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Biography

I was born to Estonian parents in Helsinki, 1995. That is also where I attended kindergarten, and where my first artistic endeavors began. I remember defying the teacher's orders on how to "correctly" depict a cat. My cat HAD to have a rectangular tail, so I persisted, and I still have this piece today, framed, reminding myself to always trust my own vision, because there have been times in life, I have not been so confident.

Shortly after, we moved to the UK, where I attended primary school. I was the only foreigner in the small countryside village school in Hinxton, so I learned English at a very early age, I was about 4-5 years old. When I was not in school. I remember watching English television, khm, Cartoon Network, but the one I took very seriously, was a show that taught arts and crafts. I remember, that for some reason they had a huge obsession with PVA glue, and glitter. I still have a pot of glitter from this time as a keepsake. My sister, Luisa Greta Vilo, was also born in the UK in 2000. She is now a photographer, and a huge inspiration to me.

When I turned 7, we moved to our home country. While I had been spending summers, and other important holidays in Estonia even before, now we moved here for real. Even though I have struggled mentally from a very early age, and a strict environment didn't exactly help de-escalate the situation, I'm actually glad I was placed in a science-focused school. I feel like it enriched me, forced me to suck it up, and be resilient. Somehow, I feel as if I have always been surrounded by the right people at the right time, and everything, such as my dad randomly gifting me oil paints and a canvas, happens for a reason. Otherwise I would not have found my love for painting somewhere around the age of 12. At the time, I started painted as a medium to cope with my depression, when words failed me.

 

I didn't go to university straight after graduating. Instead, I did an acting gig in a TV-show for a couple of seasons, before moving back to the UK to intentionally lose myself to find myself again. I lived, and worked in London for circa 2,5 years, during which I also got to travel around; the US, and Turkmenistan, to name a couple. This was a very transformative period for me. Living alone in a huge city, with no security, no friends, literally no money, and a continued lack of desire to stay alive on this planet at all, and transmuting it to building a new life from scratch. And I did it, through all the struggle I think I built a great one, filled with the kindest, most amazing people, friends to whom I owe so many of my life's sweetest memories. London is where I feel like I really woke up.

I moved back to Estonia after a full circle moment, when the time felt right. 23 years old at the time, I found a job in Estonia in a tech startup. I ended up making a career for myself, at one of Estonia's (now) unicorn status companies. I was one of the relatively early employees, and boy was it a fun ride! Then, at one point, I was lucky to have a couple of intense sessions with a life coach in 2020, who made me question my life's long term plan & soul's purpose. Thanks to that, in 2021 I did my best to defy my brain's logic-filled arguments, listened to my heart's calling, and took the leap by applying to Pallas University to study painting. I had denied myself pleasure in life for so long, thinking I'm not worthy of doing something I really love, like it's selfish. 

 

For the first 2 years I continued working in the fast-paced scale-up full time, while also studying full time. That, by no surprise to everyone but myself, led to a severe burnout. A day only has so many hours, and a human can only take so much. So after 4,5 years, I left my 9-5, and from 2023 I am now fully focused on my art career.

From 2023 I have also been helping organize the largest art auction dedicated to emerging artists in Estonia ("Osta noort kunsti" art auction), as well as help with other ad-hoc auctions, and projects, where my assistance has been requested. My long term mission, in addition to creating my own art, is to help popularize art made by currently living artists to inspire the birth of new art collectors in Estonia. Time will tell how I get there :)

I crave creating, art has consumed my entire being.

Lots of love,

Miina.

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