You Must “Love Me”



You’ve seen his “Love Me” scribbled all over New York City. The guy behind the romanticized tag has been keeping busy, collaborating with Vans, Nike, and The Ace Hotel on a series of projects. But growing up, his lack of attention in school has parlayed into his passion-project-turned-career. Here, artist Curtis Kulig gets the Life+Times treatment.

Life+Times: I’ve been able to describe you as an artist, a photographer, an illustrator and more. If you had to choose one title to describe yourself and what you do – what would it be and why?
Curtis Kulig
: Artist. It describes all of it. Whether I’m painting or shooting film or writing “Love Me,” it doesn’t put limits on how I’m seen and I like that.

L+T: Tell me a little bit about what you were interested in growing up. How has that parlayed into what you do now?
: I always had trouble paying attention in school. Skating and punk rock shows were my outlets. My dad would have me help out at his print shop and I would watch my uncle paint. I think the combination of having zero attention span, a need for adrenaline, and early exposure to paint, typography and color. It all adds up to what I’m doing for a living now.

L+T: Let’s get the “Love Me” out of the way. Why and how did this originate? What’s the meaning behind it?
: It’s something I started writing in LA in 2005. A few friends have some of the first pieces, but I didn’t think much of it then. When I moved to NY a few years later, I became more focused on it. I guess that’s what New York does – it makes everything accelerate faster. By 2009 I started being asked to do collaborations, travel the world, stuff like that. Now between paintings and sculptures on the fine art side and branding projects on the commercial side, it’s a full time job. I’m not sure what it means. I think it’s in the mind of the viewer and for me, that’s what makes it interesting.

L+T: Why do you think it has captured such a large audience? Do you think it’s a message – whatever the reasoning – that people from all walks of like can take from it?
: I guess it’s simple. And it appeals to our most basic need.

L+T: You’ve collaborated with Nike, The Ace Hotel, Vans and more. Who would be your dream collaboration/collaborator? Why?
: Karl Lagerfeld. I’m just sort of fascinated by him and how he can evolve Chanel but still keep it timeless. And I think it would be cool to do something with Coca-Cola. It’s iconic all American. Or Paul Newman.

L+T: What are you working on next?
: I did a cosmetics collection for Smashbox and a classic collection for Vans. Both come out in the start of 2013. Deer Dana and I are working on some things, my favorite! As for right now, I just launched a little online shop since everyone is always asking for stickers and tees, but I’ll drop other surprises in the months to come as well.

L+T: Tell us a little bit about your Photo Journal? How did this originate? And why?
: Photography has always been a big part of my life. The idea of documentation, and more so the idea of portraiture and expression and change. I started putting photos online after I had so much film built up over the years. Currently it is being updated when I have time, though I wish I had more time for it. The Polaroid section is updated more than the journal.