We know how it is. Maybe the fog has rolled in on your relationship. Or maybe you’ve had you eye on that special someone but, like the coin-op binoculars at the Cliff House, it never seems to come into focus. Or maybe your chances of a successful second date seem as backed-up and slow-moving as the approach to the Bay Bridge.
Fellow lovelorn Bay Area residents, we are here for you! Each year, KQED Arts commissions Bay Area-themed valentines from local artists and, just like a Buster Posey home run, they’ve hit it out of the park again.
Of course, these valentines work for happy couples too — those canoodling in the balcony of the Castro Theater, or strolling hand-in-hand through the de Young — or, really, just about anyone. Feel free to send, text, post or share these far and wide, across the 12 Galaxies, with the special people in your life.
First up is Mikalya Butchart, whose earthquake valentine gets an 8.6 on the Richter scale. Butchart, a designer and illustrator born and raised in Santa Rosa, recently raised over $20,000 for fire relief with her popular rose-themed “rose-ilience” design. See more of her work here.
San Francisco artist Sarah Thibault immediately claimed a phrase related to Bernal Heights, site of many a romantic hike and home to one of the best views of her city. (Remember when someone dragged a piano up there?) Thibault has exhibited her work at BAM/PFA, Interface Gallery, City Limits and more. See more of her work here.
Alyssa Block takes her Valentine inspiration this year from those little cable cars that climb halfway to the stars. Living in San Francisco, Block’s illustrations find their way onto books, drawings, sculptures, and designed objects. See more of her work here.
Oakland artist Janelle Hessig is one of our favorite cartoonists in the world — of course, we’re a bit biased, since she works with us at KQED. But we also knew she’d tackle her Valentine with trademark humor, and, well, who else could take an engineering debacle and turn it into a romantic overture? See more of her work here.
Oakland artist Spencer Hicks gives us a valentine you won’t find at the Hallmark store — a tribute to one of the best only-in-San-Francisco events, the Folsom Street Fair. What’s Valentine’s Day, after all, if not a celebration of the ties that bind? Hicks is the author of several mini-comics; see more of his work here.
Finally there’s Oakland illustrator Nanosaur, who takes us to Alamo Square and the opening scene of our favorite San Francisco sitcom. An artist who as a teenager once ran into Mac Dre with his dad at a car show, Nanosaur is also a producer, DJ, and Bob’s Burgers fan; find him on Instagram here.