By Fabio Yasamin, 2nd year student FHJ
For The Gallery of Fontys University of Journalism

Illusionist Jochem Nooyen (42) always manages to amaze his audience with his magic tricks. At the same time, he can also be seen as an actor on the silver screen. “I'm always busy with things; sitting still doesn't suit me."

A rich imagination can use every child

“As a child I always had a good time. I didn't need much: on vacation I played with frying pans all afternoon. I then made up my own stories that I could act out. Toys or kitchen utensils: it didn't matter what it was, I always managed to come up with a suitable story. My mother was always very impressed by my fantasy: 'You can use that all your life', she would say. So while I was always busy with my own entertainment, I wasn't a born entertainer in the sense of making everyone laugh and cracking jokes all day long. So personally I have no aptitude for it, but I do think that someone can be a 'born entertainer'.

Some people are born in the spotlight, or can make people laugh from birth. But I still think that as you get older, as an entertainer you start to think more about the depth of a story. As a child you naturally think less about such things. An example: Dance is a very strong form of expression – when you are young you are only concerned with all the steps and steps. But as you get older, you start to wonder more: What kind of story do I want to tell? What is the song about? Why am I doing this? I think singer Pink shows that very nicely in her video clips; you immediately find out what story she wants to tell the viewer. That also has to do with age. I always try to do that, because as an entertainer that is very important to me.”

Your worldview changes as you get older

“My dream used to be to become an inventor. I came up with that idea after seeing a film by Herman van Veen, Art and Flywork. In that film, he was a kind of inventor who made different types of devices from all the waste – in his garden – that also benefited people. As a child, I really loved the idea of inventing devices that would also be good for the world. Now I look at it very differently. Not that my perspective on inventing assistive devices has changed, but more the image of who is an inventor. I quickly get the feeling that this is someone who is a bit absent-minded and who spends his days alone as a hermit. I am the opposite, because I really need to be among people; I couldn't live as a hermit.

What I'm doing now can certainly be compared to it. As an illusionist I also constantly invent new things. Whether it's solutions during the performances, or devices and machines that have to support the acts. Imagine there is a box, and that box can make rabbits disappear, then you can come up with an act from what that box can do. But it's much more fun if you come up with a story first. You are a magician and work in a zoo there are too many rabbits 'your boss comes to you and says 'they have to go!'. So how do you make sure you make ten rabbits disappear? You then start by finding a story and then find out which tricks to use to keep the story interesting for the viewer. In my opinion, coming up with a solution for your problem as an illusionist is a kind of invention; a good storyline, which is supported with magic tricks.”

Not every actor can play a villain

“An actor who has always fascinated me is Steve Buscemi (known for Reservoir Dogs and The Big Lebowski). With him I always get the feeling that you can become friends with him very quickly; he may look a little strange, but he is very nice. But then suddenly, out of the blue, he can turn into a psychopathic maniac - as if there really is something completely wrong with him out of the blue. I like that he is often assigned the role of the bad guy, which is something you don't see every actor do. It suits him very well because even though he is evil, he still has something innocent and reliable about him.

I myself have always had the ambition as an actor to play the role of a psychopath - similar to roles he has played. I am often cast for a role of a friendly character, while I think it would be nice as an actor to highlight the dark side of a character.

I love to act and act as an illusionist at the same time. I actually hope that I will not be forced to make a choice between acting or magic; in my eyes that is a diabolical dilemma. But if that day ever arrives and I am faced with the choice of stopping my performances as an illusionist or acting in a film that appeals to me, then I will let go of the latter.

Transparency towards your audience is important

“The essence of your act is always to mislead people or influence their choices. The performance can then go from: 'You can't do that and only I as an illusionist can do that', but that's not how I approach it myself. I don't want to make people feel stupid. I think it is more important to show how we can be influenced or distracted. In the field of magic, as an illusionist I can of course do more than an audience member and of course I try to entertain people. But it's not my goal to just show people what I can do.

In 2009 I participated in the television program of SBS6: The New Uri Geller During the program they made it appear that all participating illusionists were psychic, but in that show the acts mainly consisted of mentalism. A mentalist is an illusionist who creates the illusion that he has a sixth sense and pretends to be able to do paranormal things. Maybe it was good for the ratings, I don't know, but I personally didn't support that. As a person and artist, integrity is always my number one priority.

Despite everything, it has been an amazing experience, and I managed to make it to the semi-finals. There was immense pressure on us, which I enjoyed. We had a live show once every two weeks – if you kept going it would be every week. Which meant that we had to come up with new ideas in a short time, prepare, rehearse and then also get to show your act for the first time. Performing an act for the first time is of course extremely exciting, because it can end completely wrong – of course, they are still acts with risks. It was also watched by millions of people, so the tension and pressure was even higher.”

Not all guys dreams come true last

“My first own theater tour was a childhood dream come true, really the perfect picture for me. It was a idea about privacy. In my performance, I wanted to show the audience, by means of a storyline, how safe our thoughts are nowadays, with all those smart algorithms and artificial intelligence. During the performance, for example, I guessed the pin codes of people in the audience, but they also found out about private yellow things about me along the way. The goal of my performances is to make people think.

In the beginning we certainly didn't have sold out venues, but as time went on, it got busier and fuller. Everything was going well until that stupid virus showed up. That was a very tough time. But instead of sitting at home in frustration, I started thinking: what can I do? Together with my technician, we came up with the idea of having online shows and that has been quite successful

Many people have suffered because of the pandemic and it has also made me think: Wouldn't it be wiser to look for an office job? But an office job is just really not for me: I just can't sit still. Of course I've thought about it at some point, especially during the pandemic, and I also know that it offers more stability. But I also know from myself that I will not last and at some point will leave the building screaming.”

Book guest speaker Jochem Nooyen for your seminar or event

Jochem has a lot of affinity with the following subjects. He creates a tailor-made show full of stories and illusion acts

Shows & presentations

Live or online, but always interactive, funny and refreshing. With astonished participants as the end result.

Privacy / Info Security (€€€)

Everything you do online can be tracked and traced. Fortunately, your thoughts are still safe… right? In this show, privacy is an illusion.
After this show:
  • • You'll get insight into how important privacy is for people
  • • it's clear that privacy is more than laws and regulations
  • • have you experienced that humans are the weakest link in info security

The paradigm shift show (€€)

Change your perspective and the world changes along with you. With humor and wonder, this show teaches you to look at change differently.
After this show:
  • • You'll have insight into the different stages of change and resilience
  • • You've experienced what it's like to change perspectives
  • • You'll have a different perspective on change and transformation

Integrity Show (€€)

We all find integrity important. In a show full of illusions, experience how major integrity violations almost always start small
After this show:
  • • hYou've thought about acting with integrity
  • • you learn that major integrity issues always start small
  • • You are challenged to discuss difficult situations

Illusion show (€)

A one-man show from a mind illusionist. Full of stories, interaction and humor. But above all with amazement. Adaptable to theme of the day!
After this show:
  • • have your mind been read
  • • You've experienced that perhaps more is possible than you initially thought
  • • you leave the room full of amazement and inspiration