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  • Writer's pictureHakan Öztunalı

What Would You Create, If Nobody Was Watching? w/ Mokinzi

The pivotal inception of everything we do in life is to enquire the correct question; what would you create, if nobody was watching? Would you even create something in line with the expectations of others? I do not think so. As we live vicariously, we call for someone to testify and demand recognition for the accessibility. Having said that, I would like to introduce Vilde Ulriksen from Norway, as known with her artist alias, Mokinzi. Vilde has an anomaly named Aphantasia. Utterly rare cognitive dysfunction that affects minority. The vision you have blocked, you may not redream or contemplate what you created before. The curse of the angelic mind. I envy for.

(Courtesy of Mokinzi)

Greetings Mokinzi. Delighted to have you here. Would you like to introduce yourself to our audience?

Mokinzi: Greetings! My name is Vilde, and I am an artist from Norway. Mokinzi has been my online artist

name since I was a teenager. It was originally the name of a silly character of mine, and it just stuck. I have loved drawing for as long as I can remember, and I see it more as something I must do to maintain my own sanity than something to do for fun. Creating is an essential part of who I am, and one of my greatest comforts in life.

Something that tends to surprise people is that I have aphantasia – meaning that I’m not able to visualise things in my mind at will (although I still experience nightly dreams and intrusive images). Drawing is a way for me to explore the concepts that sometimes feel like they are drifting in the corner of my mind’s eye, just out of reach.

As an artist I work mostly with traditional drawing and painting as well as experimental photography, both digital and analogue. I love playing around with any kind of creative medium, however, and I’ve had fun learning more about video and animation over the past couple of years. My art usually involves elements from nature, imaginary worlds, folklore and surrealism. I’m very drawn to beautiful textures and the interplay of light and shadow. I have a nostalgic mind and have a particular obsession with pop- and subculture from the eighties. Wherever I’ve lived in Norway, nature has always been easy to access, and it has had a profound impact on me and my art. I grew up in Western Norway, but today I live close to the woods in the region of Trøndelag with my partner who is a musician and composer in the band Vemod. Being two creative souls, we often collaborate on various projects.


I’ve seen the video-shoots, the ones you wandering the woods. I am quite impressed of the manner you depict the scenery. Most of the people have various escapism environments to detach from the reality, but your escapism is actually a contradiction. Because, you visit the woods, the nature and the only core reality that essentially exist. How do you feel and observe, when you are out there estranged and nothing there to unsettle? Is it melancholy, longing, nostalgia or something unseen you looking for?

Mokinzi: Thank you for such kind words. I agree that there is an interesting contradiction there. Since I was a child, nature has felt like a friend that I could always turn to. When I spend time in nature, I feel like I get closer to who I truly am, and many of my daily worries drift away with the wind. I start using my senses differently and I can think more clearly. However, you are correct in assuming that I go out in nature looking for something more than just the moss and rocks underneath my feet. Certain landscapes wake a powerful longing in me.

Throughout my life I have often felt like an alien on a strange planet, somehow not accepting that this is where I’m supposed to be. Spending time in nature often makes me feel closer to what I am longing for. Closer to a home that I can’t name or describe.

(Courtesy of Mokinzi)

What mediums influence you to illustrate and photograph the outer world? Do you have an attempt to merge the inner and the outer circle for spiritual progression?

Mokinzi: As I mentioned, I have longed for somewhere beyond for as long as I can remember. It feels like a physical aching in my chest, and I get quite sad when I think about it. There’s a German word for it, “fernweh”, which literally translates to “far pain” - in other words, a painful longing for somewhere far away. I sometimes have dreams where I feel closer, and those dreams are painful to wake from. So much about the society we live in doesn’t make sense to me.

I am on the autism spectrum, and I get easily overwhelmed by sounds, lights and people. Art is an important way for me to deal with this. It is an attempt to create windows to my inner worlds, or to places beyond this world. It’s more about capturing a certain feeling than depicting the motif itself. Perhaps I can touch some deeper truth by looking beyond what’s in front of me. I am aware that the places I depict do not necessarily look inviting. In fact, they can seem cold and harsh. Such deep longings are hard to explain. The heart wants what it wants.

A flashback for a slice of memory in past, how were you depicting something consists darkness and gloominess?

Mokinzi: Darkness is an interesting concept. Some of my art that seems dark and gloomy to others may be filled with light from my perspective, and I do not think of my art today as particularly dark. I do see it as an outlet, however. I have had many challenges with mental health in my life, and being able to release my emotions into my art has been cathartic. My artwork often had quite an eerie quality when I was younger. I would draw flocks of creatures that were simultaneously cute and unsettling. I was imagining wild worlds ruled by chaos, which could lure you in and never let you escape. Sometimes I would draw children, “chosen ones”, being brought into the deep woods by strange creatures. The creatures were never evil, but just like in the old fairy tales they could be unpredictable, following the ruthless laws of nature. These are still some of my favourite artworks – they have a unique atmosphere that sparks my imagination to this day.


There is a popular belief about Norway, which have a relation with depression and accustomed sorrow. However, my take is that I would not mind for a small portion of depression and so forth. I literally feel alive in cold and icy weathers. Sort of boosting and triggering your creativity, to think smooth and to act genuine. Do you think weather is the only cause of that, or are there any other elements that affects the mood?

Mokinzi: Indeed, many Norwegians experience seasonal depression during the autumn and winter months. It’s more about the lack of sunlight than the cold. During the darkest months the sun is only out for a few hours when most of us are stuck inside at work or school. In the far north the sun does not appear at all during the darkest part of winter. It can have a significant effect on your mood, motivation and energy levels. However, I do think Norwegians are very good at creating a cozy environment inside during these dark months and enjoying time out in nature during the weekends. We are not so gloomy.

I struggle to be productive creatively during the dark winter months, but over the past few years I have tried to make peace with that. Just like the hibernating animals, I try to allow myself to rest and recharge instead of pushing myself to create. It’s a good time for listening to music, reading books, watching movies – activities that may lead me to inspiring ideas down the line.

How do you perceive yourself as an artist, do you believe you reached a milestone and achieved most of your aspirations?

Mokinzi: I used to be very ambitious when I was younger. I felt very much like an outsider as a child, and during my teenage and early adult years I struggled with feelings of low self-worth. I think this made me want to prove my worth in some way through ambitious goals, to get approval and admiration. I had so many milestones that I wanted to reach. I feel very different now, however. After learning to love myself and finding good people who love and support me for who I am, this great need for external approval has diminished. I no longer believe that the goals I once had would bring me happiness.

These days I create for my own pleasure, not thinking about validation. Having a regular job means that I don’t need to “sell” what I create – I can just do it for myself. It’s interesting to explore art without any desire for popularity or success. What would you create if nobody was watching? I am proud of some of the things I have achieved, but most of all I am grateful for the connections I’ve made through sharing my art. Discovering an online community of likeminded people has been very important to me.

What is your one and only expectation from life that will fills you with tranquility?

Mokinzi: I have slowly learnt to appreciate the simple things in life, much thanks to my wonderful life partner. Listening to a great piece of music, eating a delicious meal, noticing a beautiful sunset… These are the things that make life special. If I take care of my mind and body, these magical moments will

always be available to me. As someone who is often overwhelmed and tired, I am not always able to find the energy to work on demanding art projects. I always find ways to express myself, though, and I believe I will always make art in some form or other. I hope to have a small studio space dedicated to my creative projects one day.


Many thanks for the participation. How would you like to close your words?

Mokinzi: Thank you so much for this opportunity. If anything, I just want to urge anyone reading this to seize the inspiration to create and experiment. I’ve met so many people who stopped drawing at a certain age because they didn’t think they were good enough, and who miss it. I believe being creative is an essential part of being human, and as humans we should always make room for mistakes. In this era where it has become so easy to generate impressive images with artificial intelligence, I think it is more important than ever to celebrate the wonderful imperfections of human art.


Reach official Website of Mokinzi, tap here: Mokinzi

Reach official Instagram page of Mokinzi, tap here: @mokinzi


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