Curtis Kulig, the artist behind “Love Me” has been spreading his love across New York City through tagging and art for years now. Eager to learn the lowdown on the loving, I sat down with him in his studio, in TriBeca.
What is Love Me?
Love me has never really had any intention. When I started love me, it definitely wasn’t like “oh I intend to go to New York, I have this intentions of these people noticing it” its kind of just a very natural thing for me. I’m just letting it go. How its naturally progressing. Its never had intentions and it still doesn’t. its strong words, and the feeling exists in everybody. General feeling revolves around love.
How did you get to New York from North Dakota?
I was a troublesome kid in North Dakota. When I was 18 I moved to Minneapolis with my brother. and a friend of mine was going to film school in LA. I was like, “ I wanna go surf and skate.” So I went to LA, where at the time I was with Volcolm when they were just getting bigger, and helped them open there first store. After a while I opened my own gallery with Steven Arroyo, and was just working the gallery.
Then I got a girlfriend. She was going to be full time in New York so I packed all my stuff up, closed the gallery and moved with her. I pull up and I’m like, “NEW YORK IS DOPE”, I’m not paying rent, and I’m living in a fucking castle on mercer.
We break up. Hard time in my life as far as life changes. I stuck through it. It gave me the energy to start busting ass and making shit happen.
Whats the story of you and Sheppard Fairey?
I met him through my friend Mark. Who is now, Mark the Cobra Snake. At the time he was interning for Shep. They would go on missions and I would go out and shoot photos. I feel like he sort of trusted me to go along with him for a bit before anyone else started shooting him. I have a lot of documentation of him from back in the day.
He didn’t really have anything to do with your tagging?
No, I mean I was always writing graffiti.
But, I’m not trying to claim ‘Love Me’ as a graffiti, I am done using the term, “graffiti”. I completely respect it, but I am not trying to be a “graffiti artist.”
So what are you?
I guess an Artist? What is an artist? I’m doing any creative endeavors. I do things from directing, to painting, to graphics, to fonts, to whatever. I never claimed to be a graffiti artist.
You are always taking photos. On posterchild, there is a poster of a photo with love me written across it. Is that mixed media the future of love me?
No. I usually try to keep photography and painting as their own separate entities.
For me living in a city or moving to a city, you’re doing stuff in a certain part of town, if that’s the certain part of town that works for you that’s where I need to move in., and plant my seeds. I stay in pretty tight quarters.
Is that where you draw your inspiration the most?
Pretty much. But traveling too, when I travel I get inspired when I see different things. But its always nice to come back to New York. I definitely get inspired downtown.
Where do you go to work on an idea?
The studio. I do a lot of work here. I like it here.
Just bigger and different mediums, and perfecting paints and trying to bring it back to being somewhat authentic with how I’m painting and/or how I’m treating canvases or stretching canvases, colors, learning more about those things.
Right now I’m gonna keep it pretty repetitive. I like what I’m doing, so that’s where I’m gonna stay. I’m not gonna all of a sudden start drawing landscapes or some shit. Like the bronze sculpture, I’ve been working with a fabricator on that. Neon too. Bigger mediums, different mediums.