Studio visit with Claw Money
NATALIE KATES: Where does the name CLAW come from?
CLAW: CLAW has been my nickname since I was 9 or 10. My real name is Claudia and CLAW just evolved from that.
NK: Where are you from and where were you raised?
C: I am born and raised in Queens - more specifically Fresh Meadows and I moved to Long Island to go to middle school.
NK: In a world dominated by male graffiti artist how did you get started?
C: When I moved to Manhattan to go to FIT in 1986, I quickly became infatuated with NYC's nightlife and started going to underground parties and clubs. It was there that I met graffiti writers and caught the bug.
NK: On top of being a legendary graffiti artist you are a savvy businesswoman. Where does this discipline come from?
C: Really graffiti taught me my work ethic and in a strange way it mimics corporate society. Basically you start at the bottom and have to climb your way to the top, same as in business.
NK: If you can credit one person who has instrumental in your success who would that be and why?
C: It would have to be Zephyr - a he was the person that truly lit the spark that turned into my obsession with graffiti.
NK: How did you clothing and accessories line come about?
C: I was always in the fashion business, for the last 20 plus years I have held many different positions from designer, to stylist, to vintage dealer, to fashion editor. So, in 2001, after 9/11 when all styling dried up in NYC, I was back out painting again coincidentally, and a bunch of people asked if I would do a "Claw" tee for their brand. After the 10th person asked in 2 weeks, I then started my brand.....
NK: You have an impressive collection of vintage clothing. What are the best places to find vintage pieces?
C: I love to find a needle in a haystack, so I thrift everywhere. The best place is outer borough Salvation Armys. Also Florida has great thrifting.
NK: What is one artistic tool you can’t live without?
C: I absolutely positively can't live with out black Sharpies and silver duct tape. Those are my two most needed tools.
NK: Who are some of your favorite artists?
C: I am such a super fan of so many people. I love Roy Lichtenstein, Dr Revolt, Andy Warhol, Danielle Levitt, Miss 17, Aaron Cobbett and so many others.
NK: What are some of your current projects you are working on?
C: Oh who can remember! So much going on, staring to expand my line, have a big international fashion collab coming out and of course, my world domination of everything internet. So much to do, so little time.
NK: If you could collaborate with any living artist who would it be and why?
C: Tony Bennett, I think we would do an amazing duet.
NK: What are some words that would describe your art?
C: Electric, delicious, fierce and fun.
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