05/04/12 - 0 Comments
LOVE ME: Interview with Curtis Kulig
Chances are you’ve seen Curtis Kulig before. He works in a variety of mixed media — sculpture, metalwork, painting and photography, but he is perhaps most well-known for his graffiti. His now-iconic “Love Me” tag is scribbled and stuck onto the streets of New York, LA, Tokyo and Paris. Kulig has collaborated with the likes of The Standard Hotel, Scoop NYC, Shepard Fairey and now Vans and Smashbox Cosmetics. Dual Show chatted with the artist about his childhood, jail and one of Hollywood’s most notorious actresses, Paz de la Huerta.
What exactly is “Love Me”?
Love Me is something I’ve written about a million times. If I had to guess, I will write it a few million more, it looks like. It means something different to everyone and I suppose that’s why people are interested. Or not interested.
What inspired it?
I scribbled it in notebooks. A friend of mine actually has a notecard that he keeps a picture of that I wrote it on about six years ago. It’s a little different than what it is now. Somewhere along the way it found its way onto walls and stickers and now canvasses and, to be honest, it’s bigger than me and I’m just seeing where it goes from here.
Which artists and photographers did you admire when you were younger?
I’m not sure I was really noticing then. Juergen Teller, Helmut Newton, [Nobuyoshi] Araki, [Jean-Michel] Basquiat, [Andy] Warhol. Pretty basic knowledge, I suppose, but they’re household names for a reason.
I read that when you were younger you were really into skateboarding. How does the skateboarding culture effect your work and your life?
I grew up in North Dakota. There was nothing to do. You skated or you were a jock. I skated. Now, skateboarding is different. It’s an industry. There are some people [for whom] it’s still pure, but you have to really not give a f*** for it to stay that way.
There must be such a rush of adrenaline when you’re out putting stickers on random places, literally spreading your message. How does that feel?
If the city of New York is asking, I have never put a single sticker anywhere.
[Laughs] Do you plan out specific places to tag?
Have you been arrested for tagging?
No, but I did 60 days in jail before and I definitely do not want to go back.
When you work in your studio, what type of creative environment do you surround yourself with?
I’m fortunate enough that a collector gave me a huge raw space to work in every day. It’s dusty, exposed boards and some people wonder if it might cave in. It feels like another place in time. I’m surrounded by pieces I’ve made, tons of paint and resin, huge dyed canvases and experiments I’ve done, mostly failed ones. It keeps me humble.
Any collaborations you want our readers to know about?
I have a capsule collection coming out with Vans in January. I also did a line of cosmetics with Smashbox. That’s huge and I’m really excited about that as well. I just did an installation for Catherine Malandrino in SoHo. She’s such a cool chick. She’s like a cat but she’s also very militant in terms of getting what she wants. I like that.
You’re friends with Paz de le Huerta. When did you two meet? I love the photographs of her on your photo journal.
I met Paz in New York. She’s great. She does things her own way and she couldn’t care less what anyone thinks. I like that about her. It takes a certain kind of person to be in the public eye and still be themselves.