Katerina Sakkas

My background is in visual art, a field I’ve worked in continuously since completing a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at Sydney’s COFA [College of Fine Arts] straight after high school. During this time I’ve supported my painting and exhibiting through an eclectic range of jobs including proofreading, teaching belly dance and working as an accompanist for classical singing students, as well as the always reliable customer service roles.

Film reviewing is a more recent development, but it had its genesis years ago at art school when my painting took a ‘dark’ turn and I started looking quite seriously at horror as a genre. My interest in this quite often-misunderstood category endured and paved the way for me to find work reviewing hundreds (literally) of horror DVDs for independent Australian film magazine FilmInk. While the scope of my critical writing has since expanded, horror remains a major area of interest. Painting and reviewing are very different processes, yet I find the two disciplines influence each other. In review mode, I approach cinema as an intensely visual medium, while every so often the themes I encounter through my reviewing will resurface in my paintings.

Exposé

Reviewing is deeply rewarding and occasionally painful. It’s an act of serious, respectful engagement—with an artwork, with its creator/s and with readers. It’s also an engagement with yourself, as you examine your immediate reaction and begin to wrestle thoughts into some sort of order. It’s always going to be subjective, but at its best, it makes a strong case and illuminates the special characteristics of an art form. For me, reviewing ideally involves becoming fully immersed in someone else’s creative world before emerging to convey something of the quality of the experience.

RealTime reviews in particular require a great deal of context and nuance, something that continually broadens my horizons while keeping me on my toes. I love the unexpected paths of inquiry any one review can lead me down. It’s exciting writing for a publication that, with its rigorous editing and encouragement of vivid, idiosyncratic writing, has such a considered approach to arts criticism.

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