When Apple announced the Apple Watch earlier this year, the company was met with a barrage of enthusiasm and skepticism unlike ever before. Though concerns over wearable technology and how it will affect humanity are par for the course, the Apple Watch revealed itself to be simple, unintimidating, and full of potential for apps and customization. Demand remains high for the product that’s become as much a fashion statement as it is a high-powered timepiece. (We discovered you can DJ and order Chipotle on it, FYI.)
Pair the Apple Watch with an artist whose work can be found on street corners and products around the world, and you have something special. Though Apple just announced an Apple Pencil (on the same day they announced an Hermès Apple Watch edition), Kulig went ahead and used his finger to draw a cat, a woman, and his “Love Me” tag on the surface of the Watch. And while the results are simple, they symbolize yet another way someone like Kulig can spread their art and use it to have a dialogue with and about technology.
We caught up with Kulig and asked him about his experience with the Apple Watch, what he’s working on, and the future of art.
What was it like to apply your signature art to the Apple Watch?
It was fun. There's this small surface, but there are all these possibilities. I actually really like the feeling of drawing on it. It's amazing how thin the lines can become when you find a perfect ridge on your finger. There's something impulsive and gratifying, and I like that.
Had you previously drawn on an iPad or touchpad?
Yes. I was addicted to drawing on the iPad for a bit. I couldn't stop.
How else do you use the Apple Watch, and what do you think its creative potential might be?
I put a bit of music on it. Evernote also looks great on it for to-do lists. It's kind of Jetson's futuristic—like what you thought the 2000s would look like when you were a kid. I couldn't even begin to think about the potential. Maybe some sort of healing app with vibrational frequencies?
How has the "Love Me" movement continued to grow? Do you still get letters from people about following your tags around the world?
It's grown so much bigger than me. I get tags on Instagram, emails, letters, and even pictures of tattoos. It resonates with people in a way I couldn't even imagine when I started.
Have you ever considered trying to do what you did with "Love Me" but with different words or in a different style?
Right now my primary focus is on painting. The work doesn't involve script. I'm mostly exploring my ideas around vulnerability and impulse, which in a way is a natural extension of Love Me, even though the work itself is considerably different.
What is your studio like these days? Do you see yourself functioning as an artist still, as more of a CEO, or both?
Ha, CEO. The best part about my job is that I don't need to have a title. But actually the door to my studio says it's my law office, and has “Love Me” in Chinese, because when I moved in, almost every office on the floor belonged to a Chinese lawyer.
Where do you separate your work as an agency and your work as an artist? How do you balance both?
It's unfolded in different ways. I see “Love Me” as a message for everyone who's constantly expanding. My canvas work is for myself. Every project I do is different, and I like that, because I want to constantly learn things, or I get bored. My attention just shifts depending on the day.
How have you reacted to instances of your work getting ripped off? Is it impossible to deal with every case?
It's always frustrating when it happens. To protect it takes lawyers. No one wants to just be accountable and say 'Yes, we stole it, sorry,” which I find strange. It's definitely happening to too many artists.
What are your plans for the near future? Is there a medium you haven't tried that you want to?
I'm working on a show with canvas pieces, but I may add a performance element. As far as a medium, I'd like to work more with light installations and projections. I have a deep love of neon, and I'd like to take it further and on a larger scale.
Would you ever consider making digital art, or art that’s specifically meant to live on the Internet and be sold as a digital object?
I like physical objects. I want to touch everything. But I do think digital art is interesting, the idea of buying something that everyone else can have for free as long as the owner and artist are credited. Maybe that’s the future.