My natural state

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?

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

The flow

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Trying to capture panic in “The Wound”

I am really painting again. No self-doubt, no hesitation, no fear – just me having fun in the studio. And even if the subject matter is very disturbing and painful for me, I don’t feel sad or anxious while working – I’m just letting it all out and as it leaves my heart and end up on the canvas, I am healing even more. Last night I ended up in that wonderful flow of creativity and passion that I’ve missed so much and I couldn’t sleep because of the rush from the flow.

One of the best things I’ve done lately is to define what my idea of ‘the perfect artistic expression’ is to me. I made a list of what I’m trying to achieve with my artistic voice, and if I just follow the list I will have no reason to doubt myself or compare myself to other artists:

  1. Capture strong emotions in their primitive state

  2. Use vivid colors

  3. Find a balance between light/dark and playful/serious

  4. Simplicity and a clear composition (no unnecessary details or a realistic approach)

  5. The expression should not be flattering or perfect in an obvious way

  6. The expression has to feel like ‘home’ to me

“Mojoing”

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Selfie from last year. This totally looks like a mug shot, I almost wish it was. But I do have some mojo going on.

My mojo has been missing for a long time but I am finally beginning to feel it seep into my veins again. I’m starting to feel playful and horny while working with my art and that’s the way it’s supposed to be. Lust and passion are such important components in my creativity and it creates this sexual energy that feeds my imagination and ambition. I love it. It makes me feel powerful, potent and alive. I’m so dependent on my mojo – to be ‘mojoless’ is almost painful for me. It’s almost like I get sick when I lose the connection to my sexual energy. So, I need to stay connected to it.

I think mojo is such a natural part of the human energy – we are driven by two needs; to survive and to propagate our species – the mojo is a necessary energy for both needs.  I choose to celebrate it. To put it in my work – and load my core with it. Although I am so connected to my mojo, I lose the connection very easily. It happens when I start to doubt myself, when I lose myself to other people’s expectations, when I compromise my artistic expression – or when I feel censored by my own fear or by other people’s judgment. I just have to be more careful with my mojo and keep my shape intact and not letting other people mold it to whatever they want me to be for them.

The mojo makes me feel electric in both my body and thoughts and it keeps all my parts connected (mind, body, heart, soul) and therefore I am able to be me to the fullest. I think that kind of soft and invisible electricity is a beautiful experience and it’s also so natural – since our brain is wired through electrical impulses (and when the doctor tries to resuscitate the heart, they use electricity). There are so many fascinating and natural energies that people seem to forget about. We should learn how to harness them and to create something incredible with it – for ourselves and others. We should all start ‘mojoing’ more. Mojoing when we are alone. Mojoing together with other people. To let those electric butterflies fly.

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Mojoing, 2010

Rest and play

This flu is merciless, but I am still able to meditate and I’ve found some amazing places within myself. I never though I would be able to meditate and I don’t know if I’m doing it right but at least I am getting some peace of mind during the sessions. I’m keeping a meditation diary because I’m finding answers and keys to unlock insecurities and fears as I am traveling within myself. It’s quite incredible.

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I’ve discovered the importance of balance – both a sense of an inner and a physical balance – and a balance when it comes to rest vs play (work).  And I am now faced with an important question; is my creativity part of rest or is it play? Do I use my creativity to relax or as work? Perhaps the answer will change everything. Perhaps my art is not suppose to be what I do for a living – perhaps that’s why it has been keeping me from feeling the magical lust and flow when I am creating. If so – then I’ve been pushing myself in the wrong direction. I have to experiment to see how I am supposed to use my creativity – maybe I can use my writing and digital art as wok but the painting process is more about relaxation and self-intimacy than it is about working to make money. We’ll see. I will study myself as a scientist until I’ll know the answer.

Art flowers

This morning I’m watching art documentaries. I feel inspired. I’m so connected to the inner Universe of creativity and imagination, shared with so many other artists. I am lucky that way, I am never truly lonely when I have this inner world of magic that I can give birth to whenever I want to. That’s why it was so painful for me to be creatively blocked for all those years, but I was never blocked on the inside, I was blocked because of the pressure of being successful.

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My art is the most intimate part of me – because it’s the voice of my core. I haven’t been treating it with the proper respect. I’ve been taking it for granted, like it’s something to use in any way I can, but that is not true. It is rare and beautiful – something to protect and nurture until it wants to be released, like a flower in bloom. You can’t force it. You shouldn’t. You shouldn’t even consider it. I can see all the mistakes I’ve made in the past, how I’ve tried to force myself to bloom and release something that wasn’t ready to be released yet.

To deal with magic and imagination is tricky, because there are no manuals or textbooks. You can learn to perfect your technique, you can practice self-discipline, but how to reach the magic place inside is private and intimate, and out of reach for most people. That is why I need to treat it with the utmost respect – because it is a gift.

‘Acceptance’ is more about letting go

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work in progress – “Out of Reach”

I’m getting nowhere with the clinics, I’m frustrated but I’m slowly recovering. The health care system in Sweden at this point is basically following the trend of the DIY movement; Do it yourself. But I’ve become pretty good at figuring out how to treat myself and I know what medical care that works and what doesn’t. As long as my health is improving, I don’t care if I have to play doctor, I hate hospital milieus anyway.

Part of my self-treatment is to let go of the stress from this summer. It’s been a lot. I have some heavy decisions to make when it comes to how I want to build my nearest future. I also have to go on defining myself as an artist – I have a feeling that I have to let go of some things to be able to push through the struggles I’m dealing with in my creativity. Something is holding me back and I know exactly what it is, but it’s hard to accept.

It’s my audience. You.

Perhaps I have to kill some darlings – your darlings – in order to continue working with my art. I know I will lose a lot of admirers, fans and collectors if my work took a different direction, if my focus point would shift from the things that brought me success and appreciation – to a whole new genre where I’m not familiar with the audience. But that is the privilege I have as an artist, to reinvent myself and my expression over and over again throughout my career. I have changed so much since my early works and my art is changing alongside my personal metamorphosis.

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Early works:

Semi-Paradise

Semi-Paradise by Mia Makila, 2006

Alone In Hell

Alone In Hell by Mia Makila, 2006

Holiday In Hell, 2007

Holiday In Hell, 2007

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Works from 2014-2016:

"Not a Phallus" by Mia Makila, 2014 [digital]

“Not a Phallus” by Mia Makila, 2014 [digital]

The Screaming Rug by Mia Makila, 2016 - digital.

The Screaming Rug by Mia Makila, 2016 – digital.

"A Binary Dream" by Mia Makila, 2016 [digital]

“A Binary Dream” by Mia Makila, 2016 [digital]

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My life used to be a very private version of Hell. Chaotic. Dramatic. Painful. Everything in either black or white – but at the same time burning or in flames. Now, my life is full of love, longing, sensuality and stillness. I’ve found a harmonic grey-scale (visible in my latest digital works) within the black and white.

As I am thinking about all this, a title for a future art show emerges. That is evidence that I am on the right path. Acceptance is more about letting go than it is about finding new answers. I need to accept that I can never go back to being the artist I once was – and I can’t force myself to be the artist I would love to be even though it doesn’t come natural to me. I just have to let go of my timeline of success and failure and accept the artist I’ve become, going through all that. The artist I am. Now. Celebrated for my past achievements – but not forced to live up to the expectations that came with that. I have big plans for my future art projects, but I need more money. So let’s start there.

I’m letting go of your expectations of me. Thank you for loving my art so far. It has meant so much to me. But I have to have the freedom to reinvent myself from time to time  – and you are invited to follow me on my journey, it will be a roller-coaster ride for both of us I’m sure.

The Superpower

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We had another long and amazing talk about creativity. I love these discussions, I need them, I crave them. We continued talking about why we aren’t being creative right now. Why he’s not writing, why I’m not into the flow of painting. We established that being able to bring magic to the world by making art (in whatever form) is like a superpower. This superpower makes you special, makes you stand out, it elevates you from the crowd, it makes you fly, high above reality and everyday life.

But here’s where we have different approaches to our superpower. I am more comfortable flying than I am being grounded. Johnny is more comfortable on the ground than up amongst the clouds. He’s comfortable with the idea that he can fly, whenever he wants to – I am uncomfortable with the idea of having to land and spend time in the real world waiting for that special moment when I’ll get to fly again. “A superhero is a superhero because he can transform himself from an ordinary person into a superhero when he needs to. If he would be up in the air all the time, flying around, he’d just be a crazy person, flying without a cause, without a mission”, Johnny said. It made sense. I haven’t seen it like that before.

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I need to accept that I can’t ask from myself to be creative all the time and to not judge myself whenever I can’t find that flow. I need to be grounded at times in order to be able to transform and illuminate myself. I can’t be on a superhero mission all the time. Then it wouldn’t be special or the most private, intimate and wonderful thing I get to share with myself.

I have been forcing myself to use my superpower when all I needed was to be grounded and wait for the right moment to fly. And I’ve been afraid of crash-landing. Of broken wings. To have my superpower being taken from me. I’ve been afraid of losing my direction amongst the clouds. Of flying too high. To get burned by the sun. I have been confused about how to use my superpower and when – or when to stay grounded and enjoy life on Earth.

I have to learn how to use my superpower in the correct way. Then I’ll be able to transform myself when the right moment appears. When I’m on a mission to create magic – something rare and beautiful that isn’t a product of expectations or pressure, but the expression of freedom and joy. Just like flying.