The first time I remember seeing or knowing Claw Money — aka Claudia Gold — was at Stretch Armstrong and Bobbito’s famous shows at Columbia University. It was all hip hop guys… and her. To be honest, it was like a really weird “guy” vibe in those early days of the scene. You’d have Stretch and Bobbito and everyone else was trying to figure out where they fit. Whenever rappers came in, all of a sudden you had everyone standing around trying to look hard.
Then there was Claudia, showing up like “Helllllo!” — this Tasmanian devil of feminine wiles and razor-edged jokes. In the video you see, we were just running the school halls and she decided we’d all go write tags. That was her energy: She says, “We’re all going to do this thing and it’ll be cool” and we all do it. A force of nature.
Graffiti-wise, she made her name by hanging out with older writers, really legendary people. She wasn’t good at first — no one is when they’re just getting started — but she gravitated to that world and in time she was accepted into it fully. Truth be told, it’s hard to start writing graffiti. You have to pay your dues and get known. You have to put in work too, either tagging everywhere or creating really noteworthy pieces.
Claw embraced all of it. Then, once she figured out to do the claw paw, she came into her own. Suddenly, she didn’t have to be compared to other people. She “differentiation strategy’d” herself to being a singular concept. An emoticon before that term was a thing. She was the claw.