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Camilla Mihkelsoo

How would you describe yourself as a creator?

I am an intuitive daydreamer, often quite restless. My primary interest is figuration and portraiture. The figures in my paintings are mostly women and children. Childhood fascinates me. I think that it's a period of one's life that never ends and follows us always. The figures in my portraits are anonymous, reference is mainly from old found photos. With anonymity I try to depict something universal and collective which distinguishes it from traditional portraiture.

Camilla Mihkelsoo, Glowing Snakes, 2020, Oil on canvas, 170 x 130 cm

What is your work process like?

My working process often starts by skimming through images. When something attracts my attention I usually start to paint it right away on the canvas. I also make sketches, take notes and prepare what to paint. If I have an idea, I search references for that and do sketches. I work on many paintings simultaneously. Sometimes one idea has to wait the right time to be painted. Timing is an important factor.

Where do you get ideas for your work and keep your creative channel open?

I collect different types of images and old photographs. On my phone I have my own little archives which I skim through almost daily. There must be something that speaks to me, and by painting it I understand better what it is . I also dream and observe, my work is a mix of found images and my own personal depiction​. ​Physical activity helps me to clear my mind and let things flow.

What fascinates you right now?

I read again after a few decades Mary Shelley's classic novel ​Frankenstein​ (1818) and I was really fascinated about it. It made me curious about the era when she lived and also about her own personal life. I started to dream about all the places where the novel takes place hoping to visit those someday. I am interested in the human psyche, in the concept of time and the possibility of afterlife.

What have been important steps and happenings in your life and artistic path so far?

One of the important steps was when I moved to Sicily, Italy in 2013, while still studying painting at Free Art School. I did the final school year remotely alone in my own new studio in Sicily. It was an important experience when I realized how important working alone without any distraction was to me. Next important step was when I started my MFA studies in 2018 in Academy of Fine Arts Helsinki.

What do you like about the home exhibition concept?

It is nice to see art in different places than the traditional white cube. I also think it’s brave to open your home, which is an intimate space, to the public.

Camilla Mihkelsoo was part of Marcy's Reframing exhibition in 2020.

Camilla Mihkelsoo, We Might Live Here Forever, 2020, Oil on canvas, 120x160cm

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