Sunday, December 30, 2012

The hest...

Hest means horse but spelled wrong. It's the name of my odd little alter-ego horse that is really emotionally unstable, totally confused and has a really cute fat tummy! He has no name. Just hest.

This little fella has sort of developed into some online comic thing with no story what-so-ever. I usually draw the hest in various situations I find myself in through my every day life. I also drew the horse family for all my relatives this Christmas which was really fun. This whole thing started with a really weird prank my ex-husband and my sisters friend pulled during a vacation in Denmark. We were just sitting by a table and J started singing this silly song about a horse that was really tiny that had no friends despite being really cute. My sister got all confused and wondered what the song was and he said they had sung it in kindergarden. So my sisters friend went along with it and started singing too and my sister ran to my mom and asked her if she had heard it. It was pretty hilarious since it was just a random silly song that came out of nowhere, and it got stuck in my head.

So I'd sit and sing this song sometimes and the office and it became my theme song in a way. And then I just drew the hest and that's how this epic tale began. At some point I might collect all the little pictures of this guy and make a book out of it. The tricky thing is translating it to english since it doesn't quite work the same way. I write little captions to every picture in swedish and I use odd grammar-errors and spelling mistakes to add a certain feel to the whole thing. When I try to do that in english it just ends up really stupid. Well, the images sort of speak for themselves a lot of times.

The picture in this post was made after some weird viral facebook-group grew popular in sweden, called: "Horses don't exist" which claims that horses are actually fruits.... that doesn't exist. I jokingly got upset and pretended this group really offended me because of my alter-ego horse. So the guys at the office sneakily made me 'like' the page while I wasn't in the room. I still haven't figured out who did it, but I will... So I drew this sad sad picture of the hest having an identity crisis. Is it a horse, is it a fruit? Does it even exist? It just doesn't know anymore...

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Goth Ninja!

I can afford to buy clothes again! Woopidooo! Ever since I got a real job with a real salary all my hard earned cash has been spent on sustaining my ex-boyfriends modest alcohol and nicotine consumption, paying rent and yeah, pretty much everything else two people need in order not to die or end up on the street. So now that I don't have that annoying problem anymore I can start spending money on myself. Feels kind of awesome.

I've written before that I really love fashion. I don't really care much about styles or trends, but I love looking at what people wear on the street. I'm addicted to collecting images of sweet wears and good looking combinations. For being a fashion-obsessed female I am really lazy when it comes to shopping or even spending time thinking about what I wear myself. I'm trying to change that a bit. I probably won't become a shopaholic fashionista because that doesn't seem very appealing or budget-friendly anyway. I've rejoined lookbook though! Not that I ever spent that much time uploading pics there. I did it once and lost all faith in myself as a human. I've learned a lot since then though! Such as dressing however I want and to stop comparing myself to others or doubt myself. I talked to a friend recently who had this exact problem. A huge amount of inspiration to start dressing up and really spend time feeling pretty but she couldn't stop comparing herself to "more beautiful" people. I think this is reeeeally common and I've felt exactly the same. I told her to look at all the pictures of these beautiful people and imagine that they are all just drawn characters in a TV-show or in a game. Look at them for inspiration and enjoy the amazing visuals of what people can do with clothes, hair, everything. Never be scared to look the way you want to look. If people judge you they will probably be too chickenarsed to say anything and they'll walk around in their own boring lives, being judgmental chickens. That's just sad! Everyone has something about them that is pretty. Enhance that. My friend for example really loved her own hair but never really did anything with it so I told her to just go crazy and find some sweet hairstyles to try. I think she did, and she seemed happy as soon as she started thinking of herself like that.

You are the main character of the story that is your life, so dress for the part and be who you want to be. That's my new motto in life.  So, what's this goth ninja business? It's a really cool-looking style I'm trying out. All black, grey with layered clothes. Combining different textures and focusing on silhouette . All I need to complete this look is a proper leather jacket and a really big hoodie. It's so much fun to play with self customization again!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Grimes

I think it was the end of last winter, just as it started to feel like spring was approaching. Elysia sent me a link to watch a video by Grimes and I just fell straight in love. Her way of layering her voice to create that beautiful sound, the creativity of how she changes her looks and of course her raw talent and presence on stage. I wanted to paint her portrait back then but since I didn't paint much at all at that time I just forgot about it or pushed it further into the future. Her song Genesis followed me almost every morning on my way to work and I remember how it fit perfectly with my mood once the sun started shining in the mornings again after a long, dark winter.

So it's almost been a year since I first heard her music and my inspiration peaked again after several lengthy discussions with other passionate Grimes-fans at work. Trying to pinpoint the exact feeling I get from her music into one image was really tricky and just like every time I try to make art out of something I truly love, I get all picky and unsure. I'm kind of satisfied with the result but I still prefer to just watch her videos and smile at how she sings with an adorable lisp and how quirky and unique she seems to be as a person.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Speedy obnoxious brat!

Well yeah, that's me. I have no idea how this happened but my personality seems to have just flipped out completely and I've gone from somewhat overly polite, shy and introvert into some sort of hyperactive, filthy-minded brat. I even annoy myself by being so overly confident and thoughtless. It's way too fun to stop though, and it's not like I'm making an effort. It's the opposite actually. I'm trying real hard NOT to be too intense. Happy and confident is one thing, over the top crazy and impulsive can be scary.

I wouldn't say I have an attitude problem... It hasn't become a problem yet anyway and I hope that I'll be able to stay out of trouble even though I feel a constant urge to get into trouble just to make life more exciting. I have no idea how this happened to me, but if I happen to say something really stupid, offensive or just plain annoying, feel free to tell me to shut the fuck up. Can't promise I'll obey but I'll try!

I'm writing this as a warning and an explanation for my weird behavior and my freaky change of character over the last few weeks. Not really an apology, because I don't think I've hurt anyones feelings and also because I've been apologizing all my life. Sometimes I've felt sorry for everyone around me that has to put up with my very presence. Changing into a jumping, laughing and energetic maniac is actually truly enjoyable and I can't believe how sad I used to be. I still get sad, but only for short periods of time where I just cry as violently as I possible can to get it over with quickly. Then I go right back to memorizing dirty rap-lyrics and laughing at how silly I am. No shame, no regrets... yet.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Oh Lara, screw them all!

So after writing about my thoughts while designing Skye Autumn for Sanctum 2 it reminded me of my love for Lara Croft. It also reminded me of how pissed off I get every time she is mentioned in discussions regarding sexism in games, which is... a whole lot. She's like the poster child of sexism in games and I just don't get it.

There really aren't a lot of characters to mention when it comes to genuinely cool female leads in games. Those who are cool though are praised to the skies and beyond, and for good reason too. Lara Croft is often portrayed as the worst example of a female character ever in the history of the WORLD! She has been called everything from a "man with boobs" to "slut", and this is by people who say they are fighting against sexism. My head gets all messed up while trying to figure out how that works.

So, what is my opinion of Lara? She's AWESOME! I'm not talking about the games themselves, the movies or any other specific media where she is portrayed. I just love her character for what it did for me when I was 12 years old and found an old CD with Tomb Raider II at a friends house. I got to borrow it. I think it took me over a year to finish playing that game (because I was a 12-year old noobcake and I still am) I remember bringing my friends over to play along with me and we could sit there in a group of four or so pre-teen girls and just have a really frikkin' good time while stepping into Laras shoes. I remember endlessly watching her animation as she would jump around with dual pistols, braid fluttering behind her. I copied the way she rolled her socks over the edge of her combat boots. I put pictures of her in my locker at school. My sketchbooks from that time have page after page with drawings I made of her. A role model? Of course she was! She was this badass girl that could just whip out an M16 from her tiny backpack to spray bullets into the face of a T-Rex. How is that NOT cool?

So, the boobs apparently. Or her shorts, or her lips. I dunno, there is something about her body that isn't good it seems. Is it just me or does the size of polygons matter that much? Especially in a world where Laras kitchen sink was just as big as her bath-tub? The proportions weren't exactly realistic in any way. I'm not saying she wasn't portrayed like a sex-object in promotional art or through later games and of course, the movies. I still can't really understand it because the only thing that seems to matter is her body and her clothes. To me, fighting sexism isn't about pointing at someone and yell: "Your breasts are way too big and you should bring some real pants before you go into the jungle to fight dinosaurs!!!" That rather seems like adding more sexism into the messy mix. It's as if people want her to prove something. She has to represent half the population of the world and if something isn't good she's blamed for it. I don't want to defend the creators of the games, they don't interest me. Lara Croft is an icon by herself and to me she was probably the first step into deciding to work with video games as a profession.

It also makes me really tired to realize that the only time people ever seem to talk about Lara is when it comes to sexism, and now I'm doing the exact same thing. Bleeegh, how bothersome. Still, I felt the sudden impulse to write this and to spontaneously do a Lara-cosplay in the middle of the night. It's probably the easiest thing ever. Braid, boots, top, shorts.... and a photoshopped gun of awesome. The only thing I had to do was to fetch my boots and then take a picture. If the portrayal of Lara is that horribly objectifying then my normal lazy-at-home-outfit may be more vulgar than I thought. Now if I ever have to read another article complaining about Laras bra-size I'll find a T-Rex and ride into the sunset on its back.

Skye Autumn

Skye Autumn, the over the top confident elite soldier BADASS! She has been revealed on the Coffee Stain Studios Blog and on the Sanctum facebook page. Killing off Lumes as if she was a kid popping balloons at a party, probably just to watch the other kiddos cry.

Re-designing Skye from the first Sanctum game was a personally scary challenge for me. I was there when the first sketches of her were made before the school project that would become Sanctum. It was painted by Johan Wahlbäck, my husband back then and still one of my dearest friends. I remember sitting in our apartment, discussing and debating over her hair and her clothes. Two concept artists with strong ideas could get quite tricky at times. I think I even yelled at him about the hair at some point. Sorry about that dude! I was just frustrated that I was one year behind in education and didn't get the official concept artist position! One thing we did agree on though that we wanted to make her stand out as something other than the usual, bland version of a female game hero that's usually just a version of the male one but with more stuff on the torso and then some sex as a weapon that might or might not be good for killing stuff with.

So this time I didn't have to sit on the sidelines. I really wanted to stick to original idea of Skye as that uncaring, brutally skilled badass. In Sanctum 2 she is a bit older, a bit more battle-hardened and got some hair shaved off. All designs for Sanctum 2 were made with the goal to make things feel even more crisp and cool than in the first one. Sharper whites, more intense blues and of course, a main character with more bite. Designing her looks and writing her story has honestly been one of the most entertaining and awesome work assignments I could ever have imagined. I wanted to be a character designer when I was a little kiddo, and here is the first proof of my childhood dream coming true. Schweeet!




Probably, my top priority while breathing new life into Skye was to keep the feeling of her as that kickass action hero (or antihero) that she was intended to be. In her biography I wrote:

"Her bad attitude is simply tolerated as long as she keeps killing off Lumes for the sake of Elysion One. 
Skye lives for the adrenaline rush of the perfect kill and enjoys battle as if it was all a game to her. The rumor say her crazed laugh after a successful mission even makes her commanders feel uneasy. Skye herself is very well aware of her bad reputation and makes no attempt to improve it. Why would she?"


I wish I had the time to write an entire book about her. Never asking for anyones opinions of her, going her own way, all in order to get what she wants and to have fun in life. She's pretty much my hero. Although she is kind of unfriendly.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Leaping over the top

I woke up tonight after another really vivid dream. I seem to have a lot of those lately. Usually they are quite disturbing and scary. This one was too, at first.

I dreamed I was back at the hospital but this time it had changed a lot. All the patients had to care for themselves and the building seemed all abandoned as if during a zombie apocalypse. There was a lot of fighting going on and the feeling was really unsettling. I found my friend there and her room was all trashed up. I told her we should escape but she couldn't because she would get killed.

I managed to get out and I was helped by two co-workers although they were dream versions of co-workers that don't actually exist. The setting had changed to become a really dark version of the city I grew up in, Västerås. The three of us dashed through the streets at a really incredible speed. During dreams I'm usually painfully slow while trying to run but in this one it felt like we were breaking the sound barrier as soon as we moved.

We tried to find hideouts in old shopping malls but they had all closed down. Somehow I lost sight of the guys and ended up on my own in a huge skatepark. To find my friends and catch up with them again I ran through crowds of skaters, capoeira fighters and punks. While running I could jump with such intense speed and strength that I could scan the whole scene to pinpoint where my friends were. In the end I found myself in an old concrete building, smoking a cigarette while some random dude yelled at me for disturbing the peace by jumping around like that. I laughed at him, gave him a kiss and then kicked his ass.

Then I woke up and painted this pic. Haaaa!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Some of my own

So, as I mentioned some days ago I've wanted to get pierced for a really long time. I've gotten an outlet for this urge by almost always adding piercings to my character drawings. It's an odd thing about my personal art, because I can't tell if my characters look like me or if I'm copying my own characters. I think it's just my own personal taste poking through in all the stuff I do. Speaking of poking through, I had my skin poked through this afternoon! A rush of adrenaline is effective against pain, but since I'm all socially awkward I found it more scary to walk into the studio than to get sharp stuff forced through my face. Either way I went ahead and got this done today and I'm really happy about it. I painted commissions to be able to afford this christmas gift for myself despite poor economy. I finally feel a bit more like myself in a way, because this is sort of the mental image of what I've wanted to look like for a very long time.

Downsides? No smoking for two weeks, and if I get a cold I'm fucked... Let's see how this goes.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Influences

I've had this in mind for ages but I've always been way too confused to be able to gather up the artists and specific things that has influenced my own style of art. It's still incredibly difficult, not because I don't know what has influenced be, but because I have such a huuuuuuuge list of influences and sources of inspiration. I chose to include those who I remember as real "eye-openers" that really made me change and adapt my own style, eventually making it look like it does today. I'm trying to make a difference between influences and sources of inspiration, since I can find inspiration in anything really. People I see on the street, a specific scene in a movie, the shade of a concrete wall I pass by. It would be impossible to gather my inspiration like that.

So these are a few choice picks out of the huge pile of artists and works of art that has truly been influences style-wise. The ones I feel have made the biggest impact are Jamie Hewlett, artist of Tank Girl and Gorillaz and also Barabucci and Canepa who has made the graphic novel Sky Doll. Also the animated sequence from Kill Bill made me gasp the first time I saw it and I studied it frame-by frame to be able to replicate the exact way of drawing faces the way O-Ren was depicted. Back then I didn't even come close, but looking at the scene today and comparing what I can do I'm pretty satisfied!

Like I said, these are only a fraction. I have to mention a bunch of other artists that I love and often go back to in case I need more inspiration or help along the way to improve. I'll just namedrop...

Arthur Rackham, Brian Froud, Paul Bonner, Jon Foster, Justin Sweet, Phil Hale, Amano, Studio Ghibli, Mucha, Waterhouse, Android Jones, Michael Shapcott, Skin Graft clothing brand, the webpage lookbook.nu, Blade of the Immortal and then of course all of the random amazing art and photography I find around the web.

The reason I wanted to do this little summary of my influences is because when people comment on my art they often compare it with various artists and ask me what my inspiration is. The answer is always so tricky since sometimes I make a picture heavily influenced by a particular artists style, and another time I have no specific influence at all but rather a combination of all of the above. A lot of people also seem to struggle with "finding their own style" and this always confuses me a bit. An artists style doesn't have to be fixed. It just grows from all of the influences you gather. Every little piece of art you consume and aspire to will be entwined into your style. I've learned all I can about art through endless copying and replicating. That's pretty frowned upon for obvious reasons, but it's needed in the beginning or while trying to learn something new. For example I tried for ages to get the dynamic lineart skills and quirky anatomy from Sky Doll to work in my art. I made fan art of Noodle from Gorillaz to really try that style to it's edge. Now I don't even think about it but parts of those artists show through my style that has now become mine. A fusion of lots of reeeeeally cool things that has become something of it's own. The enmi-style! Everyone has their own.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Source

 I got to paint another commission from the same world as Lonikaï. This girl is named Source and I loved painting her. It was a struggle to get her facial expression just right. That angle just made her eyes look crazy if I put a pixel in the wrong place, but I think I managed to avoid crazy-eyes. So that's another weekend spent working, but I'm enjoying it. To celebrate this I'll eat some noodles and watch sci-fi movies all night!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Core Guardian






This is the comic I made for Sanctum as one of my first work assignments at Coffee Stain Studios. It was released on the game forum and then later in real comic book form as a piece in the collectors edition box of the game. It was made as a part of the release of some new maps for the game and it was a true challenge for me to paint this. I remember panicking about all the little details, the perspective and colour choices. I honestly haven't gone back to look at it again until now.

Since I made this over a year ago I just assumed that it wouldn't measure up to my own standards, but looking at it now I'm actually impressed by my one-year-younger self. Above everything though I'm thrilled to re-read this now that Sanctum 2 is so well on it's way to becoming the game we all had imagined when we started. Actually, it goes beyond my own expectations and these past two weeks my mind has been exploding with newfound inspiration and creativity at work. I've been sitting at the office until late nights, not because of time pressure but because it's just too damn enjoyable to just walk away from. Soon, soon I will be able to show my recent work and my whole body is itching with anticipation. I never thought a job could make me feel this damn good.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Stability is my middle name...

NOT! I've been spending my day at the office cycling between hyperfocused painting, listening to speedy music and then jumping around, posing and dancing while talking without pause. Such a moment was captured on camera and then I just went ahead and used my pro photoshop skills to make it a bit more awesome.

Okay, so I'm not completely out of my mind. I realize I'm in some sort of crazy hypomanic rush. As long as my co-workers don't mind and nobody gets hurt I guess that's alright. Spending months and months if not years in the exact opposite mood I just feel that this change is for the better. Remembering to breathe and stay calm is good. If I can just manage to survive this rapid pace of my brain I'll be able to enjoy it as long as it continues. I don't miss the gloomy, exhausted version of me at all. I guess I'm just that sort of person who feels the extremes of everything. Extremely energetic and happy is exactly what I need right now. Just... breathe!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Cold but excited!

Winter looks amazing but it is torture to go through, especially in the mornings. Somehow my body thinks a suitable reaction to cold is to start breaking out in cold-sweats during the night. As a result it feels like waking up underneath a heap of old gym clothes that has been left out in a dumpster overnight. Ok, maybe not that stinky, but just as gross!

Lots of clothes, scarves, hats, hoodies and blankets get me through these cold days. More than that though, my job brings me through my days! I haven't felt this excited about my job since my first weeks of employment. Sanctum 2 is blowing my mind away every day when I get to the office and realize this is what we have achieved in just about a year. Little by little the new content is revealed and I can't wait to share my concept art here! Gaaah! If you haven't already, make sure to follow Sanctum on Facebook for updates. You don't have to be an FPS-gamer. I'm not, I'm just an artist with no clue. I know how to paint to make games look good though! That's what I'm hired for after all.

This is the first piece of concept art released for Sanctum 2! The fierce walker warrior. All glowy and scaly. This was one of the first finished pieces of art I made for the enemies of Sanctum 2. I had never painted a monster in my entire life before I got this job. Character design has always been my area, but jeez, I learned! Designing these freaks of nature taught me so much about shapes and dynamic design. So, again, make sure to follow the work of Coffee Stain Studios, if not for gaming, at least to see what I've been doing 8 hours a day for more than a year!

Lonikaï

Since I seem to have a lot of energy to paint I thought I should open up shop for commissions again and last night I finished this piece for Feliane on DeviantArt. It's her original character Lonikaï. I was really inspired by her story and the post apocalyptic sci-fi world she exists in. I want to read the entire story!

It's tuesday morning and I just got in from a wild snow storm outside. I want tea but there is only old milk in the office fridge. Why-oh-WHY?! Well, I guess I'll live. So, back to the picture: My intention was to go with some sort of semi realistic painting style but as I went along the body got more and more realistic in it's shading. Since I felt like I had never been able to render skin with this level or realism before I just went with it to see how it would look. I usually have some sort of reference photo, or several of them. This time I didn't have anything up to even look at for direction. I don't usually mention stuff like that because I don't really think it matters. Your art isn't worth more or less depending on if you used references or not. Just mentioning now since I feel that I've learned a lot in just this little amount of time back into art since my absence. Feels good!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Found the confidence

I went out along with my co-workers this weekend. I probably had one of the best nights of my life. So many laughs, good conversations, silly jokes and amazing friends. New and old. We're truly like an odd nerdy family of creative people. It was ages ago since I got to party like that and I really needed it.

So while out, being slightly drunk and very energetic I threw out my long-time idea of getting piercings. I've wanted to do this ever since I was about 15 or 16 years old but I've always had different thoughts on why I shouldn't. Feeling too boring to be able to pull it off. What would others say? What would they think of me? No, shy little Emmy wouldn't be able to pull it off. I even had the strange notion that I was too old to do it. I'm 24 for goodness sake! I'm not to old for anything! So me and this new guy at work had the same trail of thoughts as it seems, and we agreed to just go and do it together at some point in a near future. No more looking to others for opinions. I know what I want and I have known for years.

This is my self portrait as I want to look. This is how I feel I look, at least while in a good mood and feeling confident. About confidence, I've got it back in abundance now. It feels so amazing to feel good about myself again after so many months (if not years) of self doubt. Work is fantastic, I have great friends and I have the energy to make reality of these things I've been having stuck in my head for so long.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Reclaiming me

"Doctor what's the diagnosis, what has gotten into me? Gotta be the bittersweet epitome of dignity." - Henry Bowers

All this chaos and confusion has led me to this point. I don't care if this happiness is just another symptom of my disease. I am happy, I am energetic, I am full of confidence and ideas. I love it!

While having this extra amount of everything, I feel that I can think more clearly too. Since I know more now about how my brain functions I can foresee things in my own behavior and avoid the things I know lead to bad places and enhance the things I know are good for me. Reclaiming myself to put it simply.

Being a person who constantly shifts in moods and self-image is really time consuming and tiresome. I know for a fact that I will fall back down into hopeless apathy again, because it's a part of a chronic mental illness, but just knowing that it will happen helps me to deal with the fear of that. Right now I feel so alive and awesome for real. I want to be able to remember that next time depression hits. I hope it takes years and years before that happens, but by that time I will be able to re-read this and know for a fact that the awful shit goes away and what comes after is amazing. Sometimes you drop down so low there is nothing left. When the way up begins again it is the most beautiful experience ever. Not talking about a struggle of positive thinking and fighting here. I mean the actual, real sensation that you start feeling lighter and happier again, for real. I might have an illness that sends me to the lowest pit of hell sometimes, but it also makes me able to fly as if I was high on the most potent party drug ever. Except it's free and legal. (Wouldn't know though. Pugs not drugs!)


Friday, November 30, 2012

skinny little bitch knife

Ok, so this is harsh, I know. But if you know me or have followed my blog for some time you know that I'm a huge fan of both fluffy cuteness and scary, bloody brutality. Last night I had so much energy and felt fueled by raging, empowering music and good action movies. I wanted to get that out into art. Make a character image of who I feel like while in a manic revenge-rage. No, I would never consider attacking someone with a knife, so don't worry. That is what art is for. Imagination is awesome.

I looked through my old Deadzone artwork and noticed how much I learned through those character designs and action drawings. I still love the idea of Deadzone. The project was put on ice since it was a collaboration between me and my boyfriend at the time and it's just not very easy to work on a creative and huge project with your ex. At some point Deadzone might come alive again. Nothing is impossible.

This character would fit right into that zombie apocalypse London mess. Probably a half-crazy, sadistic bitch who laughs at all the wrong places. I love getting into this frenzy of creativity and I hope it gets to last long this time. I know it's because I'm heading into a hypomanic episode but that doesn't make it less enjoyable. I ride along with my insane emotional rollercoaster and try not to fall off. Medication is my seatbelt.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Dusty

Almost exactly two years ago, me and my friend Gabriella made a school project that we named Elysion. We were a team of four but from what it felt like, this project was me and Gabriella pouring all of our souls into one 10-week long project that would sum up our tastes in art. A movie to show emotions, beauty and horror all in one. It was a really emotional experience and despite being a school-project we went in for it with heart and soul. The goal of the project was to create a trailer that would show gameplay for a made-up game of our own imagination. The actual game part wasn't all that important to us, so it's more of a story forced into game format.

I'd love to see it come to life as an actual game at some point, but I doubt that would ever happen. I am really happy to just re watch this now, two years after that cold November when we dreamed up this girl Dusty.

The story is about a girl who has a life threatening disease. A non-specific disease, it doesn't matter what kind. She fears it, hates it and is intrigued by it at the same time. As a result of her condition and imaginative mind she ends up half-way between reality and her own fantasy world. Here she meets the physical image of the disease that plagues her. Growing from her like a tree with blood red leaves. Beautiful, haunting and horrifying all at once. She tries to find herself, reach out to her disease. We'll never know how it ends.

This movie was very symbolic back then, and now more than ever do I feel like we actually accomplished the portrayal of ambivalence towards disease. Something that I'm currently and always in the middle of. Full credits at the end of the movie. Me and Gabriella collaborated on concept design and direction. She made all of the animations while I painted all the textures and modeled Dusty and her Disease. Now I'm gonna go ahead and watch it again.



Sunday, November 25, 2012

You have consumed me

 My little lamb, your tears make me hungry
Make sure they don't stain me while you cry
You say you feel pain, let me show you real pain
You are going to love it I'm sure
I confess I'm a wolf and I know you can't resist
It is in your nature to be consumed after all
I will stay with you while there is meat on your bones
Lick you clean while I tell you I am sorry
You will fade away and I will find a new lamb
I will leave you and you will disappear

No she said
I am heiress to the skin 
The wolf that was you
I will wrap myself in it's terrifying embrace
You have consumed me
There are shreds that you forgot
Your crying lamb has become the wolf
I stained you and you turned weak
It is you who will fade away
I will leave you and you will disappear

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Who am I?

I'm usually pretty sure about who I am. I have certain things I've always loved and they are a part of my core as a person. Animals, beautiful images, stories and faerie-tales. Outside of those things I have no clue what-so-ever because it seems like everything about me keeps shifting back and forth. Endlessly happy and confident to hopelessly sad and frightened. Sometimes a mix of both and then everything in between.

So honestly, I have no idea who I am. I know for a fact that I've had problems with myself all my life. It's just that these problems come and go. New ones come in, they change and I change along with them. One thing is for certain though. While I'm in one stage I always think that I'll stay that way forever but no. So what do the medical professionals think about this messed up brain of mine? They are the ones that are supposed to know how to measure these things in numbers, smart words and with long experience in science and psychology. The thing is though, they never seem to agree with each other. As a result they are just as confused as I am and I end up stuck in the middle of all these doctors, nurses, friends and family members that have different opinions about "what" I am. So where does this lead? Well, to a whole list of diagnoses of various mental disorders. Yay?!

This is what the doctors say:
Depressive personality disorder
Bipolar type 2
Emotionally unstable personality disorder (Borderline)
ADD
General anxiety disorder
Social anxiety disorder
Dyscalculia 

So, what to make of all that? Right now I just feel like they should include a new diagnosis into their book. "Emmy disorder". How on earth am I supposed to make some kind of order in my brain out of all these disorders I have? The most difficult part of this whole thing is that nobody I talk to seems to agree with everything. One doctor says I only have one of these problems while another say i have a mix of them all. Some react almost with anger because they don't think some diagnosis is appropriate for me at all. 

Funny fact in all this: As a result of many of these disorders I tend to rely a lot on what others think of me and what they tell me. So when one person tells me that I'm borderline and another say I'm ADD and they disagree with each other I'm just standing there in confusion and have no idea what to think. 

The thing I get so upset about is how all these different people I talk to just claim that their version is the truth. No matter what I say after that doesn't matter. One thing they forget however is that I don't show every side of myself to everybody. I don't think anybody does. One week I can be stuck in my home, afraid to even pick up the phone. The next week I might go out alone to a club with the sudden impulse to find a one-night-stand. Yes, these are true examples from recent time. I can also wake up feeling really happy and creative and then a few hours later I feel like the world is collapsing and I want to die. I don't understand myself and clearly nobody else understands either. So... who am I? Nobody knows. 

An enigma and a huge mess of faerie-tales mixed with mental issues. 

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Exploitation

So, how should I begin? I want to be able to describe my last couple of months in words. The whole of last year actually. I'll probably have to write a whole book to be able to explain it all. Well well, a blog is not a place to go into the ugly little details.

I made this very dark, dramatic image yesterday. A photo manipulation. Half photo and half painting. I don't usually go very far with my darker artwork just to avoid making it too exaggerated. Well, I just couldn't help myself this time. I've been so filled with anxiety, pain, anger and disappointment that I needed to pour it all out somehow.

I already knew I was a troubled girl. Self destructive and emotional. What I didn't know was how some people find the most subtle ways to exploit this. Self sacrifice, pleasing others, never letting my anger show, unleashing all that hate upon myself and then leaning onto those I trust, hoping that they will be able to carry me while I can't carry myself.

I've met both kinds. The ones who care and give out of love and those who care and give in order to get something back. The sort of people who demand something in return and when you can't pay up anymore you are discarded like a used condom. Filled with filth and left in the trash. Oh oh, how disgusting and dramatic! Well yeah, that's how it is. I could come up with other metaphors or simply write the truth about what makes me so upset, but it would be a bit too much to reveal.

I'm smiling now though because I've realized just how fucked up things have been and by realizing that I can quit blaming myself and actually bite back. I should start writing that book now. No worries, the usual smiley cute-loving enmi is still here. Bittersweet right?

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Other worlds


To put it very simply I can say that my life has been turned upside down several times over and over just during these past weeks. I stayed at the hospital to try to recover from my depression and anxiety. Came home with a sense of new strength but it was too fragile and in the end I felt even worse than before. Forced to go back to that sterile, locked up environment it just felt as if there was no hope at all. Not even a tiny glimpse of hope and in the middle of it all my relationship didn't last. Alone, sick, sad and locked inside a hospital. I'm surprised my body didn't just die on its own considering how dead I felt.

I didn't die.

My beautiful mother came to visit me and she got me books to read. A Song of Ice and Fire. I had already seen the TV-series A Game of Thrones and I thought I might as well read the books. It was so long ago I actually read fantasy books and after some time of reading I fell right back into that feeling I used to have when I was younger and really flew away right into imagination. Now and then people have told me that I shouldn't escape reality like that. I've felt sad that these fantasy worlds I learn to love don't exist. I learned to forget about fantasy to avoid feeling that sad. Tsk tsk.... Silly!

I can honestly say that these books saved my life. Dramatic words yes, but true. While lying in an uncomfortable hospital bed, surrounded by all sorts of misery and ugly yellow walls I could escape reality and find myself again. When I describe it in words it might sound almost like some sort of religious experience, and yes! Thats kind of exactly what it feels like. I crushed the awful limit I had put upon myself because others told me to live in the "real world". That's bullshit actually. I live in the real world wether I want to or not and if I want to spend my time in reality by sinking into imagination and experience other worlds, what makes that wrong? Nothing at all. 

When I was a kid and brought my polar-teddybear to kindergarden I used to tell the other kids that he could talk. I didn't really mean talk like humans talk, but in my imagination he could talk all the time. I remember some girl made fun of me and said it wasn't real. I'm really proud of the tiny version of me that replied:

"It is real. In my imagination he talks and if I can imagine it, it is real. Maybe not for you, but it is real to me."

That memory came back to me and I want to say the same thing today. Imagination and reality are the same thing, because everything is real. I don't actually have to believe there are unicorns and werewolves out there, but if I can imagine them it doesn't matter at all. In imagination they are very real. I have a vivid sense of imagination and instead of trying to suppress that I should just embrace it. Obviously it makes me feel better. It is not an escape from reality, it is the art of building your own reality, wether it's in a book, a movie or in your own head. It's free.

I kind of write what's in my head right now and I suspect I sound more insane while trying to explain what makes me happy than I do while I'm actually sick. It doesn't matter. I just needed to get the words out of my head. Now I'll go make myself a huge cup of tea and dive right back into other worlds.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Scent of clay

I've always loved dolls, toys, miniatures. Three dimensional things that you can feel the weight of, touch and watch as the shadows play in the shapes of it. My first attempt at sculpturing on my own was made when I was 14 years old. I had seen wonderful faerie-sculptures and got all over excited. Bought expensive clay and wanted to do it all at once. Complex poses, fragile glittering wings, hair and hands. It ended up in a complete disaster and I gave up on the thought all together. Sculpting was obviously not for me I thought.

Years and years have passed since then. My wish to try sculpting has not gone away and recently I've been more inspired than ever to try. Yesterday I went to an art supply store and got myself a little chunk of cheap wet clay. The kind you use in school. I got some basic tools and tried to set the bar low for myself. A small project to learn how the material works and to experiment with the human anatomy in the face.

This photo is the end result. It's a face, a bit smaller than an average egg. The clay was really difficult at first but I learned as I went along. I had to throw all my ambitions of tiny details and full control out the window. When I paint a face I spend so much effort on the eyes, the lips, the nose. Everything to get every pixel where I want it to be. I couldn't do that with clay, so I just let it guide me and slowly started to form shapes out of what it gave me. I'm really happy that I managed to finish this experiment and I'm eager to start on a new face. I'll try to make it with open eyes this time, but I have to be patient and not expect wonders out of myself. This is supposed to be creativity for energy and inspiration. To make something new that fills me with good feelings.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Me and my Dogs

My brain is like one big mess of riddles to me. I'm trying to unravel it and understand how it works. It confuses me all the time and now when I'm trying to heal it after a major breakdown I'm really starting to seriously look for answers. I think too much and when I'm out on the balcony, smoking with the Bear, I talk and talk about everything I think about. That's when it all starts to fall into place. I make up metaphors and find words and images to describe the mess that is me. I've started to take notes, and draw images to explain to myself, and to explain to others. I came up with this metaphor of me and the dogs just an hour ago and it feels much easier to handle than the abstract knowledge that I'm mentally ill. 

The basic idea is that there is me. Emmy, the healthy, normal me that is creative, positive, social and happy. Sensitive but still strong in a way. A person that has strong opinions and follows her heart. The person I am and want to be. However, this healthy Emmy has three unruly dogs on leashes that she has to constantly keep an eye on, watch over, take care of and worry about. Let me introduce you to my dogs:
ADHD(ADD)-dog: This little fella is unfocused, confused and energetic. He loves to start creative projects, learn things and meet people, but he can't really handle it all so he does nothing instead. Starts, stops, gives up, gets frustrated and tries again. He's kind of cute and I can laugh at the mess he leaves in my home and in my brain. Sure he's annoying as hell sometimes, but he can be handled with a bit of kindness and a bit of motivation. He just hates pressure.

Depression-dog: An old, sad and utterly exhausted old dog that lies around and gathers dust in his thick gray corner. He never sees the light because of all that messy fur, and he's not very interested in even trying to sort it out. He crawls around in his own misery and looks at the world with apathy and contempt. Nothing is ever good, nothing leads to anything, so why even try? He might as well curl up in his gloomy dusty corner and sleep all the time, or die. What does it matter anyway?

This dog is heavy to drag around, and his dust piles up on everything around him and clouds my judgement. His misery is contagious and even though he's always tired and inactive, he's very manipulative in his hopelessness.

Anxiety-dog: A huge, imposing and scary beast of a dog that always walks around as if on his guard. Always waiting for some unknown attacker. He doesn't know where the next provocation might come from, so he's ready to bite at any moment. As soon as he is triggered he starts to howl, bark, bite and chase his own tail. He wants to attack something but only manages to bite himself. He bites hard and screams both in anger and in pain. The other dogs are scared of him but the one he scares the most is himself. Running in panicky circles until he is too exhausted to howl anymore.

This is the scariest dog to carry around. Always lurking somewhere and can be triggered by anything. Big or small. He is provoked by the depression-dog, and in turn he provokes back. They trigger each other until everything seems to collapse and they constantly fight. Anxiety dog only hurts himself, but he scares the ones who meet him with his fierce outbursts.

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These dogs represent the different parts of me that are separated from each other but together they become a very heavy burden that the healthy, normal me has to deal with somehow. Every dog needs it's own kind of treatment and management, and one method might trigger another dog in a bad way. Now when I'm going to go through therapy again I hope to get to understand all my dogs and how to make them less intrusive in my life. Depression-Dog and Anxiety-Dog are not supposed to live at my place at all. They are supposed to go away. ADHD dog will and can stay. I don't mind him.
Therapy in a way has been like watching one of those dog-shows where some really experienced person manages to control and calm an unruly dog in the matter of seconds. It looks and sounds so easy, but when you try yourself you're lost and don't really know how it's supposed to work. This time around I really want to understand how to use all these methods and once and for all calm my dogs down. It's not supposed to be this difficult to be a dog owner.

The little things


As I mentioned before, yesterday we went out for a walk and I brought my camera along. I haven't used it properly in ages and it's been really difficult to find the time and energy to just walk outside and look for those beautiful little details in the world. We went to some fields by an area where they used to gather stone. It's abandoned now and nature is just left on its own. 

It was a very sunny autumn day and we just walked slowly while I dropped now and then to take a picture of some tiny thing that caught my eye. It was really soothing. When you're walking around and the world feels like a scary, ugly and unfriendly place you stop noticing the good things. I've been walking around like that for far too long and it was amazing to re-discover what I already knew. There are beautiful things everywhere, even in places you wouldn't normally look. My favorite kind of beauty is the kind you find in the middle of decay and chaos. The pretty ordinary things that you'd probably just walk straight past if not for that camera. The scenery was incredible on it's own with huge cliffs and  low mountaintops filled with autumn colored trees, but I like to look at the little things. Lower your gaze and look in the grass, in the dirt, and you'll be surprised how many details there are.

My sick-leave from work is almost over and it's bittersweet. I've been struggling every day with keeping myself together, and these paintings and photos I've managed to create are are the products of long hours of doubt before they actually got to be. I just hope that my sensitivity level won't be as difficult once I start working again. I miss my friends at the office, and I'm excited to see what has happened during my time away. Still it's scary to jump straight back into it. I'll have to turn that fear into excitement instead.



Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Burrow

Today started out horribly, but was redeemed by lots of really uplifting things. Me and the Bear went out for a photography walk in a really nice area. I'll probably post those photos tomorrow. After coming home I started working on this piece, inspired by my idea to paint a bird skull. The character grew around that concept and it was nice to just sit and let the lines flow and to really get into all those lines of the bones.

I've been really productive these last couple of days despite my poor health. It's deliberate since inactivity leads to lots of thinking which leads to thinking in circles and I end up lost in my own mind, doing nothing. You can't force creativity but I've tried to be quicker on grasping and keeping the inspiration when it pops up. Once that little hint of an idea is in place I just sit down and make sure to make something out of it before I start to doubt myself.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Hollow

Sometimes my thoughts scare me. The destructive, manipulative and horrible thoughts that are so difficult to control. It's like having an abusive and very smart monster in your head that constantly tries to convince you the worst is about to happen. That everything is hopeless and you might as well just give up.

When this monster sleeps I can look at it with disgust and I just don't understand how my mind can work like it does. I don't suffer from multiple personality disorder, but I can suddenly imagine what it's like. Even though I'm fully aware that it's me speaking inside my head while thinking it feels like it's another part of me that I don't want to have. The sick part that tries to convince me I'll always be sick and that nothing matters. I managed to win over my monster today and I sat down to paint this image that I've been waiting to do for weeks.

It's such a sad and dark image, but while drawing it I felt so happy and calm. She's hollow, like a withered tree scarred by the winter. Putting the destructive and sad parts of my mind into images helps me because when I get it out it leaves my mind for a while and lets me rest. If all those thoughts are allowed to hide in there they just grow and grow.

I think I'll have to fight this battle every day for as long as I live, but I know it's not always this difficult. It will get easier with time and eventually I'll look upon this time and smile at the thought that I didn't let the monster consume me after all. Instead I could create a monster in art. Or rather a very disturbingly dark ghost of a faerie. Constructive instead of destructive.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Motivational Mårten

He's a bit special. His shell is yellow and his tummy is all round and fat. His eyes stand out and his flappers are all curled up and too short to swim with. His name is Motivational Mårten, named during my time at the hospital by another patient who saw him dangling from my wrist. Everyone had their own hospital bracelet. White plastic with our names and social security numbers scribbled on them. This odd turtle got to stick around, attached to that bracelet. He brought me some comfort, some laughs and help. He likes to drink coffee but he's not allowed because he gets all weird and shaky.

Do I sound like a mentally unstable person? Yeah, probably. The thing is though that when I ramble about my imaginary animals I feel happy. The closest to myself as I want to be. The Bear told me a while ago that he noticed I wasn't feeling ok because I didn't comment on any of the horses or cows we passed along the road in the car. As soon as I can smile and silly-talk about animals you can be sure that I'm exactly as I should be.

I've started to write seriously about my life with some long-term goal to make it into a book. Not really with an ambition to publish it or even finish it, but writing every little thought, emotion and experience helps me deal with it all. I've tried to find help in reading about other peoples lives and experiences but I still feel all confused about my own. Sometimes my life is clear and simple. I feel relaxed, hopeful and strong. The next moment everything comes back with full force and slaps me in the face with the realization I'm still sick. The trick is to learn how to manage it, keep the fear at bay and to allow myself to be me, even during the most horrible moments. If I write here that I want our society to be more understanding towards mental illness, why then do I keep falling back into calling myself lazy, pathetic, stupid and worthless? Why can't my brain stick to the plan I've made? How can it be that things I've worked so long to change still are exactly the same? I have no idea. I'm just trying to stick to that shred of hope that this time around things will be different. That this time will be the last time I sink this far and that I'll be capable of taking care of myself in the future without having to fight for it every hour every day.

Patience is way easier to write about than it is to hold on to. Patience with myself, with waiting for the medication to take effect. Waiting for the next therapy session, waiting for all the rambling talk to actually lead to something. Waiting to get to see that doctor I was promised several months ago. Waiting for myself to get better. It can't be forced or rushed, but life goes on no matter how patient I try to be. I'm looking forward to the day I'll be able to get through a fully normal day without collapsing over nothing. Until then I'll have to stop blaming myself for not getting better faster. After years and years of this destructive pattern I can't expect to be cured in just a week. I just wish someone could tell me how long it actually takes and what I should do until then.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

All the adventures!

To take a break from all the seriousness that I've been going through and talking about lately, I felt like making a post about what has kept me happy, safe and inspired even through the evenings when everything felt hopeless.

Adventure Time! This awesome little cartoon has made me laugh, cry and just shake my head in utter confusion. It's so random and odd and cute at the same time. I love every bit of it. Today I got this sweet BMO t-shirt in the mail as a gift from the Bear. As a "get-well" present and just a sign of affection. We've spent so much time on our couch, underneath blankets and with cups of tea, watching Adventure Time. If you haven't seen it, you've surely missed out on something great. Next thing on my wish list is a Finn hat! I think I could make one myself... Probably a project that will never get done, but who knows?

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Anti-depression

I'm back at home now and it feels really great. My stay at the hospital has been difficult, helpful, scary and exhausting all at the same time. I've learned so much and I want to do a series of posts about different things concerning this. First off I want to write about my view on anti-depressants.

There is so much information about this, and even more opinions. After meeting a lot of professionals as well as patients I've learned a lot. Going through several depressions myself I've learned even more. Ever since I first realized my sadness was actually depression I've heard people either tell me to take pills against it or to avoid the pills like the plague. Overall from what I can tell, most people I've met are against anti-depressants. I've been there, but I've changed my mind.

I went for a long period of time on anti-depressants and didn't really feel any different. Time went by and I didn't even notice it once I was better. When I felt healthy and good I thought that the pills were unnecessary and I didn't want to take them, so I stopped. For a very long time I didn't feel any different and then I slowly started to sink into a depression again without even noticing before it was too late.

It's a sneaky disease , because that is what it is. It's invisible but it's real. It creeps up on you and you try to shrug it off as "I'm just having a bad day" or "I'm just tired". When you've had a bad day for a few months and you start to realize that "tired" is your normal state of being, that's when you realize you're sick. Usually it's too late by then, and the negativity just keeps spiraling out of control. You can't cure yourself, you need help. I needed help, and luckily I got it.

I'm back on anti-depressants and I'm hopeful this time. The most important thing though is the knowledge of how they work and the determination to never stop taking them again, not even when I feel good. I'll explain why.

The sort of anti-depressants I take control the serotonin levels in the brain. The substance that make you feel satisfied and safe. It doesn't add this substance, rather it shuts specific neurotransmitters down a bit so that this substance can build up on its own, because it's created by the body itself. That's why most anti-depressants make you feel hell of a lot worse the first week/month you take them. They actually make you more depressed at first. This is natural however, and means that they work exactly as intended. After a while, the body learns to create more serotonin on its own and you gradually, slowly start to feel better. This takes a very long time and it's a long process. Once you feel better again you have to keep taking the pills in order to stay that way. After you stop taking them it takes a long time for the effect to disappear, which is why it's so hard to tell wether the pills had any effect at all.

After learning this I started to realize that the pills I took the first time had actually worked. It was just so subtle I didn't even realize. Some of the anti-pill people might still think this is bad, because it makes people addicted to pills. Well, aren't diabetics addicted to their medication to regulate their amount of insulin? If you have a heart problem you might have to take pills all your life to regulate that. Why is it different because the disease is in your brain and affects your feelings instead of your physical body? Depression is deadly and I don't have a problem with the fact that I might have to take a pill every morning in order to stay away from that deep, hopeless hell. It's a very small sacrifice. Along with support, therapy and life changes I'd say the right medication makes all the difference in the world.

Pills are not the only thing though, it's not a miracle cure, but it gives you the base you might need in order to build the rest of your life on. If your life is shit, a pill won't help against that, but if your brain makes you think your life is shit when it's not, that's where the pill comes in to make you see the light, the colours and the happiness again. It just takes time.