On the Couch with Claus-Peter Schöps
Not far from the caseable office in Berlin, you will find the studio of Claus-Peter Schöps a.k.a. the guy for all things retro. Talking not only about his life and why it might be worth being a superhero in the German capital, we also had some serious art discussion. We suggest you read it in true Berlin style - with a bottle of cold beer!
Originally from Freising, Bavaria what made you move to Berlin?
I’d love to say that I followed a silver, magic, inevitable feeling. That I fought together with elves against demons and monsters and rode through trials and tribulations into the Promised Land Berlin. But no, it wasn’t that way. The real reason was the good atmosphere and the cheap rents.
Are you familiar with the saying “Du bist verrückt mein Kind, du musst nach Berlin” (“You’re crazy, my child, you have to go to Berlin”)?
Strolling around and watching people in my neighborhood in Friedrichshain, I get the feeling that it must be true that thousands of mothers all over Europe tell this sentence to their crazy kids and that those crazy kids follow the advice of their mothers and move to Berlin. My mother prefers if I stay at home which suggests that I’m not crazy.
What is your favorite thing about Berlin?
There is always something to say about Berlin. For the past three years I have been trying to get a general idea. Berlin is urban and rural. Berlin sparkles and stinks. Berlin is hipster and white trash, graffiti and concrete, air and noise, east and west, ragingly fast and ever forgotten, hyped and flopped … and just like Berlin I am full of contrasts, too. Which is why we fit together so well.
Your collection at caseable has quite a strong retro feel, featuring designs of cassette tapes, TV test card and good old Atari game. Are those sentimental rememberings from your childhood or customer demand? What inspires you to create these?
Both. I believe each decade follows the same pattern. First you live in it, then you get bored by it, then you label it as super embarrassing, then you forget it and suddenly you rediscover it. Only then, usually after 30 years, is it time to fetch the real pearls of a decade that are going to represent this decade forever.
We’re also intrigued by your Freakout design. Please share the meaning behind it. We do have a few theories here in the office but we’d rather hear the original story from you.
When you put on crazy underwear in the morning, you don’t know who’s going to take it off in the evening. :-)
What do you think was the biggest struggle throughout your career? Tell us about one of the most hellish moments.
When I get fully into creating, I lose track of my normal life. Not everything in life should be about moving pixels and ideas around. One should also plant a tree, build a house and conceive a child. I haven’t done any of that.
What do you think you would be doing if you weren’t making art?
I’d be a superhero. In my opinion, Berlin is a city that needs a superhero. I could fly and wouldn’t step into dog poo anymore. I’d wear a skin-tight rubber suit with a cape and as a hat I’d wear a bear head. This way I’d get into Berghain easily and save unhappy creatures every night that are jumping down skyscrapers and along the way I catch beer bottles that the hedonists throw on the ground. Everyone would love me.
If you were given 500 Euros to spend in the next two hours, what would you do with it?
Money and time pressure: I can’t stand it when those two things come together. I would think about this very carefully. I would have ideas buzzing around in my head like … to burn the money. To run into a casino and put everything on red. To donate the money to a good cause. To buy 500 packages of soap bubbles. To shout out loud “liquor for everyone”. To book a flight to Mallorca. To order smartphone cases on the internet. To buy shares of an electric bike company … until a sound appears…beep! And someone says, “Too late you idiot, give the money back”.