I want to unleash more. I want to be bolder, more raw and experimental. But also more poetic, more sensitive and delicate. It is like I have to sides to my artistic voice – and perhaps even to my personality.

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Work in progress

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Work in progress and the finished ones in my new collection of works

I have a very controlled side – where the melancholy and the seriousness lives – and then I have this wild side where there are no limits to the playfulness in the raw emotions. Maybe it’s the Pippi-Bergman thing again. I love my two sides but they have a tendency to clash sometimes and it’s not a good match. I need to learn how to separate them so they are pure in their very different expressions. The magic is in the pureness – and being fully committed to a psychological state or the juxtaposition of two raw emotions (like fear and happiness or rage and playfulness).

Where do I belong?

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Me at the opening of my debute solo show as a horror artist, 2007

For the first time ever, I’ve tried to define myself as an artist and my style in an artist statement for my new website. It’s really hard. What is my ambition as an artist? What drives me? What genre does my art belong to? I’ve gone through many styles throughout my career;  neo-victorian horror, lowbrow, gothic, popsurrealism and art brut. Perhaps it’s because I’ve gone through so many personal transformations as well. My styles vary a lot but I do see a theme running through all my works – balancing the raw and the delicate.

I feel at home in genres like primitive art, naÏve art, folk art and outsider art – with a twist of lowbrow.. But am I an outsider artist? I do feel like an outsider and I deal with traumas and primitive expressions in my art but an outsider artist lives completely outside society’s conventions and rules. Perhaps I’m too obedient to consider myself to be an outsider artist. But I could make my own art genre. Primitive expressionism? Outsider-lowbrow? It’s really hard. The word ‘outsider’ rings true to me because I’m also an outsider in the Swedish art community. I Googled ‘outsider art’ in my hometown and the word or concept doesn’t even exist here:

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I feel like this could be my future mission – to create a place for myself and other artists like me – and people who belong to the outsider genre but doesn’t even know they are artists because they live in mental institutions or are isolated in some way. It would be a beautiful mission.

The bald and the beautiful

What a strange night. The church bells kept ringing for an hour. In the morning, I woke up to rain and feeling slightly off. But I’m working again, painting on ‘The Wound’. and coming up with new ideas for more paintings. It’s funny, every time I add hair to my characters, it ruins the whole expression. I can’t do hair for some reason. I ended yesterday’s work with making the character bald and I felt better about it.

Some of my baldies:

And characters with hair:

I’ve been losing a lot of hair this year, due to stress, and it is one of my biggest nightmares to become bald and completely hairless. I love my hair, it makes me feel feminine and beautiful. A lot of my sexuality is in my hair, I don’t know how to explain it.

Perhaps the core expressions – embodied in my demons, have to be as bald as they are bold because they are not about gender, identity or beauty. They are human, deeply intimate – channeling our inner child and spirit and who we are at the core. Something that is real and raw and connects us all. Hair is a superficial part of the human body – I go deeper than that. My demons even lack skin. So to put a fancy hairdo on top of their heads is like decorating a Christmas tree, it takes away from what they want to say. What I want to say. What the core has to say.

New MIA MAKILA article and interview by art consultant Rosa JH Berland

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I feel very flattered and grateful to have been interviewed by the talented art curator/consultant Rosa JH Berland on her amazing blogIt’s always fascinating to get your art analyzed by someone who has a deeper understanding of both art and the human mind since they are so connected. You can read the interview here.

A quest to find a new place in the art world

Exciting inner creative processes are in motion. I know what I want to accomplish next in my art career – with a future art show and it’s gonna be different from anything I’ve done before. Less shocking perhaps but more personal and poetic. It is so god damn hard to let go of my old career because it was everything I had ever dreamed about, but at the same time I couldn’t take the pressure that came with it – and it was killing my creativity. And when you think about it, it’s not a difficult choice; to choose creativity over past achievements. It’s not about looking backwards anyway – and what really kills creativity is any form of comparison, even if the comparison is to your own past achievements.

My art in the “UPSET” art book of contemporary lowbrow artists, 2010

I need a clean slate, a fresh start and a new place in the art world. I’m letting go of my old artistic position as part of a movement or style – I am my own genre and I am flexible in both expression and style.  It was very tempting and very flattering to be part of the lowbrow art movement and the pop-surrealist community, because I’ve never felt at home anywhere, socially. It was like I found my people, but at the same time it was holding me back and I started to adjust my style and the motifs to fit the movement or the group shows. I won’t do that again. I’m ok with being an outsider or at least not part of any group. The struggle will be harder when I walk alone but without compromising my artistic integrity and my genuine expression.

Although I am very proud to be one of the pioneers of the digital art movement – what I like to call “the digi wave”. I have many friends and colleagues surfing the digi wave in the art world.  Their digital techniques and expressions vary a lot. Here are some of them;

Sonya Fu

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Aeron Alfrey

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Casajordi Bousquet

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Alexander Jansson

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A change of heart

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Selfie, 2011

Everything feels a bit off and weird right now. I can sense a change coming. Another one. I can feel it. This time, the change is coming to me, I’m not forcing any processes to happen – it’s not coming from me. It makes me feel a bit lost. At times, I forget that I’m on this inner journey – I find a new level of my own consciousness and I feel awakened, like that’s the new reality for me to live in. But then, another breakthrough happens. I get these powerful realizations. Insights. The misfit pieces, suddenly have found the right places in me. Things that used to make me confused, suddenly makes more sense. I connect the dots. I see the bigger picture. Or I spot the lost and forgotten details, which are so crucial when it comes to understanding the bigger picture. This happened to me this week. Twice.

And here I am, not knowing what to do with what I found in myself this week. It is both liberating and also fucking scary, because this realization kind of forces me to change course in my art. I was NOT expecting that. I’ve been going with this ‘finding my way back to my art and the wonderful juices of creativity’ mantra for a couple of years now – and I thought I was in a steady place. In a place where neither doubt or a change of heart, could ever touch me. Boy, was I wrong.

The meeting with Mats Tusenfot and talking about the purpose of creativity inspired many new thoughts about my own art. I heard myself tell him (with no insecurity at all): “My digital art is my most true artistic expression, painting has too many limitations, digital art is where I can say what I want to say.” What the hell was I saying – why did I say it? Did I really mean it? Ever since I was 15 years old I’ve been painting and it’s been such a big part of my identity. That was how I started out as a young artist, I was a painter, and that is the core of my creativity and my artistic voice – isn’t it? My artistic voice is made out of colors in tubes, the smell of canvas, charcoal dust – it is not speaking in a binary language translated into hi res images and textures of clouds, waves and grungy walls in a folder on my computer, right? This is very confusing to me. Is my love for painting not the same thing as what I should be doing as an artist? Is my love for digital art forbidden and cheap?

I need to figure these things out. And even if I feel a little lost and even if change can be a scary thing – I am not scared. The only thing I am certain of is that this is a time for a change that will lead to something lasting and steady. When it’s over, I will not have to struggle with self-doubt anymore and I won’t feel like I don’t know what my true artistic expression is. It is time to figure it out, once and for all. When I think about it – I’m  not at all lost right now – I think all these uncomfortable questions is a result of me taking control of every area of my life, including these sensitive matters. Because now, I am ready to explore who I really am as an artist. I know who I’ve been, I know who I became when I lost my way, I know what I am made of and what I’m capable of – but I still need to find out what my art really is about, so I can become everything I was born to be – and do what I was born to do. To be able to fulfill my life’s purpose. What a great journey I’m on. I am on my way.

I am on MY way.

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Selfie in my studio, 2009

“THE BONES OF RAPE” BY MIA MAKILA

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“THE BONES OF RAPE” BY MIA MAKILA, 2016 [digital]

Detail studies:

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The anatomy of a broken sexuality. Rape is a complete murder when it comes to the victim’s spirit and sexuality, but yet it’s treated by our laws as if it’s a minor crime. Rape is not only a violent attack, rape can be many things – even having sex with your partner when you don’t feel like it but that is ignored or when a ‘no’ is not enough for someone to leave your body alone. This piece was difficult to make, but it felt important.

Upcoming collaboration with Candice Angelini

Yesterday it was decided that I’ll be working with the French artist/sculptor/designer Candice Angelini in an upcoming art collaboration – and I totally am over the moon about this! Our inner worlds seem to be related with the elements of innocence and horror expressed through our art. I will use some of her masks and sculptures and create a whole world for them through my digital art. I am sure we will make an art show too, however I’m still too broke to invest money in art projects – but working with my art and being creative is all I need now anyway, the rest will follow. I will keep you updated about the collaboration, can’t wait to get started!

Primitive surrealism

I’ve made a fun journey through different styles in my art. I started out as a surrealist. I was 16 years old when I finished my first real painting – a surreal self portrait. Then, I moved on to explore expressionism, cubism, more surrealism and then some kind of  a primitive realism.

Works from the time before I found my true artistic voice [1995-2005]:

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It wasn’t until I suffered a deep depression in 2006 that I started using my creativity and my art as therapeutic expressions. I also joined the European Lowbrow movement – that later turned into Popsurrealism. It was in the “big eyes-large-head” mannerism of Popsurrealism that I eventually would lose myself and my artistic voice – and then get blocked and mentally paralyzed for almost 7 years. The cutesy stuff was bad for me, it’s just not who I am. I’m raw and direct both as a person and as an artist. I don’t sugarcoat things. I use a lot of humor in my art but it’s never cute.

My boyfriend, who’s really clever and very perceptive when it comes to me and my art, came up with a good description for the paintings I’ve done post hiatus: “primitive surrealism”. I like it. I’ve always felt at home in primitive art and in surrealism so I guess both genres have helped me develop my own style and visual expression. From now on, I’ll call myself a primitive surrealist. It’s perfect.

Painting styles post depression [2006-2016]:

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It’s interesting to see how many similarities but also how many differences there are between my physical artworks (paintings, drawings, collages) and my digital art. I have gone from chaotic compositions in both my physical and my digital art to simplicity and stillness, but in my paintings I’m so much more raw and colorful, whereas in my digital art I’m more cinematic and poetic – perhaps because I’m also writing poetry on my computer, perhaps there’s a connection there.

My digital art [2007-2016]:

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Inside my box of cut outs

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Here is a photo of my box of paper cut outs from 2008. I collected these vintage cut outs that I found in old books and magazines and used them in my mixed media collages that I made during the years 2006-2009. I used to buy erotica, porn magazines from the 1960’s, science books, art books etc and totally destroyed them with my scissor and created a new context for them in my art. It was a fun creative process, totally freudian and surreal.

A video from 2007 where I show how I used to play with these cut outs in my art.

 

Some of my mixed media pieces from 2006-2009:

Redefining my “creativity blockage”

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Some of the artworks I’ve done during my so called “creativity blockage” (I couldn’t make  them all fit). This makes me confused – this is what creativity blockages looks like?…

One of the best things about the human mind is that we have the power to change the way we look at things – and the new perspective will present us to a whole new world. We can go from being in a bad place to a good place. We can be sad and then something will make us laugh. We can be wrapped in negativity – but if we untangle ourselves from the gloomy and judgmental mindset, we are able to see things from a more positive viewpoint. This what I’ve been doing lately, and it’s definitely becoming my new hobby.

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I got this new easel as a birthday gift when I turned 30. That’s when I just stopped having fun when I was painting, and the creativity process turned into a struggle – and 6 months later, I stopped working all together. I felt blocked, and it would last for almost 7 years.

I have been thinking a lot about my creativity blockage lately. I don’t feel blocked anymore – I am simply waiting for the right time to start working in my studio again. I want to feel ready. I am almost there now. The creativity blockage lasted almost 7 years, but was it really a blockage, perhaps it was something else?

It felt like I was in a war with myself. Forcing ideas, self-loathing, wanting to change my style because I thought it wasn’t good enough, feeling disgusted by every single brush stroke that seemed wrong, the stress, the identity crises – who was I when I wasn’t making art? I also saw my career slip away – and I let it happen. Since I consider my art to be an extension of myself – a big part of me was missing. I felt cut in half. I felt amputated. I felt desperate and confused. And very sad. It was almost like a friend had died. I felt nauseous just walking into my studio. I felt scared. Scared of the constant failures. I worked. I cried. I screamed. I hated whatever I was working on. It always ended with me painting over the thing with black paint and then throwing it in the garbage. And then I cried and screamed some more. It was the worst kind of torture an artist can imagine.
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Stockholm, 2011 – one of the most painful years of my life. My creativity had abandoned me – or was it me who had abandoned my creativity and perhaps even myself?

I wrote this in my diary in 2010:

“It is more natural for me to not create now than to be creative. My paint and brushes are stored away in transparent boxes and waiting for this paralysis to disappear so I can use them again. 

It’s like all of me is in this invisible, transparent storage box that separates me from my true identity, and from my desire to create. A coffin if you like. For I feel dead in so many ways. It is not an exaggeration or emotional debauchery – but an honest feeling that is rooted deep inside in my core. ” 

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The making of “My Neighborhood”, 2012 about the three buildings where I lived together with the abuser.

2012 was a real turning point for me. I was diagnosed with PTSD and that’s when I began my inner journey in trauma therapy treatment. I slowly began to come undone – and layer after layer of pain and fear started to melt away. Things started to make sense and I could see that everything in my life was all wrong. My relationship, the environment, my behavior, feelings and thoughts. Everything. I could see that I had abandoned myself completely. I knew I had to change everything in my life. I knew I had to be brave enough to say goodbye to everything I had ever known to be real and true.
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Now I am here. Living a new life. With a new way of looking at things. And I have decided to look at my creativity blockage as something that was painful but so very helpful. When I stopped painting in 2010 – I didn’t really stop making art all together – instead I was exploring digital art. I didn’t really consider it art at that time. I was just playing around in PhotoShop. But with time, I got really good at it. During my creativity blockage, 2009-2016 I’ve made over 70 digital artworks. I am considered to be one of the finest digital artist in my genre. In 2013 my digital artwork “The Crash” was included in an all-digital group show at Strychnin Gallery in Berlin.
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When I put my career to sleep I suddenly had all this time to spend on myself. If I hadn’t been blocked I would never had the time to work so hard to overcome the PTSD and the traumas. I would still have all that cluttered chaos inside my mind. I feel very grateful to myself that I had the courage to change everything I needed to change in order for me to be happy again. It’s been such a long journey. I’ve also had the time to ask myself what I want to do with my life, who I want to be and what really matters to me and what I can live without. And now I have found a more honest place for my creativity. My art will be more personal from now on. It’s been an incredible time of awakening and self-empowerment. I feel very lucky to have reconnected with my core again. Through the process of growth and enlightenment I have also found my true love.
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With Johnny, 2015

When I look back the creativity blockage I can see it wasn’t so much an artistic blockage as it was a self-abandonment. Somewhere along the way, I stopped believing in myself. I was punished by haters and started to project their hate onto myself. I shrunk into myself. I started to believe I wasn’t even worthy of my own success. No wonder I just stopped working as an artist.

I am slowly reclaiming my creativity, my talents, my strength and my success. I have learned so much from this involuntary hiatus and I will use it as experience to add to my future career. And I will never abandon myself again. Ever.
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And when I look at all the artworks I’ve done during this blockage (around 150) I can’t help but smiling. THAT was a blockage – really?

How people live with my art

Sometimes people send pictures to me of how they live with my art – here are some: