Profiles: Eva Bartels – Actrice, theatre producer and artist
Every few weeks we interview an inspiring entrepreneur or artist chosen from our online network, Profiles. This week: Eva Bartels
Producing theatre, creating visual art and acting, Eva Bartels (34) does it all. “The funny thing is, people are always looking for a common denominator. I do what I was booked for at that moment or or what feeds my curiosity.” The past months Eva Bartels used her innate curiosity to delve into the life of her idol: the surrealistic artist Leonora Carrington. For Fringe Festival Amsterdam she transformed her studio to an intimate theatre to play her first solo performance Leonora and not without merit.
In September you got to perform again. How was that, after not being able to perform during the first corona peak?
I must say I always loved being inventive and I prefer not taking the common routes. I did play at De Parade last year and I did everything according to the procedures and submitted my grant application, because I was working with a large team. But with Leonora I immediately thought: I want to do this on my own. For the occasion I transformed my studio, an old dance school, into a theatre. Because of the covid measures I did have to cut back on capacity, but the intimacy we created was magical and rare. Thanks to Leonora I found out my studio can easily be used as a theatre.
Some people already know what they want to do when they grow up when they are a child. Others just fall into things or discover what they want to do along the way. How did you find your path?
I always was expressive, but I think it’s difficult to pin point now if it was already inside me as a child. There are people that say: ‘I always did bits in the living room and now I’m in Carré.’ But I think: bookkeepers probably were in there living room doing bits as well. My parents did take me to the theatre and those kinds of things, so I did get some creative boosts form them. Initially I started painting and acting. Friends asked me to act in music video’s they were shooting and I liked it. In the past I just said yes to a lot of things: ‘Do you want to model for my graduation fashion show?’ ‘Well, I’m only 1.65 meter and not quite a Heidi Klum, but okay.’
That’s how I fluttered through all these experiences. I have to say it keeps me fresh and curious and also a little insecure. I think that’s one of the main elements to stay alert. Without insecurity and doubt you’ll soon go on auto-pilot. With every new project I get into I, I always think: oh no, am I able to do this?
You could say that saying yes to a lot things is a quality for an entrepreneur. Do you consider yourself to be an entrepreneur?
Yes, I do. I do my own negotiating and I write my own plans and grant applications. Also it’s important in my line of work to show the work you made to the world. In the past I experienced that the creating process is very educational for me, but displaying my work falls somewhat behind. To prevent this, I started a foundation with a group of people that do know how to do this. In this group is a business director, someone with a conceptual, creative brain and a marketing-background, someone from the visual arts and someone who’s really good with numbers. We come together once every three months and walk through all the plans.
On your website you write about being interested in identity and how it is formed. You work in theatre, movies and you paint, do you take on a different identity when you work in these different fields?
*Eva takes some time to think* An identity is built from different energies and characteristics. I apply those in the diversity of my work. When I paint, I for instance really have to go inside myself. It would be of no use for me to collaborate in painting with someone. That just doesn’t work for me. In theatre however, I love working with others. And when the person that I work with is doing something outrageous I don’t feel the need to overshadow them. I’m happy to take on a supportive role. Now with Leonora, I created my first solo show. It was my most spotless production ever. Some fantastically talented people supported me in bringing my vision to life. In collaborations it’s important to make clear arrangements so both parties can fully focus on the creative process.
What are your plans for the near future?
I am going to study Permaculture. It’s the science that studies how mankind can organise it’s environment as ecological sustainable and economically stable as possible. I’m going to study it because I think it’s interesting, but maybe I’ll make a play about it or I will use it in my paintings. Also I’m into Animism which is the concept that all matter has soul. That we are equal to the things we use. For instance, when you buy a coat, you treat it as a friend. You hang it up neatly, you take care of the fabric and you treat it as a friend and care for it. And I am also into Earthships. These are houses that are built without a connection to electricity or water from the grid. I’m fascinated about hose three subjects, but what will come out of it is yet to be seen.
What does success mean to you?
Success to me, in the broadest sense of the word, is setting goals and achieving them. Celebrating that they’ve been achieved. And after that feeling the excitement of starting something new again.
Credits featured image
Fotography: Peggy Kuiper
Make up artwork: Marleen Holthuis en Eva Bartels
Written by: Sidney Steinmann
Translation and editing by: Renée ter Berg