Alumni and Prior Students
Student’s entering the program every year provide an artist statement and short biography.
Tilan Copson is a graphic designer and artist living in Orono. Tilan’s work focusses on communication of ideas and novel approaches to creating action for social change, through messaging in art forms. Her work explores limits of minimalism in audience engagement, strives to direct social or environmental discussions, to bring audiences into conversation through invitation, suggestion and humor. Her viewpoints to promote wellbeing are embedded in her work, which focuses on conveying of messages in ways that audiences can be maximally reached. Concepts in her work include the study of empathy in fostering change through a collaborative-consciousness. Her goal in the MFA program is to explore the use of these methodologies as a mediums for change, merging media techniques and tools across fields with creative expression to create dialogues about pressing social issues.
Winterport, Maine based photographer, William Drake, acquired a BFA from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia in 1980. He then entered the commercial photography profession in New York City and served clients of the corporate industry for 20 years before moving to Maine and becoming the campus photographer at University of Maine from 2004-2009. William Drake taught photography at Husson University and has been a freelance photographer in the Bangor area for many years.
His fine art photography was selected by renowned curator Mark Rosenthal for a show at Beaver college in 1996 where he displayed his photographs of HO scaled figures taken through a micro lens. This work was Inspired by concepts which challenge stereotypes and give insight into the dynamics of identity and relationships. In all of his work he endeavors to represent the essential qualities of the subject matter using the technology available at the moment the image is captured.
Projects include Farms & Fables, an original play created in collaboration with Maine farmers, Choirspeak: The Maine Woods, developed from 50 interviews conducted in five Maine towns, and a co-designed partnership to incorporate performance techniques into policy development practices with Stephanie Gilbert of the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation & Forestry. Since 2015, Jennie has curated In Kinship, a collection of collaborative civic performance works focused on environmental resilience and ecological recovery in the Penobscot River Watershed. Jennie’s work has been supported by the Kindling Fund (Space Gallery), Maine Arts Commission, Maine Humanities Council, Multi-Arts Production Fund, Ella Lyman Cabot Trust, and the Center for Performance and Civic Practice.
Celeste LaForme is fascinated by loss, change, and time: watching wasp holes in the desert sand, scratching horse teeth from an arroyo wall, listening to the caucus of bird varieties calling to one another in a spruce and birch canopy, standing still for baby deer bones. These moments have the power to influence our beliefs and the way we interpret our own value and place. Her paintings, drawings, and performances explore grief, joy, difference, tradition, alienation, connectedness, motherhood, destruction, and self in the tension between open landscapes and the unseen boundaries that land ownership asserts on them, between natural beauty and the human impact on the environment, and between freedom and the invisible, intangible rules, obligations, and regulations that comprise our connections to other humans.
Celeste was born in Medanales, New Mexico in an old adobe home along the Rio Chama. She received her BFA from the University of New Mexico. She has worked in the arts in several capacities working with children, managing a non-profit organization in Portland, Oregon, teaching art to school age children in rural communities, and seven years employment in film as a scenic artist and paint foreman. Her accomplishments in fine art include large scale oil paintings and drawings, murals, installations, film, sound, and performance art. Currently Celeste lives and works in Maine and also remains an active participant in the art community of her native New Mexico, where her work is represented in both public and private collections.