Valentines from SVA’s Marshall Arisman, Steven Heller, Debbie Millman, and More

February 12, 2013

Romantic, platonic, ironic, sarcastic or downright pornographic—there’s a Valentine greeting for any occasion. Lovers (and would-be lovers) have been professing their passion for That Certain Someone on Valentine’s Day since the1400s. Today we dispatch our sentiments in every conceivable form—flat, folded, 3D, multimedia and beyond.

We caught up with some members of the SVA community to find out how they’re expressing their Valentine’s Day voice this year.

“Though I loathe the obligatory festivities of most holidays,” says MPS Branding Department Chair Debbie Millman, “Valentine’s Day is my favorite holiday to make a card for!” This year’s creation, made from from felt fabric and felt letters, is called Heartfelt.

For years, MFA Illustration as Visual Essay Department Chair Marshall Arisman gave his wife a hand-drawn Valentine inspired by their “100-year-old cat and resident mystic,” Katmandu. This year’s tribute will be bittersweet, as Katmandu passed away only a few days ago. The Ocicat shared its space on the Upper West Side with them for almost a quarter of a century. “He was an old man, but self-sufficient, like most New Yorkers. When he jumped and didn’t make it, we pretended not to notice. “

MFA Design Department Co-chair Steven Heller hand-picked his cards at Fresh Frances Greetings and Gifts. “I appreciate any Valentine’s Day card that has a devil or other ghoul on it as an antidote to cherubs,” he says. “Remember, sweet things are unhealthy. This was for my son, who is indeed a handsome devil.”

“Okay, honey is sweet,” Heller admits. “But this card has more going for it. I like the fun type, even if it’s fake wood type. “

This image (by Terry Wha) is accompanied by words every girl wants to hear: “I would hold my farts for you.” Heller found the photo irresistible. “It’s love for certain. And the sentiments are from the (rhymes with . . .).”

SVA alumnus (MFA 2011 Fine Arts) and MFA Design Criticism Department program coordinator, Emily Weiner, can’t express her Valentine’s Day message in a mere card. It takes an event.  She recently transformed her Brooklyn Heights apartment into a salon for a one-night exhibition called Love, where artists were invited to contribute works based on “love and collaboration, in all of its permutations.” The show featured digital art, sculptural installations, and paintings, including these two by Benny Merris, mirroring one another in the hallway. “You had to walk between these strange twins like a portal to enter the main living room space.”

Last but not least—okay, it is kind of least—is the card that BFA Advertising and Design Department faculty member Paul Sahre does not send.  “I’m a non-card person,” he firmly claims. “Not for any reason, not even birthdays. Not even for my wife.”

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