For all that Curtis Kulig has accomplished, the guy is totally laid back. His iconic “Love Me” tag can be seen all over Tokyo, Los Angeles, and New York, even making a cameo during the opening credits of Saturday Night Live. While other street artists choose the road of anonymity, Kulig welcomes the opportunity to get both his name and face out there—especially if it means collaborating with the artists and brands he respects. In addition to working on his photography and collaborative pieces with other well-known artists, he’s been able to parlay his street art fame into a presence in the fashion world, most recently linking with Nike Sportswear on a series of limited-edition tees and hoodies for Fashion’s Night Out. And although this time around Kulig is going to Art Basel just for fun (and likely to support his many artist friends), I’m sure this rising artist will be one of the main attractions come next year.
Hi, Curtis. Can you tell me when you were first introduced to the art world? Hi, Natalie. I started with art at a young age watching my dad silkscreen and my uncle Anthony paint oil portraits. My uncle’s an insane painter that I still look up to. I guess ever since then, art has never really stopped being a part of my life.
When and why did you start writing “Love Me”? “Love Me” stems from an obvious feeling. It started in a sketchbook and ended up everywhere and on just about everything I created.
How did the Nike Sportswear collaboration for Fashion’s Night Out come about? Director and photographer Kai Regan hit me up to do the project. Nike has always supported me and my work, so I went for it. They’re a progressive company and I’m grateful for their support. Hopefully I’ll work with them on some more projects.
Recently you were tapped to contribute work to Bill’s Bar & Burger as part of their local art initiative. What was that like? It all started when Matthew Abromick asked me to do this restaurant on 51st Street in Rockefeller Center. I went and checked it out and the place was really big and impressive, even in its raw state at the time. You could tell that it was going to look great once completed. The installation space I had to work with was huge and I was into all the other artists working on the project, like Barry McGee, Sage Vaughn, and so on. A lot of late nights were spent there and a bunch of people rolled through. Check out the video below.
What kinds of projects do you have coming down the pipeline? I’m doing some fashion things in Japan, working on some tees with Deadline, a collaboration with Ricky Powell, a sculpture, some group shows, a book with OHWOW, jewelry, Baron Von Fancy lighters, and more. I’m just working on a bunch of different things with friends and family. It’s great to stay busy and keep work circulating.
More than ever before, the fashion industry is working with street artists to gain a raw, creative edge. If you had a chance to work with any fashion designer, who would it be? Definitely Dries Van Noten.
Photo of Curtis Kulig by David Perez.