Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Comic Book Review: Audarya Lila: The Death of Tuomas Mäkinen. Christoffer & Kaisa Leka, 2008

This is a review I wrote about Kaisa and Christoffer Lekas fantastic book Audarya Lila: The Death of Tuomas Mäkinen in 2008. The review was requested by the authors. For more information on Kaisa visit: http://www.kaisaleka.net/in_english/me__myself_and_i/

The Death of Tuomas Mäkinen is a story about crossroads, told from three different perspectives, with each tale confined to a separate book. Tuomas’s, or Tume’s, decision to join a Californian Hindu monastery is carefully depicted through the eyes of his parents, through the heart of his ex-girlfriend Eija and finally through his own experiences. The first book reflects on his youth, where his sensitivity against western traditions is discovered; he is upset when given too many Christmas presents and becomes somewhat enclosed in his own musical world which leads him to a life within the arts. Indeed, perhaps the first sign of Tume’s spiritual rebirth is through his grandmother, who during a birthday party presents him with books on philosophy and challenges him to think beyond material purposes. After his decision to leave Finland for an arguably uncertain path, his parents are forced to examine their influence on Tume’s life and are confronted with the divided traditions between western religion and eastern philosophy. Equally, Tume struggles with finding a balance between the two when visiting from the monastery.
The story of Eija and Tume is particularly bittersweet. The difficulties of trying to support a long-term partner who is going through a spiritual struggle, while finding the partner drifting further away, is delicately portrayed in K. Leka’s trademarked mouse characters. The book is dark; Eija’s despair is wonderfully familiar as their break-up contains all of the universal elements of bitterness, depression and longing. Yet here as well Tume’s path has widened Eija’s possibilities. Their separation forces Eija to see herself as an independent woman and not merely the girlfriend of a strong personality. She changes and re-emerges fully capable, a metamorphosis rather than an adaptation to a new situation.
Tume’s own point of view is crucial to the flow of the books. In the final book the purpose of his life-altering decision becomes clearer. Throughout the story he is searching for meaning and reason, and the monastery becomes like a calling. It is not necessarily about answers but understanding, and after speaking with the Swami Tume understands that his future lies in simplifying life and changing his goals. He maintains his faith through the insecurities despite little support from his loved ones. At the monastery he is confronted with a new set of challenges, where priorities change and rehabilitation begins.
The separate stories all centre around Tume’s philosophical search, emphasising that it is not something anyone ever goes through alone. K. Leka’s illustrations are simple yet portray the story effectively; the mice allow the characters to remain anonymous and therefore reachable for the individual reader. The three books are hand bound in a traditional Japanese style suitable to the tone of the story; the delicate and disciplined effect of the exterior honours the illustrations. They are contained in a hardcover folder with impeccable imagery. The choice of colour is a grey-blue that is tranquil and yet emphasises the weight of the subject matter; it compliments the simplicity of the layout. This is a beautiful and fragile story told with undertones of humour. The strength of it is in the humanity behind it, moulded into illustrations which give insight into a life-altering struggle in the search for peace.

Monday, 26 March 2012

Drawing, 2006.

Drawing/Painting, Ink, 2006.

Saturday, 24 March 2012


Published in Open Wide Magazine in 2010

There are those steps,

I suppose the ones that I should follow

supposedly they make me feel better

allowing me to heal properly.

I can’t stop from picking the yellow crust,

off that scab. I pick and I pick and I bleed and I bleed.

Blood is like acid.

Because things are they the way they are

and mistakes happen

the world turns and we all walk away with a smile

if not hand in hand.

Wrapped like a Japanese chocolate box,

with sweets that don’t taste like chocolate

and do you think about it

about what I was

wrapped up like a Japanese box; black cardboard, pink fabric interior, purple skin.

Not sure if the steps are there for me

I could swan-dive out of denial

I could shape angels out of clay.

Paint with indigo and burnt sienna

and question the imprint.

I could squint and squint

but no matter how often I look

there’s no olive tree in my backyard.

Art Fusion

Hey people

A website worth checking out. Yours truly was part of this group, when yours truly lived in the UK. Filled with amazing artists: ENJOY.

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Dragon Tattoo 2009

A dragon tattoo, sketched on the back of a spare piece of paper at work, in 2009. I definitely am the girl who draws dragons. Done freehand, with biro pen.