The reward

After I launched the new site, I sort of crashed. I’m exhausted. So I took yesterday off to rest and collect new energy. I am finding clarity in so many things now days – in my creativity, my health and when it comes to love and happiness. I feel awake and present. Engaged with the world around me. Even though I lost a lot of things things year, the things I gained are priceless to me. And I gained them through each loss.

I lost some dreams. I lost a tooth. A lot of hair due to stress. I lost part of my family. I lost opportunities. I lost money. I lost both a sense of control and myself for a while.

With Johnny, earlier this year

With Johnny, earlier this year

But I also lost the last PTSD symptoms, which used to rule my every day life. I lost many destructive and false self images. I lost the connection to my inner Lolita, who used to love feeling submissive. I lost the survival strategies that made it possible for me to live my life without constantly being prepared for a new catastrophe. I lost my dance partner in the destructive, psychological dance of death. I lost a lot of stupid distractions. I lost the creative blockage. I lost the heavy burden of carrying other people’s responsibility and judgement. And all those losses have liberated me from so much fear, pain and suffering. It brought me closure. It gave me a chance to be myself, without being afraid to make other people uncomfortable. It made it possible for me to finally accept Johnny’s love without wanting to push him away – and for me me feel at home in myself, in my art and in the love I share with Johnny (no wonder my new digital piece is called ‘Homecoming’). It makes me feel more at peace. Balanced. Centered. More alive.

What a beautiful reward.

‘Acceptance’ is more about letting go

wip

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.

.

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

.

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]

.

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

tumblr_ob2thcX87K1ujheqpo1_500

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.

giphy

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.

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.

shot_1470133030041~2

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.

Counting the days

IMG_20160726_011509
I woke up to a cloudy day. It’s still hot but at least the sun is not too bright. I feel somewhat cloudy too. I’m totally out of sync with my emotions, it’s been an intense month with a lot of emotional discharge. I feel a little worn out. Johnny will be here in a few weeks, so I want to feel centered and energized before his arrival. I need to isolate myself for a while, like I do whenever I need to find that perfect sync between mind, body and heart.

Even if my inner batteries are running low, I feel strong and in control of my own destiny. I know where I am going. I am aware of my own behavior and choices. And I’m still working on my art – and it means everything to me. I feel so inspired. I’m growing as an artist, I feel like I’ve reached a new artistic level. It doesn’t happen a lot, perhaps only a handful of times in a lifetime. But it has happened now and it makes me feel proud. I know I am without competition in my style (both here in Sweden and internationally) – and in the way I use my trauma to express female sexuality and the integrity of the soul. It makes me feel confident and like I really matter as an artist, like I make a difference somehow.

My creativity is leaking into every area of my life now days – even my relationship with Johnny is a beautiful creation that we’ve both been working hard to maintain and add to with everything we are and have. It’s our own little piece of heaven – our home in the world, even if we are separated by an ocean. I can’t wait to have him here with me. We are counting the days.

But first I need to meditate and recharge. I have so much I want to accomplish, so much I want to experience – but so little energy. I think that my art could be the perfect place to get in sync with myself. I feel grateful. Where would I be without my creativity? Even the thought of it is unbearable. I feel lucky – and I know my creativity will save me, every time I need to be saved. That is why I never need to be saved by a man or anyone else. This is what makes me strong. This is part of my core strength. It’s what will keep me going, no matter what. But I owe it to myself to keep it safe and in sync. So that’s what I have to do now.

One step at a time

IMG_20160512_194212

My very first day at the gallery was amazing. I really need this right now. To be part of the world outside my own studio again. I’m sure this will inspire my work as well.

But I’m worried about my new collection of paintings. The painting process is so much slower than I first expected. It’s not that easy to build a whole new life for myself, to improve my self-esteem, overcome PTSD and trauma, while starting a new serious long distance relationship – and at the same creating a new body of work to restore my art career. I have to give it more time. I understand that. But with this speed of the painting process, I won’t be able to promote a new collection of artworks in at least 1-2 years. So far, I have three paintings and maybe 15 digital pieces to show. But my goal is to produce 10-15 paintings for the next show, that I’ll probably make in my hometown or in Stockholm.

When I’ll get more used to this new routine of working in the gallery, I’m sure I’ll find a way to balance the creativity with self-discipline and fun time. I know I have to work harder than this to make it, but I have to continue to take one step at a time. Otherwise, I’m just gonna end up being overwhelmed and exhausted. And I won’t allow that to happen again. This time, things will be done in the right way, in the right order. This time, I know so much more about myself and  about my creativity than I did before. I’ll make the past failures work as a guideline for my future success.

Sad stuff from the time I couldn’t make art

IMG_8373

Drawing from 2013

Screenshot_20160407-101020

FROM MY DIARY:

September 10th 2013

“Dear art.

Where have you gone? I miss you so much. We are one. You are me – and I am you. You are my voice and my best friend. You helped me when I needed it the most and you pushed me out of the big depression in 2008, I know it was all your doing and I am so grateful. But lately, I’ve been having all kinds of new feelings towards life, myself and – you. So we could start over, forget about depressions and gloomy things and just go nuts, what do you say?”

January 4th 2014

“My darling, it’s silly that we should avoid each other like this. I know things have been very awkward and painful between us for a long time – but I’ve never lost my hope about us. Remember the magic we created together? All that glorious beauty and powerful statements? I think about all the times we pushed paint around on the canvas together. A thousand shades of pink. Baby blues. Mars Black. And the warm flowing colors of fire. I feel curious about how it would be like to meet somewhere again. We have both changed I’m sure. We are older, wiser, survived great pains and passions that have carved our characters into new shapes and temperament. I long for you. I miss you. And I miss us. Will you connect with me once more, if I asked you? I know we still got it. I can feel it within myself, the sparks and fireworks when we connect. I am here for you, waiting for you, as I have been for many years. I will be in my studio tomorrow. If you come to me, I will love you for as long as you need me. Let’s tell our stories. Come to me my love. Tomorrow.”

May 30th 2014

“Dear art.

Its been a while since I wrote a letter to you. But this time I have something important to tell you. I can see how I have forced myself upon you, how I’ve tried to use to just to make money and how brutally I have treated you because I’ve been too stubborn and my ego is too big. I know I’ve been hating you, even wanting us to part forever. I’ve used my frustration to push you away because the pain has been unbearable at times.

I hope to hear from you soon.

/Mia”

11425083_10152943321087654_7557787854533648860_n

Can you now understand how wonderful it is for me to finally be able to unleash all the creativity I have inside me?

7 years later.

A new direction

I took the day off to rest. I’ve been working hard on the painting this week and I’m a little rusty – it’s been a long time since I was able to have this kind of deep focus. I get easily drained. But I am not complaining,  I feel really happy. My mojo is working, I feel sexual and inhibited while painting, even though the painting is very controlled and well balanced. But there is so much happening inside me. At night I have these dreams where I’m finding new rooms in my house,  rooms I didn’t know about.  That’s how it feels like inside me right now. I’m finding new space to occupy. New land to conquer. More of me.

I’m letting go of all the bad energies, I’m not holding on to any anger, regret or bitterness. Perhaps that’s why I’m taking this painting in a new direction. The original theme was rage, but it’s just not there anymore. I’m trying out some new things, both in my technique and in the themes. I have such a big treasure chest of a private mythology now since all those years in therapy. The symbols of the mythology is slowly getting integrated in my art. It is really exciting. My new art is more personal. I feel naked, but in the best of ways.

I finally have a title for my new work – “The Core”, and I think it’s a transitional piece. Something that has both my past and my future in it. A new Era is coming and a new artistic language is emerging from my core. I’ll let it speak up. Loudly and proudly.

Turning shame into pride

IMG_20160323_213943~2

This week has been really intense. I’m in this new place where everything is finally starting to come together. My life has been really fragmented for so long, but now it’s like all the pieces are finding their way back to create a more solid shape. There are still some cracks and gaps to fill, but it’s just a matter of time until I find whatever is missing.

I am really happy I made so much research about shame, vulnerability and fear of failure/success, because they were all tangled up together inside me – one thing fed the other in a very destructive way. I feel so liberated. Where I used to feel shame, I now feel a sense of pride. I had lost the joy of looking at my own art – it made me embarrassed and uncomfortable. But now I feel very connected to my artworks and I feel happy looking at them. During the years of blockages and artistic drought, the characters in my art turned into my enemies. They were never as perfect as I wanted them to be. Not expressive enough. Not as alive as I wished they could be. My art made me frustrated. It pissed me off. Made me depressed. I don’t see it like that anymore. I feel really proud of what my mind, eyes, hands and soul can create together. I try to not judge it and to let it be whatever it is without wanting it to be more than it is; more perfect, more expressive, cooler, more playful, creative or more intellectual. It is what it is and I created it, it is part of me. It is something to be proud about. It is the part of me that makes me really special. I will try to remember that more.

The new painting (still without a title) is sitting on the easel in my studio right now and I am in love with it. I can’t wait to work on it tomorrow again. I’ve missed this feeling of love and intoxication in the first stages of making a painting (before you feel done with it and start thinking about the next project).

Day 1

rsz_img_20160321_221007

Work in progress

It’s the first day of my new journey where my creativity is the main focus. I’ve been painting again for the first time in a very long time. All the hard work I’ve put into my self-empowerment has paid off. The anxiety is gone. It was there whenever I stood in front of the easel for over 6 years. Today it felt smooth and easy to paint. I wasn’t scared, I didn’t feel any pressure and my mojo created that sweet flow I’ve been longing for. I started with the face, like I always do. For the first time I gave my Lolita demon green eyes, the same shade as mine. Perhaps my art will be more personal from now on. I feel so much closer to myself now. More connected. I’m sure it will be visible in my future creative projects as well.

I tried to create time blocks so I could practice self-discipline and focus without distractions. One hour at a time, where I’m totally focused on what I’m doing – no multi tasking, no looking at my phone or talking to other people. After an intense hour I take a little break and then go back for another hour of intense painting. I think it will work.

I’m so drained. My eyes hurt. I will rest now and continue painting tomorrow.

I feel really happy.