As a follow up to the news of Claudia “Claw Money” Gold’s pop-up store at Extra Butter’s Long Island City location, we had an email exchange with her about how the effort with the chain came into fruition.
We also used the occasion to ask the Queens-born graffiti artist about the impact of COVID-19 on New York street art scene and how she’s managed through the pandemic as both a creative and the mother of a 10-year old.
Check out the exchange below.
Snobette: Hi Claw! We’re so excited to see the pop up with Extra Butter. How did the idea for it come about?
Claw Money: “Since closing my store I’ve gone into deep into deep company infostructure and organization, categorizing and cataloging all of my designer vintage, which now includes original Claw Money pieces from the early 2000s.
“When the EB team called with an idea to do a collab, I was knee deep in vintage Claw and thought that a small retrospective would be cool and the Long Island City store is packed with some CM vintage heat.”
Snobette: What elements did you bring into the designs that reflect your current creative state of mind?
Claw Money: “For our collaboration I wanted to do something that was very clean and repped the Extra Butter aesthetic, at the same time staying true to my slightly wild brand DNA and coming up with something to represent both brands individually as well as together. I also wanted to tie in the mural outside of the store to the product so it was an immersive experience.”
Snobette: I know COVID shut downs created something of a renaissance for graffiti artists. What’s your view on how that played out in New York?
Claw Money: “Well since the cops weren’t doing their jobs it made for an exciting incubator of street bombing. While the cats away the mice will play and I’m here for it! Lots of political graffiti and people experimenting. Good shit.”
Snobette: Your Extra Butter pop-up includes a display of your 2007 Nike Blazer and Vandal sneakers. What was it like working with Nike back then? From a graphic perspective, the brand gave you a ton of artistic freedom. Did you have to push for that?
Claw Money: “Those babies have been in a box for 14 years are ready to stretch their toes! They are also for sale! Working with Nike was great. Of course I wanted to design my own silhouette which I found out quickly wasn’t going to happen.”
“I don’t think picking colorways is really designing as an artist so I wanted to go off with textiles. Both sneakers have a 3M element legitimately leading the pack with that application. Since it was Nike’s first ever foray into women’s for tier zero, I really wanted to bring it for the girls since this was for them.”
Snobette: Taking it way back to the early ’90s when you first started out, what was the location of the very first Claw tag as we know it today?
Claw Money: “It was 1988, I think on Riverside Drive. I have a pic of it somewhere. Very toy with a huge curlicue on the end of the W.”
Snobette: How has the Claw tag evolved over the years?
Claw Money: “It really hasn’t. I still tag my name the same way I did, but I now have over 30 years of muscle memory so it’s pretty effortless.”
“The thing about the Claw (really the throw up) that has evolved is it’s meaning. It used to be part of my identity but now it belongs to many different causes and locales. The Claw wasn’t meant to be interpretive but now that’s my mission. It should represent what the viewer sees and be a fluid icon for all that are attracted to it.”
Snobette: As we begin to emerge from travel restrictions, are there indications museums and galleries are starting to get back on track with in-person events?
Claw Money: “I certainly hope so–been in the house for too long. I hope this vaccine does the trick and we can all get back on track with our lives. The quarantine has been incredibly hard on women, especially mothers. I’ve read article after article about it. Set us free!”
Snobette: Gallery events aside, are you ready to travel and move around more or have you enjoyed some aspects of a less social life?
Claw Money: “I haven’t been traveling all that much since becoming a mother 10 years ago. I need to stick close to home for the most part but being forced to stay home and having to literally turn into a pioneer woman, cooking three meals a day, constantly cleaning, teaching school and tending to the animals, all the while juggling my very intense and demanding job has been a lot. I’m ready for some me time whether it’s in an exotic hotel or on my couch, bring it!
“I have a big art exhibition in Shanghai this fall, but I bet I will miss it in person. I think travelling might be in the far off distant future as we are also planning for Claw Money’s 20th anniversary in 2022 and it’s a massive program, mostly here in NYC so stay tuned!”