Artist Profile: Eloise Maree

There is nothing more useless than art that makes you feel absolutely nothing. 

I come from a background of marketing and performance - two disciplines that I've been told are pretty much polar opposites. While I have a great appreciation for the business aspects of my work as well as pretty much all mediums of art, it is contemporary performance art that really has me by the throat and by the heart. There's something about moments  of story performed in real time right before your eyes (never to be seen again) that makes theatre something so unique and emotive, whether that emotion be positive or negative.

Eloise Maree is one performance artists whose works aim to evoke a personal connection and resonante with her audience. I've had the pleasure of working with her last year as part of Anywhere Theatre Festival, and lucky for us Spooler's we've been able to nab this busy-bee for the opening of our upcoming exhibition, S P A C E @Bleeding Heart Gallery.

Have a few words with Eloise before you see her live and on display in the flesh this April:

1. If you were a crayon in a box of crayons which one would you be and why?

The yellow one. Because it is the same colour as banana lollies and I like to imagine crayons taste good so I would taste delicious!

2. Best thing that has happened in 2013 so far?

I have decided to work on other people’s projects for once and so there are many exciting things! I am in a shadow puppet show, doing this exhibition and producing a performance art festival. Also, I learnt how to cook chocolate liqueur truffles.

3. How would you describe what you do?

I am a producer, a performer and a collaborator. I think of creative ideas and when they stick around in my head for too long, they normally eventuate. I love collaborating with new people and getting the best of other people’s perspectives and creativity. Creativity is like toast. I want to have it all the time!

4. What has been your favourite project so far?

Oh, so many to choose from! I got to perform as a pregnant lesbian ballroom dancer at La Mama for Midsumma Festival when I lived in Melbourne. That was wonderful. Also, I worked with a wonderful marketer from Spool Collective, Miss Athalia Foo on The Alleyway Project in 2012, a theatre show set in an alleyway (Winn Lane) that was all about The Valley and its colourful characters. We installed goon bags and I worked with a stellar team of creatives. There was a one night stand in the disabled toilets, a man with a bloodied pink shirt and three very wild private school girls.

5. What do you find is the most exciting and rewarding aspect of your practice?

Having an idea that balances philosophy, performance and entertainment realized. This is an ongoing process that I will always return to as the core of my practice. When you feel like you’ve nailed a show it is quite simply the best feeling in the world.

6. What inspired you to become a performer/performance maker?

Fear of a mid-life crises. No, really! I was all geared to study economics (my other passion) when I figured if I didn’t transfer to drama quick smart, I was going to have some sort of yucky middle-aged regret about my life. I figured out I better get straight onto the good stuff and I’m glad I did!

7.  What really inspires you to create, and your style?

Contemporary dance and books. Contemporary dance because it reminds me of the incredible emotion that performance is able to illicit and I find it extremely meditative and beautiful. Books because they are my escape and my favourite place to be, at the heart of someone else’s world and story. I’ve always understood stories, feelings and images much more than I understand reality.

8. What is the best aspect of the Brisbane performance/theatre scene?

The independent scene is growing and it is becoming increasingly nationally renowned for being among the best. There are a lot of great ideas coming from young theatre makers here. I love people that do.

9. And the worst? How would you change it for the better?

If I could, I would get funding provided for over-ambitious young theatre makers who want to build spaceships. And a new premier that values the arts. In that order.

10. As a creative, will you continue to be based in Brisbane or do you feel the need to move to elsewhere (to continue to create or for more opportunities)?

I have always dreamed of living and working in Paris, not because it’s necessarily better (although they at least DO have a centrelink-type payment for artists) but more because my name is French and I have a strange re-occuring dream where I am an old, respectable artist in Paris catching public transport.

11. Favorite place in Brisbane?

Behind the Red Hill church there is a small patch of grass that overlooks the city and it is perfect for watching the sunset and having a wine and cheese platter.

12. How does the space you're working in or surrounded by influence your work?

If you are not on tour, I believe it should influence the work 100%. Even if you are, I remember hearing a story from an established playwright saying that when you’ve toured your work to regional communities where there are a bunch of kids in a gymnasium who have never seen a show and there is no lighting and/or sound system in place, you quickly realise that as long as you have the bare bones - story telling, acting, writing in place – you can understand that it is all that theatre/performance needs to be.

13. How has living in Brisbane shaped your style and process?

I’ve found it both rewarding and disheartening. I think that’s normal for most here. I love that I can build and nurture and depend on my relationships and know many wonderful people in the industry. I also, like everyone, feel discouraged when one of few spots are filled by others and not myself. I suppose that’s why I’ve realised how much there is to be had from not performing in theatres and from being low-fi and innovative!

14. Who would you most like collaborate with (living or dead) and why?

Stephen Fry, because he is so intelligent and incredibly witty; Cate Blanchet because I’ve been told I look like her and it’s my Mum’s dream that I one day perform with her as her daughter; Beyoncé, because she is ridiculously amazing and I love her moves; and another life force from out of space because that would be something NO ONE else has done before ☺

That would be one weird-ass show.

15. Can you tell us a little bit about what your performance installation work will be like/about?

I will be dressing up as Brisbane's Most Notorious and inviting people to interact. The characters will include diverse characters from West End, Logan, New Farm, The Valley and one notorious Premier! Like much of my performance art it is based on satire and a strong sense of fun!

More on Eloise Maree or Cradle Productions? CLICK THIS LINK