Love me, New York

Love Me

Curtis Kulig’s “love me” manifesto. (photo by Lara Dalinsky)

I was in a rush to meet some friends for dinner in the Lower East Side in Manhattan and was stopped in my tracks when I came across an unlikely message: the words “love me” urgently scrawled on the side of a column. The sentiment was simple, poignant, universal. In a sprawling metropolis swarming with people, it is easy to feel isolated alienated in its sea of anonymity. Everybody hearts New York, but does it love us back? For the rest of the evening, I couldn’t stop wondering who had left this dripping plea and what had led them to write it.

As I returned to city over the course of the next few years, I realized that the message was actually street art with a growing presence in the form of tags and stickers throughout the city. The person behind the “love me” movement is Curtis Kulig, an aspiring photographer and illustrator who moved from North Dakota to the city when he was 18 to pursue a career in art. What started as a scribble in a notebook has turned into an empire. New York has heeded his request to be loved–his art is now displayed internationally in high-end galleries and his moniker is licensed by major companies like DKNY, Nike, and Smashbox Cosmetics for merchandising.

Discover more street art from around the world in our “Layers” photo essay.»

Lara Dalinsky
Lara Dalinsky

Lara was instilled with the travel bug at an early age and has visited over 25 countries. Her mother’s job as a flight attendant enabled a childhood of seeing the world. In addition to being the founding editor of En Route Traveler, Lara also works as the Art Director for the branding firm, Belmont Inc., in Alexandria, VA. In her spare time, she instructs high-energy Zumba dance classes, contributes as a Local Expert to AFAR, enjoys vegetarian cuisine, dabbles in photography and, of course, travels as much as possible.


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