The set and costume designer that has worked in great movies and theatrical plays, talks about her relationship with drawing and scenography, her visual journeys to different creative fields, the cultivable qualities that can protect talent, the burden of selfishness and how she got rid of it, and the greatest creation of her life which fills every moment with happiness.
In Search for the art of happiness
By Christina Katsantoni
Translated by Alexandros Theodoropoulos
When she was young she used to draw nonstop. She was a real talent that stood out since kindergarten. At the time she was growing up she dreamt of Arias and envisioned herself as a prima donna. But dreams of Eva Nathena have always been visual at their core and related to the creation of worlds that she has always wanted to explore.
In these worlds she was lost while growing up in Heraklion, in a traditional Cretan family. As her mother used to say, she was the only out of the four children that had come from…another planet. She was often isolated, dreaming and drawing for hours.
Her father would like her to study medicine or law. Eva Nathena listened to him and tried to withstand her inclination to drawing. She looked for other ways out and was involved in sports and then in music. She was taught classical singing and was member of the Heraclitus choir founded by Manos Hadjidakis. And although the dream to be a prima donna seemed attractive, drawing followed her and won her over.
The other side of drawing
Her desire to take exams in the School of Fine Arts prevailed over other prospects and over the general belief of the time that without contact nothing can be achieved. She came first in the exams of the Athens School of Fine Arts and there she discovered that what she was actually interested in, apart from drawing, was set design. And so she decided to be a drawer by designing scenes and stages.
Today, when she is asked if she misses drawing, Eva Nathena responds that by designing sets, she’s been lucky to draw with more freedom while being more essential and closer to herself. And that’s exactly how she approaches every theatrical play, every film and every new creation; like a blank canvas that challenges her to fill it with colours.
Great tutors, world-class collaborations
In Fine Arts School, she studied under great teachers like Chronis Botsoglou in painting and Giorgos Ziakas in set design. Still a student, she worked for the first time as a set and costume designer in a short film and met her mentor, Dionisis Fotopoulos.
he worked as his assistant, letting herself to get carried away by a river of creation, while she learned great life and art lessons alongside him after carrying out scene settings for the film “Acropole” by Pantelis Voulgaris.
Since then, thousands of scene settings and costumes followed, in theatre, a place where Eva Nathena entered for a decade of great desire and decisiveness, and then in cinema, where she worked in the film “Playing Parts” set in the Byzantine era. She has won the State Award for Best Costume Design for “Playing Parts” and “Brides”, a big production that included 3.500 costumes and left its mark to her career.
During her time in school she noticed that lots of talents had been lost and they would never fulfill their potential due to lack of character, which made her stronger and persistent in developing skills like industriousness and planning. Her work in “Brides” made her revitalise her skills and realise that she is not afraid of big challenges but the opposite…
The essence of success
Throughout her journey in cinema and theatre she travelled back in time into different eras, served great plays and artworks, worked with remarkable directors and won many awards for her contribution.
The ultimate creation for her is without doubt her twins that today, as she says, bless every moment with inspiration and help her understand herself better as an artist and be even more creative in work.
To bring her children into this world she went through a long, difficult and painful road, which not only she hasn’t regretted, but also encourages all women to go through. The birth of her children has made her feel an infinite happiness and as she says, happiness is meaningful only when it touches all the people.