Julee

My friend and legendary Twin Peaks singer Julee Cruise just posted my old portrait of her on her Instagram! Rumor has it that she will be performing in one of the last two episodes of the new season of Twin Peaks that airs tonight in the US. Even if my name is misspelled, I feel so grateful and happy. Can’t wait to see her on Twin Peaks. I just know it will be magical.

“Julee’s Wor´ld” by Mia Makila, 2012, digital collage

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“No Stars” – Rebekah Del Rio

This week’s episode of Twin Peaks was amazing but I was not quite prepared to be floored by this beautiful song, written by David Lynch and performed by Rebekah Del Rio. I just cried and cried, all throughout the scene. I think it’s the most beautiful song I’ve ever heard. If my soul had a voice, this is what it would sound like. While listening to it, I can feel my soul breathe and release all of its pressure and pain. It feels so good.

I dream of the Pacific Northwest

It has been hard to go back to the digital piece in progress, since I feel like I’ve already moved on from the collection about the houses. I am not looking for a home anymore, I have found it within myself, in Johnny’s heart, in my new friends, in my art and in the world outside myself. The only homes I have yet to find are in the Swedish art community and a geographical place that makes me feel at peace. I know I don’t belong here in this city, or in this country for that matter. My dream is to move to the States one day, with Johnny of course. I have a soft spot in my heart for the Pacific Northwest. It sure has some Nordic qualities and it’s the home to many locations used in Twin Peaks (more on Twin Peaks in tomorrow’s post).

But I’m not a nature person. I wouldn’t really live that close to the lakes or the woods even if I’d move there. But it is beautiful and I feel drawn to the moody and misty landscape. I love rain, so perhaps Seattle would fit me perfectly.

I want Johnny to stay in the States, Sweden doesn’t really have that much to offer an American poet when it comes to a writer’s community, but he is sacrificing it just to be with me. I feel very grateful. I would love to move to him but it is impossible right now – and I really don’t want to live in a country run by a Narcissistic maniac. But I am sure we will find a way to move to the States in the future. Or somewhere else. Just not here. At least not until I feel like I belong to a real context here. A context that makes sense to me – and feels like home.

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 Laura Palmer photo shoot with Domenique (2009)

While watching the old episodes of Twin Peaks, I was reminded of the time I did my own take on Laura Palmer with Domenique in a photo shoot (2009), inspired by the famous photo where she’s wrapped in plastic. I had to recreate a wet and rocky beach in my studio. Here is a short documentary I made with video footage from the shoot:

The editing process

The preparations for my Laura Palmer shoot with Domenique in 2009 (collecting pebbles, rocks, sand and other things you can find on a beach to recreate the scene in my studio)

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Domenique (wrapped in plastic) and the homemade beach

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Original photo (untouched)

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The end result – “Laura”, 2009 (edited in 2013)

I’ve spent so many years editing the photographs of my collaboration with Domenique from 2009. In only one summer, we created almost 20 different characters together. The camera was our love child. We were like lovers in the creativity process – using intuition and instincts as our langunge, we did’t need to speak, we knew exactly what was needed in order to bring the characters to life. I loved working with Domenique but sadly her life started to fall apart at the time and rapidly slipped into a destructive lifestyle of drugs and drama. So I ended it and moved to Stockholm, stopped working with photography – and sold my camera. I am still without a professional camera. But when I have more money I will buy a Canon instead of going back to Nikon. I am a Canon kind of gal.

Me and my old Nikon, 2011

I have evolved immensely as an artist since that summer. I know more about photography editing now, my PhotoShop skills are more advanced and I collected new knowledge about retouch and portrait editing during the two months I spent as an intern at a photo studio last fall. So I can go back to my photo projects and make totally new pictures now just because I am so much better at the editing process.

But what does it mean to edit photographs? It’s so much more than to adjust light and shadow or cropping. It’s about bringing the photo to life  – and to create harmony and a balance in the colors.

Here are two versions of the same photo, first the original picture and the newly edited version where I have played around with both colors and expression. The original photo is softer, more stylish – but I wanted to say more than that – and I wanted the expression to be more powerful and direct.

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Sometimes, I see new potential in already edited photos, I go back and start over, like this:

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Original photo from 2009, edited version from 2009 and my latest version from 2016

Other times, I use the projects with Domenique as a base for my digital art – like I did in “The Crash” (2012):

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