editorial, motion graphics

Valve Notes

(Excerpts From An Internal Dialogue / Manifesto on Approaching a Valentine’s Day Spot)

So you want to create a Valentine’s Day greeting, a Public Service Announcement Deluxe. There are clichés to sidestep in penetrating the “heart of the matter”, so to speak. Perhaps a little investigation will help to erode these: first order of the day, is the question, how did we get from this:

to this?

Not that I mind the now-familiar icon, it’s pleasing and curvy—and one has to consider the cool iterations over the centuries:


Evidence of torture, no wonder it shed contours. What happens when  we rid ourselves of the emoticon baggage and  bring back the human organ?



Who is St. Valentine and why the brouhaha? As it turns out there were at least 14 of them! One in particular died on the 14th of February, but no one really recalls what he was sainted for, or in fact if this feast day is really in his honour. In this respect he is better than Santa, but worse.

Moving on…

  Is our sacred heart  a bloody one?Or is it a heart of glass? I’m not big on viscera, so I’m on board with the crystalline proposition. The shaman boys and girls like to prescribe pink quartz crystal for the etheric heart and it’s physical counterpart.Crystalline structures are a marvel: hold one up in the light— at the right angle, and a rose quartz crystal is the first blush of dawn…I’d like to refer to this as “The Human Valve.” To invoke function. I know, I know, it’s not really a valve, it’s a pump, a generator, ye olde ticker… But the heart is also a regulator for our emotional and physical well-being.Besides, I like the proliferation of V’s—V is for Valentine, Vivacity, Victory, Vespertine, Vermillion, and Versace. V is for “Valve-entine”. 

Having tackled form, whither content? What is this very special Valentine’s message? Wouldn’t it be lovely to peddle some self-awareness: follow your own beat, listen to your own valve— or listen for it…  Rediscover it, find it.  Shape the metaphor into contemplation triggers.

Hearts and Flowers. Shall we explore that cliché, flowers?

Why, yes! Especially since Genet springs to mind, Our Lady of the Flowers:

“She preens herself, ruffles her feathers, and in the midst of all our gestures, she thinks she is tossing, strewing them about her, petals of roses, rhodendra and peonies, as in the village, little girls strew them along the paths of the Corpus Christi…”

Still from ‘Querelle’


Maybe not that Genet, but definitely throw in some St. Genet. He comes with his own patina—evidenced in films like Rainer Fassbinder’s Querelle,  Todd Hayne’s Poison and even The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant (not Genet, but one gets the sense Fassbinder had him on the brain). It’s a feeling: dreamy, but lucid, and edgy.

Process of course is everything. In my undertaking, I painstakingly stencil out dozens of flowers in photoshop, and find myself drawn to the potential sea-critter-ness of chrysanthemums. Something groovy and psychedelic about their tendrils. The notion of using Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds arises. I listen to to the track over and over, I like it, but hate the idea of using something so laden with association. At this point, two realizations come to the fore:

1) Too many ideas budding for just one spot. Time to split the zygote.

2) Not going for Romance, just Exuberance…

…as in “Exuberance is Beauty” — William Blake, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell. Hmmm, a soupçon of Blake ?  Is there not enough going on? Maybe just the “exuberance extract” will do.

But Blake! He makes me think  of Huxley— The Doors of Perception. The Doors. Music? Not the right sonic texture. Reaching for ethereal. Pink Floyd– Dark Side of the Moon. Wait. Easy Star All Stars— Dub Side of the Moon. Perfect.  Ha ha. No one will see that one coming…


Exhibit #1: The Human Valve

Dreamy, lucid and edgy + Psychedelic Chrysanthemums + Rose quartz crystal blush. Contemplative. A track from Broadcast (and The Focus Group) wins out over the Beatles, evocative, yet unfamiliar…


Exhibit #2: The Human Valve II
Dreamy and exuberant with a hint of romance! Bittersweet Genet, rounded off with a descent into a dub version of a Pink Floyd classic. Equal parts nostalgia, exhilaration, and the unexpected. If this were a perfume, I’d wear it.

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