An oldie in new clothes! “The Tenants” by Mia Makila, 2019, digital collage (based on a work from 2006).
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.
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.
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.
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).
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 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.
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!
The pollen season is here and I am so damn allergic. I feel fatigue all the time. It makes me less focused and self-disciplined. But it gives me time to plan my career a little. What do I want to achieve with it? What am I all about, as an artist? What is the core to my art and how can I use it to change the world a little bit?
I used to define myself as an artist by thinking that ‘I will show all those girls who bullied me in school that they were wrong, I’m not a loser nor a freak – I am amazing and I can be whatever I want to be!’. But that’s not who I am – I am not driven by revenge or any negative energies. I am beyond that now. I don’t need to prove myself to anyone. I want to get the negativity OUT of me – through my art; all the traumas, the pain, the rage and the humiliation. I don’t want it inside of me. It doesn’t fit. To be forced into being a victim never suited me. I hated it. I never asked for other people’s negative energy. So it doesn’t belong to me, that’s why I need to get it all out. Some people might look at my art and think that ‘the artist who made this must be a very angry or depressed person’. Yeah, I used to be, when I was still living inside the traumas. But as a person I am very vital and happy in my nature.
Many people think I love horror movies, dark music and horror literature. But I think it’s dull. One dimensional. I need more than that. Although I do enjoy Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Interview with the Vampire, The Ring (American version) and old horror classics like The Changeling, The Haunting and The Innocents. But that’s about it. To me – Haneke is true horror. Especially the realistic elements of Benny’s Video and Funny Games (Austrian version). Reality is far more scary than any horror movie could ever be. Perhaps that’s why I am so drawn to the whole true crime documentary genre.
My art is often called “horror art” and I am described as a “horror artist”, which is fine by me but it’s not really true.
My art is full of horror elements. Sharp teeth, hungry jaws, bloody lips, crazy eyes, rawness and aggression. But they are also playful. Colorful. Full of absurdities and humor. Full of life. And sexual curiosity.
I am trying to use both the horror of my traumas and the playful core of who I am to create something that is both comfortable and uncomfortable to look at. If my art was just about the horror, people would feel too uncomfortable to take in all the heavy themes I’m dealing with in my art. And if I would just be funny and cute about it, it would create a distance and take away from the seriousness of what I am trying to say. It wouldn’t be as sincere and raw – which is my thing. With the perfect balance of horror and humor – the dark and the light, I can make people stay in front of my artworks and let them FEEL things instead of trivializing important and forgotten things about the human mind, soul, heart – or make them so uncomfortable that they would leave.
And sometimes, I get messages like this in my inbox: “Like you, I suffered from a long abusive marriage. Never thought a second it was possible for me to go through all the bad things. But your experience gives hope to all of us. Thank you Mia, you are an amazing Human Being and a gifted Artist.”
When you create a space for people where they can feel safe and be free to think and feel whatever they want – they will open their hearts and minds – and perhaps look at themselves through my artworks and discover new things or rediscover things they forgot about themselves. Or to know that their painful experiences as a human being doesn’t make them a freak but that it makes them beautiful. To know that their pain, loneliness, sadness, sexual nature and perversions, their shame, their rage and their traumas doesn’t make them less of a person. That they’re not alone.
That’s what I want to accomplish with my art. That’s who I am as an artist. To make the world a more open and honest place. To create a space where people are allowed to FEEL instead of just judging, numbing, closing off, shutting down and ignoring who they really are. What a challenge.
What a fun challenge.