I’ve made a fun journey through different styles in my art. I started out as a surrealist. I was 16 years old when I finished my first real painting – a surreal self portrait. Then, I moved on to explore expressionism, cubism, more surrealism and then some kind of a primitive realism.
Works from the time before I found my true artistic voice [1995-2005]:
It wasn’t until I suffered a deep depression in 2006 that I started using my creativity and my art as therapeutic expressions. I also joined the European Lowbrow movement – that later turned into Popsurrealism. It was in the “big eyes-large-head” mannerism of Popsurrealism that I eventually would lose myself and my artistic voice – and then get blocked and mentally paralyzed for almost 7 years. The cutesy stuff was bad for me, it’s just not who I am. I’m raw and direct both as a person and as an artist. I don’t sugarcoat things. I use a lot of humor in my art but it’s never cute.
My boyfriend, who’s really clever and very perceptive when it comes to me and my art, came up with a good description for the paintings I’ve done post hiatus: “primitive surrealism”. I like it. I’ve always felt at home in primitive art and in surrealism so I guess both genres have helped me develop my own style and visual expression. From now on, I’ll call myself a primitive surrealist. It’s perfect.
Painting styles post depression [2006-2016]:
It’s interesting to see how many similarities but also how many differences there are between my physical artworks (paintings, drawings, collages) and my digital art. I have gone from chaotic compositions in both my physical and my digital art to simplicity and stillness, but in my paintings I’m so much more raw and colorful, whereas in my digital art I’m more cinematic and poetic – perhaps because I’m also writing poetry on my computer, perhaps there’s a connection there.
My digital art [2007-2016]:
“A Binary Dream” by Mia Makila, 2016 [digital]
The Screaming Rug by Mia Makila, 2016 – digital, click to enlarge.
When I am working with my art – or anything creative – I am only interested in finding powerful and strong expressions. I always start with the eyes – if there’s no genuine expression in the eyes or if they lack intensity, I won’t finish that piece and I just move on to another project. As soon as I start to compromise my vision, I end up feeling lost – and when the creativity turns into a struggle I lose the joy of being part of it. Sometimes it feels like starting a new painting on a blank canvas is like taming a beast (the canvas being the beast of ‘nothingness’ or something dead and empty).
I’ve always disliked a blank space – especially an empty white space. My desire is to fill the void, to make an expression, a statement, to tell a story and to create meaning where there seems to be no meaning at all. perhaps that’s why I like to fill the white canvas with a dark background. The darkness can hold all kinds of secrets within that black space – but something all white -without any hope of details inside, really creeps me out.
My art is extremely personal and even though I don’t use my own face in my Lolita demons, they are all part of me and my fears, my rage, my pain and my inner voice. They are all self portraits in a way.
Sperm Wounds is my rage, Scrollan is an expression of the helplessness I’ve felt in my past, Stigmata is about my physical hell.
The stories I share in my art, lays in the emotional expressions of my demons – especially visible in the eyes, smile and body language. The portraits are simple in the compositions, there aren’t many details in the background, if any at all. But if you make eye contact with the characters, you will find endless shades of emotions and details in there.
Through my stories and artistic expression, you get to share my emotions and the memories of humiliation, sadness and horror – and what it’s like to be a human soul in a world where heaven and hell are both centered inside our minds and hearts – and also outside ourselves.
In every corner of life.
I haven’t really been painting since 2010. It’s been a long break (and a long journey back from the blockages) and I’ve missed it terribly. My work in 2015 is dominated by two concepts – rage and home. There are a lot of floating or flying houses, perhaps because I spent the first half of the year without a home of my own. And my Lolita demons are not scared anymore – they are furious! They are taking back whatever people took from them, especially their sexuality and humiliation. I am slowly healing and it’s reflected in my art as well.
Artworks from 2015
The inspiration for 2015’s artworks
The inspiration for my art this year has been coming from a lot of different sources – old votive paintings from Mexico with the addition of words and stories at the bottom, the American folk artist Grandma Moses and my own art, especially from 2008-2009, just before my long hiatus due to the creativity crises.
The unfinished works of 2015
Sometimes I start some projects but never finish them – perhaps because they lack something or because they feel flat and dull.
I’m so looking forward to the new year – and I can’t wait to be painting, drawing, making digital art, writing and expressing myself in every artistic way possible! Happy new year everyone – 2016 will be an amazing opportunity to be courageous and confident in our work, and empathetic and kind in our hearts. ❤
2007 was one of the best years of my life. I was totally lost in that magical flow of making art, experimenting, exploring and being creative almost all hours of the day. I was having fun and trying out new techniques and styles.
Only 2 years earlier, I was only painting (see photo below) – and now I was making collages, using mixed media, paintings, drawings and also digital pieces.
Another Place was my first real digital artwork and I finished it in late 2007. I had only used PhotoShop to edit the photos and selfies for my blog for a couple of years, but I had no real training, just playing around and trying stuff out. While making Another Place I could feel how I was growing as an artist and that the digital media was just right for me and my artistic expression. I was just having so much fun!
Another Place premiered in my solo show at Hera Gallery in Stockholm in January 2008:
And then one month later it showed up in my solo show in Reijmyre outside my hometown:
Even though I had so much fun making Another Place, I made it during one of the hardest times in my life and I was deeply depressed. That’s what the piece is about – that other place in life where only darkness rule.
When I finally came out of my depression, I thought it would be fun to make a new version of Another Place, because I had reached another place in my life. A place where light ruled, and where the colors were brighter. So I created a second version of it in 2012.
Another Place (light version) in Inked Magazine, 2014 and the darker version in Calle Magazine from 2010.
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.
My painting “Judith” from 2007 is one of my most important paintings ever. Because before this painting, I had just started out making ‘horror art’ but it was mostly mixed media collages. Only a few years before I started to express my pain and fear through my art, I had made very classical still lifes with flower bouquets and jungle motifs.
So when I started to create horror art instead of these “sweet” paintings, I finally found my true artistic voice – and I started to experiment with EVERYTHING – with new techniques, style, material, new stories and new genres. And I started to express myself instead of just depicting things.
The work I did on “Judith” marked a rebirth when it came to my painting style at the time. It is very visible in the work in progress pictures – how I was unleashing, discovering, exploring and having so much fun!
I didn’t stop experimenting until I felt like I had found something that was completely true to who I was and what I wanted to express. And from that painting on, I never went back to classical painting.
Here is a translated interview for a Swedish TV show from 2007 – I am talking about “Judith” and my creative process in the video.
In 2010 I was invited to participate in a group show in Culver City, California – but I hesitated a long time before I agreed to do it, because I was deep into the struggles of my creativity blockage and in a new depression because of it.
When I started to work on “Sympathy For The Devil” I soon felt how I was struggling with the style, composition and with self doubting. I wasn’t having fun, I was in a war with myself.
I couldn’t seem to get it right. It lacked the playfulness and the energy I always see in my paintings. I felt dissatisfied. But I kept struggling; painting, changing, painting, changing…
But the troubles with this painting didn’t end there.
After I had sent the painting on its way to the States, I received some devastating news from the gallery.
“Sympathy For The Devil” had been totally destroyed in the shipping process! I was crushed!
These are the pictures the gallery sent:
After I’d overcome the shock, I started to work on a new painting to send, I had to start over with a new idea – but I kept the style of it. The result was “Little Grace With Killer Doll”:
And it made it safely to the States and the gallery. But I never saw “Sympathy For The Devil” again.