Hearts: such an archetypal, timeless, classic image.
I have often felt a bit ambivalent about hearts, although I've always had a bit of a soft spot for the anatomical hearts and on hearts on fire on milagros and the like.
Recently, however, a wonderful customer asked if I would do a hearts design. Since I always just do natural images---veggies, fruit, flowers, and animals---it had never occurred to me to attempt a more conceptual project. But when I remembered all of Jim Dine's magnificent hearts from the late 1960s and early 1970s, I got really inspired. Of course I knew I had to include an homage to anatomical and a milagro heart---that's the heart on fire. And then the rest was just a joyous play with color.
Where did this iconic symbol start? Many theories connect the image with various plants, including ivy which is an ancient symbol of faithfulness. However, it seems mostly like to have started with basic sketches by medieval doctors and scientists, which got picked up by the medieval courtly love fervor and it took off from there, especially in the Renaissance.
Of course it took off in 1977 when Milton Glaser created his stunningly simple and brilliant "I ❤️ NY" logo.