How does a painter become a poet?
I was actually writing long before I started painting. Writing is just a part of being Mikaela, and there is no distinction between being Mikaela, being an artist, and being a painter. The whole process of creating feels like I’m trying to translate my insides and communicate effectively with people. Writing is an integral part of this process. Finding words to fit the images and emotions that crowd my brain is a really productive practice. I often unintentionally write about something before I make art about it.
I’ve always thought that when a person takes the time to write about an idea they earn a better understanding of it. And if that person continues to find the most exact words to write a poem about the same idea, well then they will have a real and true understanding of whatever that idea is. It feels really good to approach a painting with this kind of dynamic and thorough understanding of my internal self.
Do you always write before you start a painting?
Sometimes it works in reverse. Sometimes I look at what I’m painting, and I’m like, “Well I guess I should spend some time writing about this. There is something important going on here, and I should pay attention.”
Working in the studio, writing, painting, documenting -- they are all forms of dynamic listening. I spend a lot of time re-reading what I’ve written, staring at paintings, and looking through images. I try really hard to pay close attention and listen to what the work is trying to communicate. There are often patterns beneath the surface connecting seemingly disconnected parts of my creative process.
I want to communicate the most true truth I can. And of course truth is a function of time so the listening is constant.