Love is in the air? Alternative Valentine’s Day artworks

Love is in the air? Alternative Valentins Day artworks

Love is, of course, one of the major themes of art. Be it saccharine sentimentalism or a more sarcastic take, artists have created profound romantic depictions ever since we started making marks.

Whether it’s sensual masterpieces such as Rodin’s The Kiss, renaissance expressions of platonic ideals or Banksy’s Love is Calling (complete with a masked protester launching a bouquet of flowers) – there are many ways to present this most human of emotions. From the sensual to the sublime, provocative to the profound, there are artworks to match just about every romantic scenario.

At the Artmarket Gallery, we love an alternative artistic approach – so why not say it with art?

To mark Valentine’s Day this year, we’ve selected some of our favourite artworks celebrating love in truly unique ways. If you’re looking for an original way to show you care, here’s all the inspiration you need…

Frogs and fairy princes…

Tim Cotterill’s amorous amphibians are perfectly suited to the month of love. These cheeky little characters each have a unique personality of their own, inspired by the artist’s own love of frogs.

We’ve previously written about frogs in folklore and fine art, but frogs have actually long been associated with love. They are traditionally linked with fertility, potential, transformation and good luck. Chinese mythology particularly describes frogs as symbolic of anything you want to nurture or grow – well suited to new relationships or creative endeavours.

Tim Cotterill’s shimmering, jewel-hued patinas are always hand finished, meaning no two sculptures are ever the same. If you’re lucky this 14 February, maybe someone will be staring into your eyes as devotedly as the pair on Je T’aime. The two love-frogs have eyes only for each other! Or what about Love or Sidekick, presenting an utterly inseparable and loyal pair?

For a true romantic statement, confident Casanova presents a shining heart. Perhaps, like him, you might be hoping for the transformative power of true love’s kiss?

A perfect partnership…

When Stik began painting his simple but inescapably adorable figures, people instantly fell in love with them. Today, “stik-men” can be found on city walls all over the world, hidden in alleyways, adorning massive skyscrapers or popping up in parks.

Stik’s figures often come in pairs, championing love over hate and inclusivity over social barriers. As part of his artistic process, the artist has also created several limited edition series, notably Holding Hands. These artworks were originally published and distributed with the Hackney Today Newspaper in 2020, sent to residents in the borough.

The prints celebrated the permanent installation of a monumental bronze sculpture in Hoxton Square, gifted to the local community. Indeed, the piece was sold for a record-breaking £287,500 at Christie’s in October 2020. The money was returned to Hackney Council to fund outdoor art and artists celebrating the borough’s diverse communities.  

Depending on the angle you view Stik’s sculpture from, each figure appears to be leading the other – a subtle reminder to view the world from other people’s perspectives. Stik himself described the work as a “sign of universal love and solidarity”. What could be more fitting this Valentine’s Day?

Keeping things controversial…

If love hasn’t quite gone your way this year, Mr Controversial’s Leave me Alone (“…but also give me constant attention”) might be the perfect artwork for you!

As an artist that prides himself on his satirical, courageous and controversial artwork, Mr Controversial’s one-liners take inspiration from 1950s pulp fiction posters and book covers. His paintings are all finished with captivating, often comedic captions reflecting the modern age of dating.

Describing his art as a “combination of collage artist meets oil painter”, these artworks are the perfect juxtaposition of vintage cool and modern life. And we all know that opposites attract…

So whether it’s romantic declarations such as “In a room full of art, I’d still stare at you”, the humorous “You’re so full of s**t… I love it” or even “I don’t make mistakes… I date them”, there’s a Mr Controversial artwork for every romantic situation this Valentine’s…

Take an alternative approach…

There’s no single “right” approach to romance, and no artist demonstrates this better than the alternative King of Cool, JJ Adams. Beginning his artistic career as an aspiring tattooist, JJ Adams’ art consistently transforms the world’s most famous figures into grunged-up, inked icons.

His matching “Really Really Fu***** Love You” Minnie Mouse and Mickey Mouse prints come complete with the legendary cartoon characters brandishing dripping daggers and fluttering eyelashes. For those that are more Dracula than Disney, Frankly my Dear presents Gomez and Morticia Adams locked in a passionate embrace. Couple goals, anyone?

If your ideal date night is spent cuddling on the sofa, popcorn in hand and a classic film on the television, Come Here Lover Boy will appeal to all the Dirty Dancing aficionados. Both Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey have of course received the classic JJ Adams treatment, complete with full sleeve tattoos depicting famous movie scenes.

Say it with a bang…

Last but not least for Valentine’s inspiration, is Paul Oz. Known as Britain’s “explosive artist” – what better way to say “I love you” than with Paul Oz’s bottles of fizz?

It’s said that champagne has aphrodisiac qualities due to its unique mineral content. With a steady stream of delicate bubbles, it also hits the bloodstream more quickly than wine – producing that well-known “giddy fizz”.

Whether the aphrodisiac allure is fact or fiction, Champagne has certainly been used as a symbol of celebration for hundreds of years, iconic as the world’s most sought-after luxury good.

Whether your loved one prefers a classic Dom Pérignon, a Veuve Clicquot, refreshing Moët & Chandon or a lively Laurent Perrier, why not make the pleasure last with an original artwork?

The Artmarket Gallery is located in the beautiful village of Cottingham, East Yorkshire. Whether you’re searching for an original artwork for that special occasion or simply browsing our collection, we sell and display art from some of the world’s most celebrated artists, as well as rising talent. Get in touch today and let us help you find artworks you love – that truly enrich your life and your walls.
Back to blog