Alumni Work: Lieve Eek

Wed 17 May

Lieve Eek, Advertising & Beyond alumna, is a creative director, photographer, and filmmaker who has made a name for herself in the creative industry. She is half of the creative duo MARIA BODIL, which is an Amsterdam-based creative direction duo that works at the intersection of photography, film, and design. Their imagery is characterized by their minimal, timeless, and surrealistic aesthetics that balance human intimacy with elusive sophistication. With their cross-disciplinary mindset, they aim to reach beyond conventional boundaries to connect, clarify and provide new perspectives.

Lieve Eek grew up in a creative family, where both of her parents were designers. She was interested in human behavior and initially chose to study psychology at the university. However, she found studying at the university a bit limiting as she had many entrepreneurial and creative ideas. She then decided to choose a creative study that would link to psychology, and Advertising & Beyond at Willem de Kooning Academy seemed like a good fit for her.

During her time at WdKA, Lieve Eek learned a lot and was both focused on the conceptual part and the art directional aspect of the programme: “I spent a lot of time making ceramics, film projects, and photography work, putting a lot of effort into the making process. I really saw my time at the academy as an experimental period, trying out many things”, says Lieve. During her studies, she did an internship at HALAL en Johan Cramer, Bart Hes, and G-star, where she learned how these people lived and managed their companies, giving her an introduction to the working field.

In 2020, Lieve Eek graduated from WdKA during the corona pandemic. She created a photography project called ‘Still a family’ about the divorce between her parents: “I wanted to make something which was conceptually strong but also visually and aesthetically. Back then, I was already really visually focused, so this process started with a focus on the visual, but towards the end I had a very interesting conversation with a teacher who challenged me to focus on the essence of my research and to get rid of all bells and whistles. That's how I ended up in my old empty room with my family without art direction and styling. This process taught me that art directional choices need to follow the concept. Still a family’ reveals the underlying dynamic of Lieve’s broken family. It is a visual research that aims to explore the influence of each individual of the family as a whole. “For this series, my family reunited for one last time on Christmas morning in the house I grew up. The following day the key was handed over, the empty room which had been my bedroom for so many years serves as a backdrop.” 

More about the project here.


After graduation, Lieve Eek did experience the black hole feeling a bit due to the pandemic. She knew it would be hard to find a place to work. In the pandemic the world was quiet, she barely needed money because there was no outside life and she had always admired creatives who worked independently, so she decided to go for it and set up her own agency with her childhood friend. They had always done photoshoots and fashion shows as kids and decided to level it up and professionalize during the pandemic. Now, after 2.5 years, they are still going strong and have worked on many beautiful projects together. You can see their portfolio here.

One of her favorite recent projects is a campaign for Velux & Vice called ‘Transforming Spaces’. This photography series explores the transformative power of light and how this can define a space. Lieve and Marthe researched this idea by designing a 3D space with a surrealistic incidence of light, which was printed and used as a backdrop. By adding real light to the setting, these different light sources, whether natural or imaginative, start to interact. In this way, they explored how the illusion of light can change our perception. 

This project stems from a project from the study. I designed living rooms and printed them of big pieces of fabric to hang in small students room to enlarge your room optically for IKEA. I made a wholes series and this technique worked actually pretty amazingly. However the backdrops looked so nice that we took this concept into Velux and it evolved furter”, says Lieve. 


Lieve Eek's creativity and strengths are best combined with Marthe Bodil, her creative partner. Together, they make a great team, and their dynamic is what defines them as a creative duo. “When we started, we didn't know a lot of things, but learned by working on the same ideas and doing every step together”, says Lieve. When they have a new project, they first develop ideas on their own, then come together to brainstorm. They combine the best ideas in a deck, choose three directions, and define them, giving them more body before presenting them to the client. They both do everything, but they also have their unique qualities. Lieve Eek is more conceptual and dreamy, loving the first part of the project more than the details in the end phase. Marthe works in a very detailed and mathematic matter and has an imaging eye, so together they form a great team.


According to Lieve, the most valuable thing she gained from her time at the academy was the conceptual creative thinking taught by Jeroen Brouweriks, course leader of the Advertising & Beyond programme “ I learned to recognize good ideas, received a lot of feedback, and gained the right guidance to work hard towards my goals.” Through her experience, Lieve learned that creativity is something that can be learned and technical skills can be used to enhance it.

Lieve also noted that Advertising is more than just advertising: “It's about innovation, societal and human behavior, and finding creative solutions that relate to the market. This requires trend watching, social research, concept creating, and understanding societal trends. These skills have turned out to be very valuable for the industry I work in.”

When asked what advice she would give to current WdKA students who aspire to a career as a creative director, photographer, or filmmaker, Lieve emphasized the importance of staying true to your vision: “I believe that protecting your vision and name is essential in the long run and that patience is key. Additionally, I really encourage students to have a side job while working on their own practice when financially unstable, as this can bring you closer to your goals than taking on unrelated creative jobs.” She advises students to use the academy as a playfield to discover themselves, explore what they enjoy, and find what is important to them. Finally, Lieve encourages students to find pleasure in their work and to embrace their uniqueness as their greatest strength.


website Lieve