It is funny, as one of the things I’ve learned so far in 2019 is that when I think I don’t have time to finish something, as I’ve been juggling a few different things, and preparing for a writer’s residency, that I usually, in fact, end up doing more. So, this year I continue my annual Valentine’s Day cards, but also did one for the cover of the February issue of The Sound.
I offer the blurb from the inside cover of this month’s issue, which offers some background on this decades long project of creating and sharing Valentines so people can either enjoy them, or share them with others. Pick up a copy of this month’s The Sound (there’s a number of excellent articles by our regular contributors), and here’s my words about the Valentines I disperse each year: “In 2002, I exhibited at the Mendel Art Gallery and the cover image was one of many I created for that (all printed 4′ by 4′, rich and glossy); the series was titled “love.” I scanned fresh hearts from a local pork slaughterhouse, at high resolutions and then manipulated them into patterns and motifs that were floral and decorative: I’ve described these hearts as inappropriately beautiful, as viewers would be drawn to them, then repulsed, somewhat, when seeing the titles revealing their creation (such as eightfreshhearts, as the cover image is named. Oh, and those faint bloody trails making ‘heart’ shapes are natural, not digital).
Since then, I’ve had an annual tradition of making Valentine’s Day cards, and sharing these with friends (amusingly, several of my female friends who are married comment that I am their most reliable ‘valentine’). Sometimes I incorporate the words of Neruda, or Cohen, or others. But it all began with Gaiman‘s Rose Walker: “Have you ever been in love? Horrible, isn’t it? It makes you so vulnerable. It opens your chest and it opens up your heart and it means that someone can get inside you and mess you up. You build up all these defences. You build up this whole armour, for years, so nothing can hurt you, then one stupid person, no different from any other stupid person, wanders into your stupid life… You give them a piece of you. They don’t ask for it. They do something dumb one day like kiss you, or smile at you, and then your life isn’t your own anymore. Love takes hostages. It gets inside you. It eats you out and leaves you crying in the darkness…It hurts. Not just in the imagination. Not just in the mind. It’s a soul-hurt, a body-hurt, a real gets-inside-you-and-rips-you-apart pain. Nothing should be able to do that. Especially not love. I hate love.”
Your intrepid #artcriticfromhell wishes you a HVD, whatever that means, and again offers these valentines I’ve created over the past few years to any and all who’d like to share them (‘this one goes out to the one I love’) as you see fit.