I will create more digital demon portraits. Having fun and experimenting. This is the first draft.
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:
- stress reducing and finding balance within
- focus (eliminating distractions and negative energy)
- understanding my value as an artist
- no doubting or hesitating
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.
I am completely into the flow of my creativity and I am working on 10 digital pieces and paintings at the same time. But I am not stressed, I feel better than I have in a very long time. So many problems have been solved. I am free from distractions and fears at the moment. It’s just me and my creativity – and Johnny for one hour a day during the weekdays when he’s at lunch. It’s all I need to keep moving forward.
It’s been such an intense month. I’ve created 5 digital works and I have 5 in progress right now. I am also working on 5 paintings at the same time. That’s 15 artworks, completed and in the making, in January alone. Just to understand how special this is, I will remind you that I only made 4 artworks in total during 2014. I need to slow down, but I’m just having so much fun – it’s hard to go slow when I am so deep into this amazing flow.
I am so full of ideas. I don’t know what to do with everything that pops up in my head every day. I have many new ideas for writing projects, artworks and future endeavors. I am not complaining, I’ve been waiting for this moment for a long time, but I don’t know how to handle it. I am feeling a bit overwhelmed. I also feel rich – and grateful. I have this talent that is like a treasure chest with a never ending surplus of imagination and creativity. As long as I am lucid in my head, able to use my hand, eyes, feet, lips or whatever physical aid I need to be able to create, write or speak, I will be loyal to what’s in that treasure chest.
I am a lucky person, because what I create and put into the world somehow comes back to me like a beautiful reward. Every week, people send me warm and generous messages about my art. Not all people get such feedback when it comes to their work. I don’t think people thank their mailman for delivering the mail on time every day, or send positive feedback to the pilot after a successful flight. Being an artist is to work with the mind, heart and soul as the raw material for an expression – and then send the expression into the world to be looked at, judged, bought, ignored, praised or ridiculed. It takes a lot of courage to do that, but it can also be so rewarding. And when I am having a shitty day, things like this reminds me of my mission and why I am displaying my heart and soul in the public arena:
The life of an artist is not easy. I’ve had to sacrifice a lot. I can’t even see myself having children when all I want is to be alone in my studio working non-stop for hours, days, weeks. My kitchen is a mess, I haven’t had the time to watch movies lately and I can’t find the time for other things I love to do, like reading, writing, making notes and research about psychology. I need to find a good balance for this flow, or I’ll disappear into it completely.
I can’t shake the feeling that I’ve wasted so much time – and that time is so very precious. I am waking up from a million mistakes and I can’t afford to waste more time on the wrong things. It stresses me but also motivates me and keeps me inspired me at the same time. I have so much I want to do. I have so much to give. So many things I want to prove to myself.
When it comes to my digital work, I am in an experimental phase and I’m having so much fun! I love it. Most of the times I don’t know what I am doing, but I am trying new things and that’s how I learn. Being self-taught is all about trial and error. I welcome mistakes and ugly drafts, which I eventually abandon. They are all important steps of practice and refining my technique.
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:
Capture strong emotions in their primitive state
Use vivid colors
Find a balance between light/dark and playful/serious
Simplicity and a clear composition (no unnecessary details or a realistic approach)
The expression should not be flattering or perfect in an obvious way
The expression has to feel like ‘home’ to me
It happens that I never finish my digital pieces. I don’t know why, perhaps they’re lacking a good composition, or the storytelling doesn’t work. But sometimes I steal one or two details from the unfinished works and put them in a different context and then everything just works. They come alive. This is what happened with ‘My Secret Lover’ . It was originally part of this chaotic composition [above]. I don’t know what the hell I was thinking while I was making it, but it just didn’t work out. It’s too busy, too cluttered and the story doesn’t make sense at all. A giant Pinocchio wedding cake with bugs, Batman, toy soldiers, cocks in the sky, eyeballs and some strippers? What was I thinking?
So I stole the stripper with purple hair riding the tin chicken [placed in middle/right area of the piece] and put her in a much more serene space. And it worked.
Here it is, framed, hanging on a buyer’s wall:
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.
My body is all tingly. To paint is to create new life. It excites me. Brushstrokes are like colored breaths. Dipping a dirty brush in the water – see how the paint dissolves like smoke just beneath the surface. Dancing with lines. Hiding in the space between them. Messy hands, covered in paint. White. Pink. Prussian blue. Skin. The scent of nuances without a name. Shadow-less time. The stillness of the studio. Rough strokes with the brush like scratching, wanting to tear into the life inside the canvas. I am soon there. Inside it – but bringing it out. Exposing it. My nature, in a thousand layers of paint.
Coffee is part of the palette when you are painting in the morning. Everybody knows that.