Jan Kohlbecker is a poet and location manager at Napoleon Komplex, a contemporary event & art space in Berlin. A coveted position he landed after a chance encounter at the age of 18, when his now partner and boss offered him a chance ‘out of the blue’, something that Jan credits gave him the freedom to express himself by combining his love for art, culture and music.
Jan, who would you define as a Woman Author of Achievement?
My mother is the reason why I'm creative, happy and why I'm doing the things I want to do without ever complaining. My mother has been my role model since forever. My father left us when I was three, and that’s why she represented both the mother and father figure for me all in one. She used to make a Linseneintopf — a cheap food, but when I eat it today, it reminds me of her, because she always turned the simplest things into something beautiful. She taught me to appreciate the little things. This is why it’s so easy for me to be happy just sitting in my flat writing a poem with a candle burning.
I know that along with your role at Napoleon Komplex, you are also a poet, how did your love for words begin?
When I was living in Düsseldorf, people would ask me, why do I write poems? But that’s not the case here in Berlin. Moving here is when I started going deeper into writing poetry. Suddenly, people were interested in it. And only in Berlin, poetry became more than a hobby. Most of my poems are about love and the negative side of it. I was single for four years, but I’ve got a girlfriend now, so the poems are changing in that they’re becoming more positive. I really hope to publish a book later this year.
How did Berlin influence your creative work?
On the one hand, it pushed me to be brave enough to publish my poems and to do what I love. And on the other hand it’s given me all these other experiences that Berlin is so well known for, such as partying and the freedom to have experiences that I don’t think I would otherwise have had, living in a different city.
What does your personal Berlin look like on a daily basis and where do you find your inspiration?
My personal Berlin is a city that fulfills my daily creativity and curiosity. I could be sitting randomly at the train station, for example, and I’d be inspired to write a poem because of two people walking past me holding hands. For me it’s difficult to force creativity. All of a sudden I get a strike of energy and inspiration, and it totally comes out of the blue. After this happens, I can write and write all night long. I get lost in this process. This is my Berlin.
What does the local Berlin community mean to you?
The Berlin community compared to other cities is just so open minded. It doesn't matter how much you earn or what you do for a living, you get together on a different basis. It's more about creativity. Friends from my hometown, Rebecca and Cedric, are hosting this party called Le Salon Privé, where I meet so many people and have even built my own community out of it. I would also like to give a shout out to the creative agency, LÅ BOOM. We work hard, but it never feels like working. My boss Michel gives me these chances for exhibitions that makes life happen for me here and enables me to be the person I want to be.