The heart; in Christian symbolism it generally refers to Jesus, in some areas it’s being associated with intelligence and wisdom, while virtually everywhere in the world it’s also, if not primarily, known as the symbol of love. All over the globe, the heart is one of the most commonly used emblems. From a very young age, children are well-acquainted with the significance of the stylised outlines and the bright red colour. I could obviously expand on this topic, but that’s not my aim here.
When it comes to street art, we find that artists are not what you’d call miserly when it comes to dispensing hearts in our inner cities. Sooner or later, you’ll always find one or two and at times even a dozen of them grouped together, like in Marseille. Jimmy C brightens up a London tunnel by creating a pattern of repeated heart icons, while geological wizard La Staa thought it’d be a good idea to squeeze our entire planet in the shape of a heart.
Not all representations are that sweet and genial though: the heart of Lora Zombie knows that it’s about to end up either twenty yards down the road or in pieces, Martin Whatson has a dripping heart painted over, in Leiden love is being professionally dismantled at the expense of money, Exit Enter’s little figure sees his love slip away from him while a ninja fighter in Lyon has been merciless testing out the sharpness of her swords on a defenseless ticker (Yes baby!).
From an artistic point of view, things get more interesting when artists choose to render the human heart realistically, i.e. depict the cardiac muscle including the arteries. These specimens are quite frequently found too. Alexis Diaz’s very detailed grey heart with an eye in the middle positioned against Elian’s colourful background is a fine example. So is the much smaller (and bloodier) variant by O’malley in Lyon, wherein, very subtly, a figure trying to maintain its balance has been embedded. Though the connotation of love is not lost in this type of work (‘please be kind’), we here deal first and foremost with that vital organ that’s keeping us alive. There’s one heart, by the way, that we don't get to see. Apparently it’s been stolen. At least, that’s what we have to conclude from the ‘X-ray’ made by Shok-1 (whose astonishing spray paint skills are absolutely second to none).
Everyone’s cordially invited to enjoy the hearty street art meal here below, even those who are allergic to sentimentalism and find this is nothing but corny subject matter.