Teresa SchönherrAn interview with a Leipzig-based designer dabbling in mystic aesthetics
14 May 2020
Teresa Schönherr (@schoenherr666) is a graphic designer and tattoo artist with a style that’s inspired by the chaos of the 90s and southern german mysticism.
After completing her studies at the Academy of Fine Arts in Leipzig, Teresa now has a successful graphic design career, as well as an increasing following for her tattoo artistry. In this interview, YEOJA speaks to Teresa about the influences behind her unique poster designs, her tattoo art, and her future plans.
Teresa, are you haunted at night? There is something gloomy about all your artwork. Do you have an affinity towards creepy stuff?
Teresa: I’m glad you noticed that. I feel this urge toward mystical aesthetics and supernatural abilities. I like to spread a breeze of witchcraft on top of my designs to make you look at it a bit longer. I love the gloom, as long as it does not leave the onlooker in a dark place.
How would you describe the life of a female graphic designer in Leipzig’s community?
Teresa: Leipzig’s design scene is small and well-connected. As the whole world knows by now, Leipzig is the best place to make an easy living. The rent is low and there’s plenty of space to test run a crazy business idea or to set up whatever. Unfortunately, there’s not a lot of money inside of this comfortable bubble. So, I just moved to Karlsruhe and I’m teaching in the communication design department for a few months. Then i’ll come back to Leipzig afterwards.
What are your astrological placements?
Teresa: I’m born on the 20th of April, so I’m Aries.
You produce posters for exhibitions and events in Leipzig, Berlin and Nuremberg. Are there any other major cities that seem to be in need of poster design nowadays (pre-COVID-19 outbreak)?
Teresa: It brightens my day when I stumble across a design I made in the streets of Leipzig. Mostly I’m proud of the outcome and I’ll show it off in various insta-stories. Now that I’ll spend some time in Karlsruhe, I would like to design for local events. Usually, you can assume that cities with a design faculty or an art scene are having the best poster designs on the streets.
Being a graphic designer you can always work from home. We’re jealous! Can you give us a home office life hack?
Teresa: Yes, of course I can help you with that!I do work a lot with these yellow memo pads that I stick around everywhere and remind me what comes next. I also make to-do lists every day and I try to limit my time on social media when a deadline comes closer. While I do work from home, I’m also a heavy procrastinator. But, luckily I’m self confident with my work and enjoy a hectic rush. When it comes to finishing a poster for some underground-soli (a type of party that provides solidarity for a particular aim or cause) with a YouTube-dj, I tend to rework it for hours or even days, until I’m satisfied. I assume that the best way to work from home effectively and successfully is to be fine with permanent self exploration and nonstop availability. A total mix of private life with profession. You can do it!
Having physical posters, made out of actual paper hanging around your town is kind of cool. Would you agree? Do you prefer paper (and other physical mediums) to digital formats?
Teresa: I love having posters hanging around the city that I made, and yes, I prefer printed matter to digital formats. I’m also curious to test out other mediums for my designs. For example, I want to make prints for clothes in the future and work together with fashion designers. However, digital formats have the advantage of a higher spectrum of colours and neat preciseness. The future of collaborative designs is probably digital, because it is extendable forever. There’s so much to discover!
What makes an artist turn into a tattoo artist? What came first?
Teresa: I started tattooing about a year ago, so it’s very new to me. After I graduated one year ago, I had a problem as nobody was hiring me. I made a few big jobs in the year before; but in 2019 I had nothing to do and no money coming in. Jan, the owner of Studio 394 taught me how to tattoo and let me use his right thigh to practice my skills, so I learned very quickly — but I’m still improving. I will never forget how he helped me, and now he has an ever lasting reminder of that special time we spent, too. Thank you for that Jan, xoxo.
Is DIDDL (a German comic strip created by German artist Thomas Goletz in 1990) in again? What is the motivation behind incorporating DIDDL into your work?
Teresa: Haha! Nice that you’re referring to one of my flash designs. That one is promised to Anna from KV Leipzig by the way. Can’t wait to pimp her wrist with that. The slogan says “equality“, for an ironic reason. Atschool, students would come together from different classes to trade their DIDDL comic books. But those trade circles were led by the upper-class billabong (a clothing brand popular in the 90’s) white girls. The equality above the DIDDL face is actually meant in an ironic way.
What’s the weirdest tattoo request you’ve ever received?
Teresa: I don’t get that many requests. And only very few are weird, as I specialised in custom lettering. But my favourite was this one: “Are you interested in making a skull that chews on two dicks?” Unfortunately, I wasn’t quick enough and I saw that potential client getting that masterpiece tattooed by someone else.
@studio394 has stated you are always one step ahead, how do you do that?
If that’s true, I feel honoured on the one hand; but on the other hand I can testify that it’s not lucrative for a business. Being one step ahead, can be one step too far. Different from my egocentric design practise; tattooing is focused on the person who receives the piece for a lifetime. My style in tattooing is constantly adjusting. I would love to find a brave person that is willing to develop a huge back piece with me. Are you in? Contact me! There’s a special price for you!
Original artwork provided by Teresa Schönherr. Follow Teresa Schönherr on Instagram to keep up with her work. For more Art & Culture, click here.