"Whether he is an artist or not, the photographer is a joyous sensualist, for the simple reason that the eye traffics in feeling, not in thoughts."
In the spring of 2004, the city of San Francisco had a lot of heart. Well, they still do, but it was during that spring and summer that the city held an awesome public arts program called, appropriately, "Hearts In San Francisco." Similar to Chicago's art project, "Cows On Parade," The San Francisco project used the city's almost signature icon, the heart, to symbolize the acceptance, tolerance and open-heartedness that it is famous for. The hearts were eventually placed in various locations around the Bay Area. They were installed on street corners, plazas, and parks. Over 130 up and coming artists designed and hand painted the hearts, including singer Tony Bennett, who created the one in the above photo, which now sits permanently in Union Square.
The hearts remained on display through October of 2004, then in November some of the hearts were auctioned off, with the proceeds going to San Francisco General Hospital Medical Center, for the enhancement of patient care. The original goal of the project was to raise $1 Million for the hospital, by February of 2005, the project had earned over $2 Million for funding from additional both online and one held at SBC Park. A limited edition book about the project was also made avail for purchase, and also benefited the hospital.
As you know by now, hunting down public art and photographing it is a great passion of mine. It began last year, when I drove to Santa Rosa to photograph the awesome display of Charlie Brown sculptures that dotted the town throughout the summer. Like the hearts, the Charlie Brown sculptures were eventually auctioned off for charity. And the tradition continues. As of last Monday, the town of Santa Rosa is again decorated with sculptures of a beloved Peanuts icon. This year Woodstock will be placed at different locations, around town. That is where I am off to tomorrow... Santa Rosa. I am spending the day photographing as many of the pretty yellow birds as possible, and I also hope to be able to photograph some other awesome public art displays as well. Santa Rosa is a art lovers paradise. It inspires me every time I visit there. Ahhhhh... "Life is good."
-OndineMonet "Tony's Heart" Union Square San Francisco May 27, 2006 Afternoon