Curtis Kulig

Original Artist

Let Love Rule

We're standing, looking out on the sunny Soho streets from the window of artist Curtis Kulig's beautiful, well-appointed loft and studio, wondering if we should buy a whole bunch of Sharpies. Of course, grabbing a permanent marker and doodling two simple words over and over (and over!) again on a notebook wouldn't guarantee us Curtis' success and notoriety, but it would be the first step in following his path to art-star status.

Of course, Kulig is now very far away from the time when his most notable mark, "Love Me," was on almost everything (walls, mailboxes, etc.) in downtown Manhattan. The expansive, inclusive, and honestly quite-beautiful sentiment and visual form of "Love Me" has spread through the art and commercial worlds like an uplifting virus, appearing on massive canvases in dedicated gallery shows, clothing, advertising, billboards, neon signs — you name it. Quite adeptly, Curtis has used it not only as a personal message of compassion to the world, but also as a launch vehicle for his other work.

Indeed, calling the North Dakota-raised former Angeleno a "street artist" would be reductive — dismissing all his other well-received multimedia work and all he's accomplished. Warm, casual, and carefully spoken, Kulig has created a unique path to success in an increasingly narrow art world. If "Love Me" was his foot in the door, his deeper talent, drive, and personality flung that door wide open. All the Sharpies in the world couldn't even begin to help us do that.

“I think the general rule with art and commerce is don't put your artwork on a product until you're dead. Thing is, I kind of already broke that rule.”


Almost every week, Curtis gets a photo from a fan with a new “Love Me” tattoo.

Interview with Curtis Kulig
Interview with Curtis Kulig
Where does your inspiration usually come from?

I get inspired by all types of things: '60s' French music, hanging plants, 600-thread-count pillowcases that are perfectly packaged. It's hard to say how my brain filters what it takes in.

What's on your artistic "bucket list"?

I want to do a huge sculpture for NYC parks. I want to do a plane for Virgin America. I want to do water with Perrier. I love bubbly water.

What's been the reaction to your non-"Love Me" work?

When people like what I create that's not 'Love Me,' it really surprises me. It's sort of becoming its own animal. When I create drawings of naked ladies or write out the word 'everything' and people really like it, it feels good.

Any advice for the aspiring original?

Keep doing the same thing over and over, and try to do it better each time.

Meet more originals at Refinery29.



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Article by Gabriel Bell, Refinery29

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