The battlefield

So… My painting “Anus Mouth” turned into something completely different.. *work in progress*:

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Last night I went to war – with my painting. It was a mess. Hours and hours of endless routines of painting-painting-over-painting-painting-over. Whatever I tried, it just didn’t feel right. And if there’s one thing I have learnt through my long creativity blockage is that I. d.o.n.’.t. c.o.m.p.r.o.m.i.s.e.

After 24 hours of this routine of frustration and layers and layers of paint, I decided to kill it. And when I did, this thing was born instead. It is me with the observation cat from my recurring nightmare. I have such a clear vision of it – I just have to follow it without doubting it. I feel completely exhausted but so, so good. I will leave the studio now. My beautiful battlefield of destruction and magic.

From my own death to a new creativity

3 days until my love will come. I’m starting to feel like myself again, it’s a nice feeling. The seasons are slowly changing outside my window, it’s unusual cold for being the last summer month. I enjoy the cool weather. The grey skies and the melancholy. It feels like home to me.

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I’ve been resting for weeks or perhaps for a small eternity, that’s how it feels anyway. I’m tired of resting and watching TV series. But I’ve been studying art and I’ve thought a lot and hard about my own art. It’s been good for me. I don’t want to overthink things or to overanalyze, but it’s like with everything in my past – I’ve been going through life without reflecting on what my true voice sounds like because I have been so busy pleasing other people. I know that at some point in my career, I started to make art for my fans, for gallery owners and collectors, instead of making it for myself. Something that was so private and intimate suddenly became corrupt and compromised in public. I know exactly when it happened. Even which painting I was working on at the time.

This struggle to get back to my art, especially painting, has been long and hard. Just like a trauma can happen in a second but will take a lifetime to overcome, it takes a lot of time to heal a compromised creativity and an abandoned inner voice. I regret the way I deviated from my path to go where I wasn’t supposed to go. I got so lost. I ended up so far from myself. From the expressions I had inside but didn’t allow to come out. I got used to the resistance, to the silence of it, to the feeling of being dead and buried underneath the fear and the doubts.

From my diary 2011:

“It is more natural for me now to not be creative than to create and make art. My paint tubes and brushes are stored away in transparent storage boxes and waiting for this mental paralysis to be dissolved so I can use them again. So I can go back to how things were before.

It’s like all of me is stored away in an invisible, transparent storage box that separates me from my true identity, and from my desire to create. Like in a coffin, because I feel dead in so many ways. It is not an exaggeration or emotional debauchery – but an honest feeling rooted in my inner core. “

I know how it feels like to be dead. I know that the real death is not and the end of our lives but comes in the same colors and textures as life itself, but without your own sense of vitality. It doesn’t happen when you stop breathing, it happens when you stop believing in yourself, when you separate yourself from your core. And the way back is awfully long and painful.

At least I know what it’s like to die and to be awakened and resurrected, all in a lifetime. I have many important things to tell. I need to use that in my art. This phase of finding my true artistic voice after letting go of an older version is so unbelievably scary – you have no idea. But it has to be done. This process is just as private and intimate as the creativity itself. I’ll let you be part of it, but please know how vulnerable I feel to share these things with you.

But it’s an important and genuine part of my art and should not be undisclosed or forgotten. It is part of the substance to my future paintings and who I will become as an artist.

To be a waterfall

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I’m just about to watch the last two episodes of Stranger Things and I’m absolutely in love with it. I can’t even remember the last time I felt like this about a series – which is funny because I’m not that into sci-fi anyway and I never learned how to appriciate Stephen King. I have never even watched The Goonies for crying out loud! But I feel inspired. I want to use that inspiration in my art.

It seems like everything around me is floating around like a river without any clear shape or substance. I’m in a transitional phase in many areas. And I’m changing. Again. I have outgrown so many things, so many truths and so many mannerisms in my art. I feel like I am just starting over all the time. I am tired of starting over. I just want to BE. But I shouldn’t complain since growing and changing are both part of my self-empowerment process and that means everything to me. Of course my art has to change as I am going through an inner metamorphosis process. It’s only natural, but I’m tired of feeling like I have to let go of things in order to make room for something new. Perhaps I’m overthinking it, over-analyzing it – perhaps I just have to let things happen without thinking about it as much. I guess I’m just insecure about these things since I was struggling with blockages for a long time. I am always scared that I will get blocked again. But I am full of ideas. Over full actually. At the time of my creativity blockage, a friend told me: “As I see it, you are not blocked because you don’t have any ideas – you are blocked because you have TOO MANY ideas and you don’t know where to start and it paralyzes you and you end up blocked.”  I think he was right.

I am still a little ‘artistically constipated’ – it needs to come out. And I’m still a little unsure about in which order. I have to many ideas inside me, if you only knew. I have a list of ideas for paintings, another list for ideas for short stories, books and lectures. I have created a mythology based on my traumas that I want to use somehow, but I don’t know how or where to put it. In words. In pictures. Or both.

For a long time, I thought painting was my main artistic expression but my recent decision to make it secondary to my digital art has been a sense of relief. But I still don’t feel satisfied. Something is missing and some things are too much to hold inside, it all wants to come out. Maybe I’m just scared to lose control. Because I know if I would let it all out – I would not be able to stay in the ‘real’ world – I would be all consumed and swallowed up by my inner world. But I need to let it flow. I need to dare to let it flow. The last time I let it flow, I got sucked into it and ended up all burned out. But I won’t allow that to happen now. I know more now. I am stronger now.  But I’m also more cautious now. A little wounded. It is a difficult balance to lose control and to let my creativity flow without resistance – and to hold back so I don’t get too carried away in my ambition and passion. It’s like wanting to jump from a cliff into a waterfall but dressed in a diving suit. It’s not very graceful or liberating. I think I just have to be the waterfall.

I just have to keep going. I am on the right path even if I am too restless and eager at times. I just want to flow. Fall. Float. I want to be on fire. To fly.

But first I want to watch Stranger Things! (I get goosebumps every time I watch the into!)

Goal Blocks

I’m currently planning my comeback as an artist and and the long journey to success by breaking down the essential steps to be able to be more creative and to rebuild my career after the 7-year hiatus (due to creative blockages and being all burned out). It is important to do this slowly and methodically, otherwise I am putting my health and my whole future career at risk. If I rush it, I will just end up burned out again. It is frustrating, but I accept it – and now it’s just a matter of improving my self-esteem before I can get into that focus and flow that is necessary when striving for success.

In his book Outliers; The Story Of Success (2008), Malcom Gladwell states that it takes 10 000 hours of practice and preparations before you become really, really good at something – and add talent and a willingness to work extremely hard to that and you’ve got the recipe for success. Here is the ironic part: while being depressed and passive in my art career for so many years, I haven’t really been completely passive when it comes to creating art.

Because I couldn’t paint anymore (I just completely froze, every time I stood in front of the easel), I started to explore digital art instead and I’ve practiced and learned so much during these years and I’ve become really, really good. Since I started digging deeper into the digital media in 2012 during my creativity blockage, I’ve created over 60 digital artworks! While I was crying and being depressed because I couldn’t paint – I was slowly became an expert of making digital art. Funny.

And, I’ve also spent at least an hour every day writing on my blog – and I’ve been blogging for 11 years now, which may not be a big achievement in itself, but I have become very good at expressing myself through writing. It feels completely natural for me to write every day now – just as natural as painting or creating digital pieces.

And finally – if I hadn’t been depressed and creatively passive during these last 7 years, I wouldn’t have spent so much time binge watching so many American movies and TV-series and become this good at English.

So it all worked out fine in the end. I might have lost many years working as a successful artist – but now,  I’ve collected knowledge, practice and cleaned the mental palette of old energy, mannerism and distorted self-images. I’ve grown and matured both as a person and as an artist.

At some point 7 years ago, I just stopped believing in myself – and that is the true death to an artist or any creative person. I will never make that mistake again. Nothing and nobody can stop me from achieving all my goals and dreams now. This is my time to not only rebuild my old career – but to design and create a new one.

Slowly.

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Christmas spirit

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I’m still not well in my health, but I feel happy and inspired – and I am filled with a warm sense of Christmas spirit. I’m gently approaching my art again, so I won’t feel stressed or pressured. It’s been such a long time since I was in that wonderful flow of creativity and imagination and I need to slowly work myself up to that place – because that’s where the magic happens and that’s where I truly belong. I’ve learned so much about myself and about creativity during these 6 hard years where I’ve been struggling with blockages and self doubt. As soon as you start doubting your own talent or comparing yourself to other artists, you’ll lose the joy of creating and the connection to your natural artistic language. Then you start avoiding it all, because you just feel like a big failure, that’s when you feel like you are blocked. The only thing you’re blocked by is your own fear of not being good enough. I thought it was about changing style, technique, environment, supply, routines or to wait for new divine inspiration – but it’s all about refocusing on what the creativity means to you and your life, redefining why you choose to be an artist and to isolate your mind from outside influences in order to reconnect with your core where the artistic expressions are born. And to work on the self esteem of course.

I still have some work to do when it comes to my self esteem.

This has been a long year. In the beginning of the year, I was sort of ‘homeless’, living with my parents, I was broke, with all my things in a self storage place, heartbroken and sad – and here I am, putting up Christmas decorations in my new apartment, I have a new boyfriend who is the kindest, sweetest, most generous person I have ever known, my heart is healing, just like the scars inside my mind – I am still broke but even so, I am happier and more hopeful than I’ve ever been. All I need now is better self esteem and more money. I’ve got the rest covered. I guess those things are perfect challenges for me to take on next year.

The stories behind my art: “Twisted Sisters”

This is the story about why I attacked my painting “Twisted Sisters” and broke it in two parts.

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While I was working on “Twisted Sisters” in February 2011, I was struggling with a creativity blockage and a depression as a result. I tried everything to break the blockage; to keep painting even though my head was blank and empty on ideas and I hated every brushstroke (12 hours of this every day was pure torture), taking a break from painting (then feeling guilty for not creating art and feeling like a complete failure), trying new techniques, style, changing studio, buying a new easel, studying art, stop looking at art (over consumption),  working according a schedule, working a few hours a day, a few hours a week, avoiding everything art related (panic attacks every time I got into the studio) etc.

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working on “Twisted Sisters”

“Twisted Sisters” was difficult to make because I felt like I was stuck in a style I wanted to move away from, but the new style I wanted to explore felt forced and uncomfortable. I felt like I was in between two different styles.

I wrote about working with “Twisted Sisters” in my diary:

February 25, 2011

Oh, this painting is becoming more and more annoying! The new style doesn’t work and I struggle and insist on using old mannerisms although that’s what I don’t want. It’s like I’m not allowing myself to let go of the old, even though that’s exactly what I want to do. This painting will be another “in between work” and really has nothing to do with what I want to express. I feel lost. I totally understand the cliche why artists use drugs or alcohol to numb the pain while they are struggling with their work. It almost drives you insane.”

And that night I got so angry and frustrated with the painting that I attacked it and broke it in two parts. It felt really good. I wanted something to break because I was slowly breaking because of the rage, the despair and the frustration I felt.

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A collector actually bought the destroyed painting and framed it, and boldly put it on the wall, just like music collectors frame smashed electrical guitars from famous rock stars.

“February 28, 2011

Everything is prepard; Mattias has been making new wooden panels of my favorite dimensions for me and I bought a new set of brushes, paint and other  art supply, I also bought books to use for new paper collages, I’ve found a new and wonderful printer if I’ll get the urge to make digital collages – and time, I have so much time! Everything is here, waiting for me to create the shit out of it. However. There is a resistance. There anxiety, worries and so much stress.

Why is it so damn difficult? I don’t understand!

I’ve planned several exhibitions at the same time in the nearest future, people are waiting for my art. The expectations are high – not least from myself. And that’s good. My art is appreciated and people want more. But I do feel a lot of pressure. Both external and internal.

I even sold “Twisted Sisters”, the painting I destroyed last week. People seem to think that my journey between the styles is exciting and they appreciate the change. My metamorphosis.”