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Image: Lucia Hierro - El Costo de la Vida -Independent Art Fair - LatchKey Gallery


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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