Our latest S’well x Starbucks collaboration is with the artist, Curtis Kulig. Kulig rose to fame with his iconic “Love Me” campaign in the early 2000s. His signature slogan began as an expression of public art and quickly transformed into a powerful contemporary art mainstay. We had the chance to chat with Curtis about his artistic inspiration, his time-honored “Love Me” campaign, and how the S’well x Starbucks collaboration was a perfect fit.
S’well: How did you first get started painting? Do you remember your first experience with art?
Curtis Kulig (CK): My first experience with art was growing up with my uncle who was a traditionally trained oil painter. He introduced me to John Singer Sargent and from there on out, that is what I thought art was. When I was introduced to Marcel Duchamp in the mid 90’s, that’s when I began to understand that art could be conceptual. I got started painting because I wasn’t getting what I wanted from photography.
S’well: What inspires you?
CK: Everyday occurrences.
S’well: What does your iconic “Love Me” campaign mean to you?
CK: Love Me is a naturally powerful entity that makes me happy and keeps me excited about the future. It’s fun to watch it morph into what it has become today. Personally, it’s meaning for me depends on the day— so I find it difficult to give a general answer. It’s more about what it means to others.
S’well: What are the signature elements of your art?
CK: Signature elements of my work are the obvious vulnerabilities that span throughout it. Most of it is an emotional exploration that’s personal to me, but again, it’s how it makes others feel that I find the most interesting.
S’well: What made you want to collaborate with S’well and Starbucks?
CK: S’well and Starbucks are both such fun brands that have extraordinary reach. They are very much a part of everyday life. So, I think a collaboration like this—one that’s focused on sustainability choices—from both companies has a big impact. It’s important in our day and age to start paying attention, making more of an effort, and teaching others the same ideas of sustainable living. I am very excited to be working with both!
S’well: How important is sustainability to you? How do you work to #ReduceTheUse of plastic consumption in your day-to-day?
CK: I share knowledge with friends and am very conscious of being wasteful. Do your part! Everything begins with the individual and expands from there, which is actually the same principle as love. It’s individual, familial, communal, and then societal: that’s how change occurs.