I was having a dreadful day in the hours before I discovered Mirusbella on YouTube and her gorgeous cover of Darkthrone’s Transilvanian Hunger.
As I slipped away into the song, life didn’t seem so terrible anymore. I may have even smiled. Hailing from Germany, this multi-talented, mystifying artist has been delighting me with her art on Instagram over the past few months, and I’m utterly besotted with all the strange things she creates.
What Mirusbella is doing is so different and so intriguing, and so god damn OUT there. I can’t help but be absorbed in her strange world where ferocious black metal is made beautiful, dead things are resurrected with paint, and sketchbook tours or tours of her workspace or dorm room become things to turn to when low mood starts howling at the door.
Following Mirusbella on social media is a wyrd adventure, one I’m ecstatic to be on. Though I’m quietly ecstatic because there’s a quietness to this artist that is rare and sacred. I hope you enjoy this interview; Mirusbella is a fascinating creature.
To begin, would you mind revealing a little bit about the woman we know online as Mirusbella?
I sit in my cave all day, sometimes I go outside to work or meet my friends.
Are you able to remember when your first foray into sharing your work on social media took place and what the experience of putting your work out into the public sphere was like?
I think I started posting some of my sketches back in 2015. Looking back, those weren’t great of course, but I was lucky find a small community of like-minded, kind people who supported each other the best they could.
Do you have a preferred social media platform to share your work, somewhere you feel your energy gravitates towards? And what’s your preferred platform to gather inspiration from?
We can probably all agree on having a love-hate relationship with Instagram. Although some of the ways things are handled on the app aren’t great, I’ve met a lot of inspiring people through it.
For an artist to display their process is courageous, and I admire you for doing that. I’ve always been very private about showing my process and am only just starting to open up after almost twenty years of creating. From the looks of things, you’re very comfortable with sharing your artistic processes. Has it always been this way?
When it comes to painting and drawing, yes, I have been doing that for quite a while now, so I’m fairly confident. Even if something didn’t turn out particularly “good” or considering my paintings aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, it doesn’t bother me too much. Though I feel like people aren’t as judgemental when it comes to visual depictions(unless a lot of money is involved) as opposed to other forms of art. With music it’s very different for me, I’m often hesitant to make things I have done public or put my name under them.
The way you go about your work is something I’ve rarely seen being done successfully. But you do it so effortlessly like it was always meant to be that way. You’re often combining the most ferocious music genre and grim, unsettling horrors with a tranquillity I’ve never before found on YouTube. When I watch your videos, I feel darkly inspired and simultaneously at peace. Did you have a plan when you embarked on creating a YouTube channel, and have you ever felt a desire to migrate from this aesthetic you’ve conjured up?
That’s very lovely to hear, thank you. I didn’t plan anything when creating my channel, I just did what I liked and experimented with that. I guess a lot of my projects are a wild mix of things that fascinate me, sometimes personal stuff, always with a lot of spontaneity. Of course everyone’s interests and the stuff they put their energy into are going to change over time. I want to do what feels right and brings me joy, not chase a certain thing into stagnation.
Death and the macabre feature heavily in your work and I’m very interested in knowing when you started to develop an interest in that which unsettles.
As a child, I was always digging through the fields for bones and collecting dead insects from the garden to put them in my drawer. But it was more an interest in biology that sparked my curiosity, rather than a morbid one back then. I came to really love horror movies a bit later on, and so a similar musical interest followed. I can’t tell you what exactly fascinates me about these things; maybe some of it plays into the psychological aspect of confronting yourself with your primal fears in a controlled environment, far from reality, and finding mindfulness through that.
You’re a multi-disciplinary artist. You paint, draw, sculpt and dance. You make photographs, music and art films and more that I’ve probably forgotten to mention. What role did creativity play in your life in your younger years? Has the need to express yourself through art always been there? Are there any figures in your life that encouraged and nurtured your growth as an artist?
My father plays guitar and my mother paints, so I’ve been very lucky having had access to creative tools from a very young age. I do recall spending a lot of time alone drawing and crafting as a kid, but I think the main spark to do it as frequently as now came when I was about 17.
(By the way, the dancing in two of my videos was done by my friend : – ))
The spaces you’ve shared with us – your dorm room and workspace/bedroom – are places I know I and many others would find peace and inspiration in. Can you speak a little about the importance of these rooms for you and the approach you have to decorate the spaces and keep them well looked after?
I’ve always needed time for myself, but I didn’t realize how much a quiet, solitary place means to me until I’ve lived in the city. It’s lovely to be around people, and although you can get a lot back from investing your energy into them – I, like many others, need a cave to retreat to at the end of the day. Surrounding myself with things that inspire me plays into that, saturated colours, natural materials and antiques I collected are really important to ease my mind.
One of my favourite videos that you’ve done is a very new one – Black Metal Album Artworks // Hidden Artists of the Scene. It was such a beautifully shot and enriching watch. (It’s what YouTube needs more of.) And you reminded me of the excellent Heavy Metal Historian Podcast! Would you mind taking one album cover that you featured in the video and telling us what you love about it?
Forkas is definitely one of my favourites. To me his work appears very far from what you usually see other painters do nor is it easy to categorize. With other artists, you are often able to reconstruct their influences in style and themes. His seems very detached from worldly ideas. Something that is meant to be taken in, but not necessary to put into words.
The way you dress caught my eye when I first saw your cover of Darkthrone’s Transilvanian Hunger. Would you mind sharing a few of your favourite pieces of clothing and why they’re so special?
I love my moth-eaten, stretched out “my dying bride” shirt quite a lot.
I can’t help but be floored by your videos. They’re so gorgeously crafted and edited. What equipment do you use to make your films, and which programs do you utilise you use for editing?
I use my “Panasonic DMC-FZ1000” to film and “Magix Video Deluxe” to edit.
Your sketchbook videos are mesmerising. Being oblivious of what’s going to come on the next page provides the most incredible thrill. Can you talk about the role your sketchbooks have in your life and what happens to them once they are full up?
It took me a while to get used to when I got my first one, but after some time it initiated a progress that I don’t think I would have went through if I wouldn’t have been able to see it summarized in one book over the years. It’s such a great tool for sketching on the go, studies, or just letting your mind wander on the pages a bit.
The ideas I see sketched out are some of the wildest I’ve ever seen. How do they typically manifest themselves?
Most of the stuff in my sketchbook is either improvised or very spontaneous. As for my work in general – it really depends every single time, sometimes it has personal background, on other occasions it’s just coordinated nonsense that happened on paper. But I rarely have any strict ideas in mind, most of them start to develop during the process.
One band I was thrilled to find we share a passion for is CocoRosie. My favourite songs, I think, would be Lemonade and Gallows. What was it that drew you to this bizarre and brilliant duo, and can you name some of your favourite songs
There’s this certain atmosphere about their music that reminds me of my childhood so much, which I haven’t been able to find any other musician capture so perfectly. I admire them for their approach of not trying to force an end result but rather just making it happen, even with limited equipment, like Bianca once told about their first album in an interview. I think two of my all-time favourites by them are “Madonna” and “K-Hole”
Can we please talk about the melodica (is that what it’s called, even?) in your cover of Mayhem’s song Life Eternal? How did the idea to use that come about?
I thought of bringing in some more unusual items that you usually don’t associate with this kind of music and experiment if it would work together.
There is a photograph you posted on Instagram, a self-portrait, I believe, with enormous material hands! Can you give some insight into the thought process behind this photo? I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it.
I wanted to sew some giant hands, so I did, and then I stood in front of an old door and took some pictures. I really like the work of Alisa Gorshenina, very inspiring textile artist.
So far, from what I’ve watched, you’ve covered songs by Behemoth, Darkthrone, Gorgoroth, Wolves in the Throne Room and Mayhem. How do you choose which bands/songs to cover?
I just play my favourite tunes by bands I’ve been enjoying for a long time – other than that; I’m always open for suggestions. I used to get tired of songs when I was practising them too much in the past, but I think doing these covers now and trying to rearrange the pieces has now made me appreciate them even more.
What does ‘a day in your life’ currently looks like?
If it’s a weekday, not very interesting. On most days I get home at about four thirty, then I always do a little “Kaffeepause” to wind down. If I’m not too tired I try to squeeze in a little painting, working on a song or practising guitar. It’s really the weekends where I feel like I can slip into full creative mode – if I’m not doing something with friends I can sit in my room all day working on my projects
To finish, do you have any last words?
Thank you for the thoughtful questions, I had a lot of fun answering them. It’s lovely to see that people like what I do. Hope you have a good day!