Graduate Patricia Christakos talks about her Maine Media MFA experience and her work.
More than two years after earning her low-residency MFA in Media Arts at Maine Media College, Patricia Christakos was back on campus studying Experimental Filmmaking with Anna Graham this summer, giving voice to the artist she has transformed into.
She researched other low-residency programs, but chose Maine Media. “This place called to me,” she recalled of the tagline that asks, Are You Ready for a Three-Year Conversation About Your Work?
“I can never thank the people here enough for all they did and continue to do for me,” she noted.
Mentorship is an important hallmark of the Maine Media MFA program. The degree candidates work intensely with mentors of their choosing, who guide them through their projects.
“That’s the structure of the program. We were able to select a different mentor each semester from among the campus faculty and the rotating guest faculty who visit each semester. It’s a very rich bevy of mentors, which to me is the heart of the program, to work with these amazing artists and teachers,” said Christakos.
Behind the Lens
In a lens-based program, students focus primarily on filmmaking, photography, and multimedia. They integrate video and book arts, as well as interdisciplinary and trans-media forms to generate a cross-pollination of ideas in a community that is inspirational and supportive.
Returning to campus for ongoing workshops gives Patricia the opportunity to sustain a sense of community, by seeing fellow MFA graduates, former mentors, and instructors, as well as her thesis advisor Howard Greenberg, Chair of the MFA Program and Provost, and Christakos’s advisor, Elizabeth Greenberg.
She also remains connected to others she went through the MFA program with via monthly Zoom meetings to share work and get feedback that helps support her craft.
Real World Application
“My experience at Maine Media changed my life,” acknowledged Christakos.
She expanded her fine art practice to include teaching and curating. A self-portrait workshop she created for The Pace Center, an alternative high school for girls in Flagler Beach, FL, will culminate with an exhibition this December at the Museum of Arts and Sciences in Daytona, Florida.
“The Pace project evolved from my Maine Media thesis project, a video-projection installation called The Sleepover. I wanted my work to have meaning beyond the exhibition. The Pace Center is known for its important teaching and advocacy work for its young women. I wanted to be a part of that.”
Christakos will be showcasing her latest project, For Ever After, online for the Women’s Photo Alliance, @wpanyc, a fine art collective dedicated to making “the point of view of women more universal.”
This latest project includes photographs, wallpapers, textiles, poetry, as well as clips and stills from And They Lived, her most recent experimental film. The project offers a subversive look at Snow White and other real and imagined women contained by dirty dishes and pretty frocks.
“I am pleased that I continue to put my films and other projects out into the world and that people respond to them,” she observed.
This past July Christakos, who splits her time between Central New York State in the summer and Florida in the winter, was at Maine Media to study Experimental & Alternative Filmmaking Processes with Boston-based filmmaker Anna Graham.
“Much of my work examines beautifully imperfect, often overlooked stories, objects, thoughts, and desires. Experimental filmmaking provides me with so many entry points and opportunities to manipulate and abstract,” she said.
“Analog filmmaking is so tactile and deliberate. So different from working in digital. Just holding a Bolex camera was a thrill. It’s slow, meditative, multi-step work. And we got to shoot in the beautiful light that is in Maine,” she said.
In regard to her practice, the artist said the diversity of materials and new approaches are what really drives her. She continues to work on projects that were conceived during her MFA study. She talked about the evolution of a video and stills project that she plans to return to during an upcoming Maine Media online workshop, Culture, Identity and the Over-Painted Image with instructor Kate Beck.
“My projects are never really finished. It’s difficult for me to leave any work. I become attached to the narratives and I enjoy keeping the conversations going,” she said.
To learn more about Patricia’s installation project visit her website: patriciachristakos.com