Thursday, Jan. 19, 2012 | 2 a.m.
If you go ...
Curtis Kulig at Cosmopolitan’s
P3 Studio, 6 p.m.-11 p. m.
Thursday-Sunday, through Feb. 14.
It’s been an amusing and educational year inside the Cosmopolitan’s P3 Studio where visual artists spend a few weeks working on projects and visiting with tourists.
The hotel, which hands over the small space to select artists, has kept the experience acutely contemporary: artists have included Fab 5 Freddy, Kidrobot’s Frank Kozik and Portland installation and performance artist MK Guth, who had visitors spellbound by the more than 200 feet of synthetic hair braided into her own golden locks.
Last month Las Vegas artist Jerry Misko was in the glass-walled studio, rendering neon signs in abstract paintings. Now comes Curtis Kulig, a New York City artist, whose graffiti tag, “love me,” is plastered on buildings, signs and posts all over New York City and Los Angeles.
Kulig, a photographer and street artist, arrived this week and will be working on his fine art and commercial projects through Feb. 14 in the glass-walled studio inside the third-floor P3 Commons. It’s a sharp change from his 5,000-square-foot New York studio, but the artist says, “I thought it would be fun to work out of different quarters.”
The opportunity to be an artist-in-residence at the Cosmo is a coveted one, especially by local artists hoping for the chance to be exposed to thousands of visitors. Out-of-town artists are put up in the hotel for the duration of their stay. Cosmo hotel representatives say they use a variety of artists and disciplines as a way to give guests a new experience each time they visit the hotel. Most often, they look for artists who can be interactive with guests.
Kulig is practically speaking to them before they even enter the studio with the word “love” spray-painted in red on the white walls of the studio. His “love me,” with the “m” in the shape of the heart, is already multiplied in a pattern on canvasses.
The “love me” project started about seven years ago when the artist scrawled the words in his journal and then on the streets.
In addition to being painted onto urban buildings, Kulig’s phrase has made its way into fine art galleries on both coasts as works on canvas or as sculptures. The artist has collaborated with companies, such as Bobbi Brown Cosmetics and Nike, on print ads, billboards and clothing patterns. His “love me” is also seen during the opening credits of Saturday Night Live. Kulig welcomes any interpretation of the words, which (for him) change in meaning daily.
While setting up the P3 Studio Tuesday, Kulig says he’s a little surprised by the success of the trademarked “love me,” which has snowballed and even been used without authorization by large corporations, prompting Kulig to purchase their products, which he plans to feature in a gallery exhibit to show how out of control the use of the phrase and his design has become.
“It’s an obsession,” Kulig said. “It’s an obsession to see where it’s going and how far I can take it.”