About my new collection “No Place Like Home”

art by Mia Makila

“The Blue Connection” by Mia Makila, 2017 [digital]

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.

Interview in ETC

Mini interview in Swedish magazine ETC – about the position of horror art within the Swedish art scene. “It’s a mirror reflecting the cruelty and angst of our times and the many horror elements of being a human being ” I say.

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

Creating my own network of like minded artists

Painting by Mikael Dalnäs

It is a sleepy Sunday. I haven’t done much this weekend, I am just trying to relax and recharge as much as I can. The plan is to go back to working with my art after I come home from my daytime job at the furniture store. And for that I need a lot of new energy.

My artist date for today got cancelled but yesterday I contacted another Swedish artist I’ve recently discovered and admire – Mikael Dalnäs and he fell in my love with my art as well. He suggested we should collaborate in the future and I would love to, once I am more into the flow of painting. I am still trying to find my groove in front of the easel.

Slowly, I am building my own network of like minded and amazing artists and creative people here in Sweden. I have big plans for us. Big and wonderful plans.

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.

New interview – at French Konbini

Today my interview in the French online magazine Konbini was published – beautifully written and with brilliant questions by Alice Gautreau. You can read it in French here and the English translation below:

First, can you tell me your age and location:I am 38 years old and I live and work in Norrköping – a middle sized city on the east coast of Sweden. I am not that social and I feel like an outsider here, so I could basically be located anywhere in the world or in outer space for that matter – because I am mostly isolated and working in my studio, so I am not that integrated in society. The art genres I belong to are not very common in Sweden so I am definitely a ‘strange bird’ in the art world here.

How would you define or describe your art?

I usually try not to describe it but if I have to, I would call it “primitive-expressive surrealism”. Some people label my style as ‘lowbrow’, others call it ‘horror art’ but I think my art has more dimensions to it than that. I would describe it as very personal, intimate and raw. I am always looking for balance between dark and light, horror and humor, beauty and disgust, dream and nightmare, shame and lust, reality and fantasy. What defines my art is how I capture raw emotions without holding anything back – but never without elements that gives it a tension, otherwise it would look quite one dimensional.

What is or what are the medium(s) you use?

I am working with many different creative expressions (visual art, writing, photography) – but mostly with digital art and painting. My recent work is mostly digital. I have been developing my own technique in PhotoShop for more than 10 years and it allows me to “paint with images” instead of traditional paint. However, I have not abandoned painting, it is still a passion, but I find complete artistic freedom in the digital expression since it is a such a flexible and direct media.

What are your influences?

I am inspired by many things, many artistic expressions and styles – outsider art, primitive art, the surrealists such as Frida Kahlo and Henri Magritte, by Disney and pop culture, by movie directors such as David Lynch, Ingmar Bergman, Tim Burton and Alfred Hitchcock and photographers like Roger Ballen and Cindy Sherman. I love folk art – especially Mexican folk art and their votive paintings (prayer paintings) and American Colonial Folk art portraits and I think my style is influenced by the simple and direct expressions of amateur painters. I love everything that feels genuine and honest and I hope that my art reflects that as well.

Which subjects inspire you the most? Why?

I am working with subjects that are found in the human soul, psyche and heart – like pain (emotional and physical), lust, shame, fear, rage, self-protection, longing and disgust. I think I love the intimacy between people, intimacy in the sense that there are no barriers or walls to hide the real emotions, the naked truth about our inner core. Our private and secret hearts within our beating hearts. I am inspired by the way we suppress important emotions and replace them with masks and attitudes that are far from who we really are. We are all honest with ourselves as children but somewhere along the way, we start to mask and hide ourselves and many people lose connection to their ‘inner child’. I have lost the connection to myself many times, but I am always struggling to make my inner child stay alive. That child is the real me and will always be so even if my skin is old and wrinkled. This is also visible in my art. I call them “core dolls” – children of our souls.

Who are the actual artists that seem close to your work?

I try not to compare my style with other artists, I am self-taught and I have my own personal mythology so it feels strange for me to look for artists who are like me because it is such a personal thing.

Who are the actual artists that impress you?

When it comes to painters, I look up to American art brut artist Gregory Jacobsen. I love the way he uses bright or pastel colors even if the subjects in his paintings are grotesque or gross. I am impressed by that juxtaposition between beauty and the repulsive. I am also impressed by the early renaissance painters, Like Pieter Brueghel and Hieronymus Bosch and the way they illustrate human madness and a multi layered psychological chaos – which is both enchanting and creepy. Frida Kahlo impresses me in the way she used her pain and vulnerability in her art and made into her strength and beauty. I am impressed by Lars Von Trier and the way he uses his movies to illustrate his own periods of depression. I guess what impresses me most about other artists is an honest approach to expose other dimensions of life than the flattering and perfect illusion that most people prefer to consume. I love artists who deal with vulnerability in their work and being absolutely unapologetic about it – there is no shame in the way vulnerability is exposed as both fragile and raw.

Can you tell us about your main series?

I started making dark artistic expressions during a time of deep depression after a trauma in 2006 and if you follow the development since then, in a chronological order, you can see the healing process and how I am slowly leaving the darkness behind. I am currently working on two new collections of works – one about finding a sense of home (in myself, in the world, in life in general – and in love), hence all the houses in my latest works, and another about destroying distorted self-images. I use my Lolita demons as a symbol for those destructive self-images and in this body of work, I am killing her to make room for a new self-image. That is why the collection is called “Post Mortem Lolita”. My Lolita demons demonstrate dark sexual themes like humiliation, shame and pain, but also rage and self-protection. They have been forced into a submissive position but are now being loud and dominant about their feelings and wounds. They are now demanding space and attention instead of accepting rejection and humiliation. I guess it is also a way to find a sense of ‘home’ – to be home in a loud voice that speaks up instead of being neglected and gagged.

Did you study art or something else? Where?

No, I am self taught in every creative area (painting, digital art, writing, photography). I learn by studying the works of other artists and by learning by making mistakes and finding new approaches to the media I am working with, be it painting, making collages or working in PhotoShop. My method is basically learning by trial and errors.

Does drawing/painting have therapeutic or cathartic virtues on you?

Oh yes, absolutely. My art and my creativity has saved my life many times. It is the way my soul is breathing.

What drives you to create?

To express myself in a way that feels absolutely true to my inner voice – to me that is a spiritual freedom. Many times in my life, I have been forced to be something I am not in order to fit into this society, into social contexts or to fit other people’s expectations of who I should or could be for their benefit – especially as a woman. I am constantly struggling to keep the connection to myself intact, because it is so easy to lose it to the mainstream, pre-made ideas of how life should be lived, how a woman should behave or should not behave etc. That is why I am trying not to watch TV, read magazines or learn about trends. I want to create my own world where I feel free to be myself without being ‘contaminated’ by trends or preconceived ideas of how I ought to act or feel about myself or my life (and Death).

Do you feel like your art is a fruit of our time and society? Why?

Yes, because I am dealing with reactions to what is expected of me and I think those expectations are products of these times and the way society is centered around the wrong things (money, power and conformity). Although, I am happy I didn’t live in past times or in societies which are even more strict and heartless. I am grateful for living in a time and place where I am free to explore alternative ways of looking at life, myself and the world without the possibility of being censored – or killed, for having an open and private perspective on things. I could not imagine living in such a society, I would probably not survive in such a place.

What is the message about your art, if any?

The message in my art is to be true to our inner voice. To ‘face our demons’ and try to make friends with them instead of hiding them or to let them rule our lives. If we try to hide our demons, they will haunt us in the most excruciating way and if we let them control our lives, we will never be free. Our demons can’t leave our spirit, they are part of us, they are indestructible. But they can destroy us. That is why it’s better to make peace with them, to get to know them and give them room to exist. I try to have fun with them. To give them a party hat and make them look cute so I can bare sharing my life with them!

Could you tell us about your relationship with skin? I mean, skin seems to be an important subject in your work: you mistreat it, often paint it damaged, bloated, with sores and scars.

Ever since childhood I’ve had a serious case of eczema and in periods of stress or anxiety, I tend to break out with horrible rashes and hives. My childhood was filled with periods of physical pain and shame – and I think that has shaped my personal mythology a lot. I use a lot of polka dots, melting or rotting flesh, exposed nerves and scars in my art – all which are linked to my childhood trauma of being ill with eczema. But there is also another dimension to the naked and raw skin in my work – I am looking for the world underneath our skin, our inner world. The metaphysical world. Then, the skin is a barrier that I have to break through in order to go deeper.

How did your career take off?

When I was invited to be part of the European Lowbrow art movement 10 years ago, I finally found an artistic context that felt like home to me. Being part of an underground art genre gave my art a playground where it suddenly made more sense. I felt appreciated and loved by an audience that could connect and identity with my inner Universe. It meant so much to me, it still does. That was when my career took off and I got a lot of attention, but here in Sweden and abroad. I feel very grateful for the way I got more successful – it was through the love and acceptance of the audience.

Do you have upcoming shows or publications?

The two collections of works I am currently working on will be my comeback as an artist, after the years of not being creative or active as an artist. It will be very powerful. I can’t wait to get the new stuff out there in new art show for the world to see – where it belongs.

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Portraits of my parents

photography by mia makila

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“My Father”, photography by Mia Makila, 2017

“My Father II”, photography by Mia Makila, 2017

“My Mother”, photography by Mia Makila, 2017

“My Mother II”, photography by Mia Makila, 2017

Tre hjärtan

En konstnär har tre hjärtan som klämtar i samma takt; det som sitter i kroppen, det som sitter längst inne i själen och så ögats hjärta. Dessa hjärtan älskar både ömsint och vilt. Inget är så älskvärt som skönheten i alla sår och sprickor som verkligheten förtvivlat försöker dölja bakom sina tunga ridåer.

The first and the last

I just woke up from a strange dream. I was in an old and abandoned SPA facility with a friend. It looked like a tiled circus tent with bright colors. We looked around and found a staircase to another floor, where an old lady had a dusty record store. There was a door to a garden in the store. I was carrying a naked wax doll into the garden and put it on the grass. Suddenly she came alive and her body became warm and she looked at me with her eyes wide open. She started to scream. I picked her up and held her in my arms. She made resistance. She wanted to escape but I wouldn’t let her. Her heart was beating so fast. She was strong, but I had her locked in my arms. I tried to soothe her and hush her while sitting on the grass with her facing the garden. I could feel it working. Her heartbeats were finally slowing down. “Good girl. Your name is Echo”. I said. Then I woke up. I could write a story based on this dream, it was like a seed to something creative.

Yesterday I spent the whole day in PhotoShop. My wrist is a little sore today. But I am having so much fun. At the moment I am working on two pieces about houses and they will be the last ones. I need one house where my story begins – where my trauma started, The working title is “Genesis”. And then I need one last piece where the story ends. It will be a love tribute to my home with Johnny.

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“Out of the Nothing Box” by Mia Makila, 2014 [digital]

I think I am done with the houses now. I started making them in 2014, right after I had left the man and the house in Stockholm. When I became ‘homeless’ in so many ways. I don’t feel homeless anymore. Not in any way. So it’s time to wrap up the digital suite about houses.

I feel like I am entering a new phase in my creativity. My skills are improving so fast and my ideas are bolder and more complex. I am also using more contrasts in my work. It highlights the rawness of my style.

Today is International Women’s Day and I am celebrating it by refusing to be held back by anything or anyone. Not by my critics, not by my fear and not by my own past. When I was living in that house in Stockholm, I felt censored and I held back so much of what was me. It’s very uncomfortable for me to look at my art from that time. They are ridiculously foggy and submissive to the viewer. You can hardly see anything more than a pastel colored mist.

Here is “Tess” from 2012. You can see how I’ve worked up the contrasts in the first version and the original, foggy version:

More foggy works from 2012:

You can almost follow my journey through confidence and bad self-esteem just by looking at the palette in my art. It went from fiery to foggy and now I am all about contrasts.

Work from 2006:

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“It’s All In My Head” by Mia Makila, 2006 [mixed media on canvas]

I will rest my wrist today and spend the day doing other things. I just can’t seem to shake off that dream. Echo is hauting my mind.

The discussion

I have spent the day with old episodes of Frasier and writing poetry that I will add to my digital art. I’m feeling a bit drained from yesterday’s experience. But I had so much fun up on that stage.

The discussion went smoothly and I made the audience laugh many times. I like making people laugh – even if I am talking about serious matters.

Before the discussion started, some of my horror sisters were swapping recipes of the perfect fake blood and how to stuff animal intestines to make it look even more gross and fabulous. I found it very amusing. “What is the best ‘base blood?'” they asked. And ‘You’ve got to add some Burnt umbra to the Crimson to make the perfect shade of blood when you are painting, otherwise it will just look like ketchup.”

When we were asked about what we consider to more frightening – reality or fantasy, there were no hesitation to state that reality is far more frightening than any horror movie or artistic expression – and that life itself is a very scary concept. Some of us create horror to deal with dark themes found within ourselves – others are celebrating certain aesthetics associated with horror.

When the question about artistic influences came up, I mentioned early renaissance artists like Bosch and Bruegel but also David Lynch and my art crush Edvard Munch. Other girls were inspired by Mary Shelley, Hitchcock, Kubrick, Tim Burton, the symbolists and the PreRaphaelites.

Then we went on discussing the worst horror clichés – I said I can’t stand the asian horror cliché of creepy women with long, black hair – I find hair beautiful and sensual” I said and added: “Perhaps that’s why I make my demons bald”. A few of the girls hated the cliché of the slutty blonde who gets killed early in horror movies and typical scream queens.

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When asked whether being a woman in the horror business gives us an advantage or if we experience difficulties because of our gender, I talked about how I feel free to explore raw sexual themes (especially the sexuality of young girls) and perversions without being questioned. I definitely think a man who would do what I do, would have a tougher time. I am not judged as “perverted” or “insane” but rather considered to be “exotic” and “daring”. I love being a woman. And I love exploring the world of horror from a woman’s point of view. So much of my horror is about fear, shame and pain – whilst many male horror artists deal with subjects like rage, violence and intimidation. I think there is a difference between how men and women work with darker themes, but of course there are many exceptions. Some women celebrate vengeance in their horror expressions and aggressive energies – the only aggressive quality to my work is the way I let my vulnerable lolita demons take up space and flaunt their wounds and their pain. I have been censored and suppressed by many men in my life – and through my art I am able to break free and to be loud and say “fuck you!” without being aggressive as a person. It liberates me. I am able to turn my shame into artistic expressions of vulnerability and then it’s easier for me to accept myself and feel more empathetic towards myself. It is my way of healing and recovering from humiliation and submission.

I am happy that I got the opportunity to talk about these things in public – and now I am hungry for more public adventures. This was the starting point in the second chapter of my art career and I finally broke through the wall that’s been standing between me and life outside my studio. From here, anything is possible. And I mean it.

Women in Horror panel discussion at Kulturhuset, Stockholm

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The panel discussion about WOMEN IN HORROR was amazing! I felt a sisterhood to my fellow horror creators and I could have stayed on that stage longer because it was such an inspiring discussion! I also took pictures of other things which inspired me during my two days in Stockholm, I will post them later.

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The women in horror included (from left to right): Aurora Walderhaug (horror art,  horror comics), me, Ella Moe (horror creator in music,  film and art),  Valentina Chamorro Westergårdh (horror movie director), Annika Algrot-Andersson (horror photographer and costumer designer) and Sarah Giercksky (horror movie director and enthusiast).

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I will write a longer post about what we discussed tomorrow, now I’m just ready to knock out – but I’m feeling happy and proud of myself. (You can find the new post here)

They introduced us as “the finest of female horror artists in Sweden”.

The pulse of life

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I am taking a couple of days off to just focus on my meditation and making preparations for the panel discussion on Saturday. I have so many thoughts about the horror genre and about why I am making horror art in the first place. It’s funny, because I am not that into the genre in general. I don’t listen to dark music (if you don’t count Bach and Mozart as dark composers), I am not a big fan of horror movies and have never read any horror novels. Although when it comes to visual art, I prefer darker expressions, but it doesn’t have to be horror art. Is Swedish artist Lena Cronqvist making horror art? Roger Ballen? Are the films of David Lynch expressions of horror? Or Bergman movies? Does horror have to be a negative energy? There are so many questions in my head right now.

"Girl in Yellow" by Lena Cronqvist

“Girl in Yellow” by Lena Cronqvist, 1999

I am definitely bursting my own comfort zone by stepping into the arena again. It is both scary and wonderful. I made a new year’s resolution to “find the pulse of life” in 2017 – and I had no idea it would only take a couple of months to find it. Funny how life works.

The contract

Even if there are so many good things happening right now, I’m feeling a little overwhelmed. To be an artist and to make art is a to make a contract with the world – the art doesn’t only belong to the artist but also to the world outside the studio. The art is in a way, its own thing with its own integrity. I am just the birth mother. With this unspoken contract it is understood that I, as an artist, am in the arena, a public figure with a voice. It is both a responsibility and a privilege.

As I am entering the arena with my art once again, many people want my attention and participation. I love it. But this new tempo makes me feel a little out of my depth. I know it’s just a matter of time before I get used to it again. It is, after all, a very positive thing. I’m feeling very loved and appreciated.

This week I’ll be busy with preparations for the “Women in Horror” panel discussion in Stockholm on Saturday. I wrote to the discussion moderator and suggested we could call her “the murderator” instead. She loved it.

Mia Makila interview at Fier Panda

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I am featured in French cultural magazine Fier Panda with a new interview!

Read it HERE in French or the English version below:

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I would really like you to tell us a story, if you do not mind : the one about pink in your art. I believe i remember you posting something about a disease you experienced years ago… Am I right ?

I was born with a serious case of atopic eczema and various allergies which would make my skin break out in violent rashes. My skin was always sensitive and in intense periods I would scratch myself until I was without any skin on my hands, and I had to wear bandages. This physical childhood trauma is visible in my art and I am dealing with the ‘pinkness’ of my skin and the world I can see and feel underneath it. The raw, the meat, the fleshy truth of my existence all exposed for the world to see. It still happens that I get sick and have to take surreal bath treatments at the hospital. The baths are, for some reason, colored in neon pink. I use more pink during the periods when I am sick.

But the pink color in my art has other explanations as well. I discovered my teen sexuality and had my first orgasm in a pink bed. When I think about it, everything in my childhood room was pink. I also use the color because it represents femininity to me. I am always creating artistic expressions based on my own experiences and feelings and I happen to be a female artist and it’s reflected in my palette. Even my depictions of Hell are pink and girlie. I had an art show some years ago called “My Pink Hell”.

I try to keep up with you creations and I feel like your art has encountered several stops along the years. Has your painting always been related to the bumps in your life ? Unemployement… Romance issues… Violence… Family troubles… I feel like you are the blueswoman of swedish painting (yes, I know – ‘jeeez Louise’- right?)

I am always changing and evolving both as a person and as an artist. When I change, my art changes too. I have been struggling with post trauma stress for many years and you can follow my trauma recovery in my art by looking at it in a chronological timeline. And I have gone through many psychological processes in therapy during this time and it has helped me create a very personal mythology in my art. I use a lot of symbols but for me they have a different meaning. I use upside-down crosses but to me it’s not a Satanic thing, I use the Eye of Providence, cats with eyes on the body, bodily fluids like piss, poop, drool and blood – and fireworks. All of these things are part of my personal mythology and have a deeper meaning.

My creativity (my visual art and my writing) has helped me survive many hard times. I use a lot of humor to deal with the horror, the fear and the rage. So even if I am ‘a blueswoman’ of Swedish art, I am also playing some polka melodies to have some fun with it. Playing the polka blues – yeah, that’s what I am doing! This way I am not only surviving the painful things – I am also adding humor to it so I can laugh at it. It’s such a relief. Without using humor, I would play the blues from a grave right now. For real. My art has saved my life many times. And watching Seinfeld and Frasier helps too. I need to make art and to laugh. A lot. That’s how I have survived 20 years of suffering. But I am feeling happier than ever right now. I have punched many demons in the face while dealing with them in my art. They all deserve it.

At times I haven’t been able to make art and that’s when it’s been really tough. But it only happens when I stop believing in myself. So when it happens now, I know that it’s not about my art, it’s about how I am feeling about myself.

Do you have hope you’ll ever find yourself through all the process of creating? Like your voice is singing somewhere and you’d really like to find the tune.

I am slowly on my way there. I had a big creativity blockage and got all burned out a few years ago so I have been away from the art world for a while. Now I am working on a new collection of artworks. I want this new collection of works to be bolder, more experimental and more ‘me’. More of everything! I have only just begun to explore the new me in my art. I know I have a lot to discover and I do feel like I have to learn a new language because I am moving away from my old artistic language to make room for another. It’s exciting and a little scary because I don’t know where the journey will take me – but that’s the nature of a journey. They should be a little scary because that’s when you know that you are pushing your boundaries enough to grow and flourish.

Could you please tell me a bit about your experience with meditation and how it influenced your life ? Your art ?

Meditation is a great tool to ‘clean your emotional palette’ and to find the right focus. I used to believe it was new age-ish and a only something for hippies and that’s not my style but I have found the perfect style of meditation: guided NLP meditation (Neuro Lingvistic Programming) which focuses on stress relief rather than transcendence and all that creepy out-of-body stuff. In the trauma I separated my mind from my body to be able to survive, so I don’t want to have an out-of-body experience again. I want to do the opposite – to reconnect.


The meditation has helped me stay more focused while I am working and I’m also finding more details in my ‘meditation dream state’ to add to my artistic mythology. Since I started with meditation, my art has become more airy, more spatial and ‘clean’. The expression is captured with simplicity now.

Being a Swede and a woman, how do you feel about the new state of our world ? How do you feel about : Russian politics ? American politics ? Swedish politics and the far-right wing slowly creeping in your country? (Same in France by the way…)

It is a scary time, especially for us women. I get very affected and upset by what is going on in the world. There is just so much negative energy in the world and it’s hard to feel safe. There are an increasing number of rape, sexism and fascism have moved into the White House and in Russia it is now legal to abuse women. As a survivor of domestic violence, this makes me both sad and angry. But I am dealing with these issues in my art at the moment – it will be my way of commenting on all the crap that’s happening in the world since I can’t really do anything about it in any other way. I am not a political artist but I can’t help but wanting to contribute somehow.

I know you have tried several others media than painting, do you feel you need to explore some more ? Would you like to see more people painting in 2017?

I wish people could find the courage to be themselves and to use whatever talents and strengths they have. We all have some superpower but only a few acknowledge it. Most people like to ignore, numb and hide their true nature so they can go on living in their comfort zones. I have comfort zones too but at least I know they are ‘uncomfort zones’ because you can’t grow in them and there is no way for new ideas to grow there. To me that’s creepy. I try to stay away from my comfort zones but being financially broke right now forces me to be stuck in one at the moment. As soon as I have more money I will try new things and invest money in bigger art projects. I want to make sculptures (made out of junk), I want to curate a group show and I want to buy a professional camera so I can make new photography projects. I have so much I want to do but so little money! Do I sound like that bluesman now?

You have always been a big provider of oddities on the web and I first knew you via your blog. Do you feel like we should all drink to the Web source ? Is it a corrupting or inspiring feeling ?

It’s inspiring because you can connect to the oddities like finding little pieces of your ‘home planet’. But it can be a comfort zone too, to stay in places that feels like home, instead of looking for new zones somewhere else. I like the idea that you can find every sick and twisted thing you can search for on google. It is all there. Amputee porn, cats with strap-ons, dwarfs with redneck mullets, people fucking oatmeal, fingerfucking melons and licking statues for fun. Whatever the human mind can come up with – it’s all there. It’s a cyber ghetto wonderland.

Finally, what great things are you going to accomplish in 2017?

To continue working on my new collection of artworks and perhaps write short stories. I also want to learn how to not be so scared of the good things in life. Like love, happiness and success. “If you are at the top there is only one way to go – down.” This is a very disturbing way of looking at life and I need to change it (as fuck). So I have a lot to accomplish in 2017. Wish me luck!

The language

Since I started to scan my own handwriting for my digital works, I have been inspired by the idea of incorporating words, letters and written messages into my paintings as well.

My trauma is so much about language. Words. The lack of them. Repetition. The tone of them. The temperature. Linguistic warfare.

I have always been attracted to words in paintings. Basquiat used it a lot in his paintings. David Lynch as well. Perhaps that is one of the reasons why I am so into early renaissance art – there are a lot of writings in them. I also have a soft spot in my heart for Mexican ex voto paintings (prayer paintings).

Since I was a little girl, I’ve loved to write and make up stories. I got A+ on most my Swedish assignments in school. Writing has always played a big role in the way I express myself. But in my traumas there has been this underlying threat that I am not allowed to express myself through my writing. Especially not about the traumas. Using words in my art is a way for me to rebel against this threat – and a way to break free from the invisible chains I’ve been forced to carry for the last two decades. It is my statement of independence and a way of reclaiming my artistic freedom.

“There Are No Memories Of My Crying Bed” by Mia Makila, 2017 [digital]

My birth

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I am taking a day off, just relaxing and contemplating. The creative flow is amazing but I have to make sure it’s not adding stress to my life. I haven’t worked this hard in years. It is good to feel swept away by my creativity – and to feel a little out of control at times. To let my imagination and creativity lead me and not the other way around. This is the reason why I have never felt truly lonely in my life – because the creativity and my imagination has been my companions. The times of a deep sense of loneliness only comes when I am not creating.

Next month I will take part of a panel discussion in Stockholm about horror, but nothing is more scary than watching the Trump administration at work. I feel like I can’t add anything to the world of horror that is not already coming out of Washington at the moment.

My self-therapy work has shifted from dealing with themes of my past to solely dealing with plans and strategies for future challenges. I now have a step-by-step plan how to get out of my current situation of being broke to reaching a more successful place – and a list of necessary resources I have to use to be able to do it:

  1. self-discipline
  2. stress reducing and finding balance within
  3. focus (eliminating distractions and negative energy)
  4. understanding my value as an artist
  5. no doubting or hesitating
  6. patience

Since I have a plan, a strategy and a list of must-have resources, I simply have no excuses left, to stay in my comfort zone of isolation. I am pushing myself out into the world like I am giving birth to my own life.

My Birth by Frida Kahlo, 1932

“My Birth” by Frida Kahlo, 1932

Moving forward

Today in my studio, working on “The Remains Of Lolita”

I am completely into the flow of my creativity and I am working on 10 digital pieces and paintings at the same time. But I am not stressed, I feel better than I have in a very long time. So many problems have been solved.  I am free from distractions and fears at the moment. It’s just me and my creativity – and Johnny for one hour a day during the weekdays when he’s at lunch. It’s all I need to keep moving forward.

A world that is like an open wound

With my friend and horror artist Mats Tusenfot yesterday

I had a wonderful afternoon with my friend Mats Tusenfot yesterday. I really needed to get out of my apartment – and out of my head for a while. Being two digital horror artists we share so many places inside our minds. Places where a differerat kind of philosophy rules. Where the authentic self is never abandoned. Or overlooked. Not afraid of the dark. Not ashamed of strong emotions. Not interested in what money can buy. Not willing to compromise the artistic expression. It is comforting to meet another otherling who understands the pain, confusion, awe, fear and passion of being different in a world that is like an open wound.

The force of the flow

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Work in progress

It’s been such an intense month. I’ve created 5 digital works and I have 5 in progress right now. I am also working on 5 paintings at the same time. That’s 15 artworks, completed and in the making, in January alone. Just to understand how special this is, I will remind you that I only made 4 artworks in total during 2014. I need to slow down, but I’m just having so much fun – it’s hard to go slow when I am so deep into this amazing flow.

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I am so full of ideas. I don’t know what to do with everything that pops up in my head every day. I have many new ideas for writing projects, artworks and future endeavors. I am not complaining, I’ve been waiting for this moment for a long time, but I don’t know how to handle it. I am feeling a bit overwhelmed. I also feel rich – and grateful. I have this talent that is like a treasure chest with a never ending surplus of imagination and creativity. As long as I am lucid in my head, able to use my hand, eyes, feet, lips or whatever physical aid I need to be able to create, write or speak, I will be loyal to what’s in that treasure chest.

I am a lucky person, because what I create and put into the world somehow comes back to me like a beautiful reward. Every week, people send me warm and generous messages about my art. Not all people get such feedback when it comes to their work. I don’t think people thank their mailman for delivering the mail on time every day, or send positive feedback to the pilot after a successful flight. Being an artist is to work with the mind, heart and soul as the raw material for an expression – and then send the expression into the world to be looked at, judged, bought, ignored, praised or ridiculed. It takes a lot of courage to do that, but it can also be so rewarding. And when I am having a shitty day, things like this reminds me of my mission and why I am displaying my heart and soul  in the public arena:

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Email from yesterday

The life of an artist is not easy. I’ve had to sacrifice a lot. I can’t even see myself having children when all I want is to be alone in my studio working non-stop for hours, days, weeks. My kitchen is a mess, I haven’t had the time to watch movies lately and I can’t find the time for other things I love to do, like reading, writing, making notes and research about psychology. I need to find a good balance for this flow, or I’ll disappear into it completely.

My day with Frida

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The meeting with my new psychologist went well. Next time I’ll see her it will be in the dentist’s chair together with a dentist and a nurse. I’m not looking forward to it, but this is how it has to be done. Now I am at home, trying to relax and it’s the perfect moment to study the diary of Frida Kahlo. I am feeling proud of myself for confronting all my fears and obstacles and that pride is weaved into my healing process. It’s a great day and I’m happy to share it with Frida. We have both experienced so much pain in our lives, but just like Frida, I have used the pain as the raw material in my work. At least then, the pain is not a pointless suffering but a story to share with the world. This notion has kept me sane in situations where I easily could have been broken to pieces by other people. A suffering told as a story and not as part of the texture of my identity.

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