The Gallery You Wear: Art History Inspired Tattoos

The Kiss by Gustav Klimt

The Kiss by Gustav Klimt Tattoo: Rita “Rit Kit” Zolotukhina

Great works of art are timeless, transcending the artists who created them. Sometimes stepping in a museum to view them simply isn’t enough. These art history inspired tattoos prove that for some, canvasing the art – embedding it into flesh, was their passion made tangible.

Each tattoo finds me putting much thought into what the significance is for the wearer; wanting to connect with them on culturally personal level. I’ve never been one for tattoos, but after seeing how these art lovers infused their world with beauty and cultural history, I might just be a believer yet.

Art History Inspired Tattoos_Rothko

Rothko Tattoo: Jamie Luna

Bicycle Wheel by Marcel Duchamp

Bicycle Wheel by Marcel Duchamp Tattoo: Lucas Cordeiro

The Great Wave off Kanagawa by Hokusai

The Great Wave off Kanagawa by Hokusai Tattoo: Oozy

Jackson Pollock

Jackson Pollock Tattoo: Anton Senkov

Vincent Van Gogh's "Night Cafe"

Vincent Van Gogh’s “Night Cafe” Tattoo:99Tattoo Design

Starry Night by Van Gogh

Starry Night by Van Gogh Tattoo: Bob Price

Water Serpents I and II by Gustav Klimt

Water Serpents I and II by Gustav Klimt
Tattoo: Amanda Wachob

Picasso (left) and Matisse (right)

Picasso (left) and Matisse (right) Photo credit: Cristina Folsom

Keith Harring

Keith Harring Tattoo: Megan Oliver

Banana by Andy Warhol

Banana by Andy Warhol Photo source: Postmodernism Ruined Me

Roy Lichtenstein

Roy Lichtenstein Tattoo: Deanna Wardin

Via [My Modern Met]

UK artist D*Face pierces with his latest art installation

Protected: JUSTKIDS presents UK Artist D*Face massive public art installation in Arkansas

Inspired by the unjust struggle the Native Americans experienced during what’s known as ‘The Trail of Tears‘, UK artist D*Face conceived of two correlated public art installations located in Fort Smith, Arkansas.  The projects are sponsored by the creative arts house, JUSTKIDS and local non-profit 64.6 Downtown.

–>Side note: JUSTKIDS is this great network of curators, artists, designers and art consultants that creates international art events. JUSTKIDS & 64.6 Downtown (an organization committed to the revitalization of downtown Fort Smith) run a program called UNEXPECTED.  The UNEXPECTED brings urban contemporary art to Arkansas – curated by JustKids. Ok, back to the story…

A large-scale symbolic mural, “War Paint” revives the sordid past that once took place here in Arkansas; with a simple and clever union of an arrow and a paintbrush, D*Face’s mural confronts the past and propels into the future by hitting the bull in the eye and the bad lands in the heart.

One of 19 murals on the city walls of Fort Smith Arkansas. #muralart #fortsmitharkansas #fortsmith #wallart

A photo posted by Beth Hall (@bethflapjack) on

After working on the wall D*Face chose to work on the ground for his massive arrows installation. The aim is to point the past a new direction with the pairing of a massive public sculpture made of five 40 foot long wooden arrows that each weigh more than 1,000 pounds, located now in downtown Fort Smith.

“Its like a two part mural/installation. The idea is to connect a wall to something sculptural. Which I have never done before and I am quite excited about it” explained D*Face while working on site.

Protected: JUSTKIDS presents UK Artist D*Face massive public art installation in Arkansas

Protected: JUSTKIDS presents UK Artist D*Face massive public art installation in Arkansas

Protected: JUSTKIDS presents UK Artist D*Face massive public art installation in Arkansas

Protected: JUSTKIDS presents UK Artist D*Face massive public art installation in Arkansas

Protected: JUSTKIDS presents UK Artist D*Face massive public art installation in Arkansas

Reloading himself with the native weapon of the Choctaw Nation – the  Oklahoma based tribe underwrote the installation and also gave the artist advice and historical context to create his design – D*Face’s public sculpture aims, shoots and hits, from the wall to the sky, from the sky to the ground. These five immense wooden arrows are now rooted in downtown Fort Smith, Arkansas, a land rich in mystery of a conflicted (yet somehow) iconic past that never seems to exhaust itself of symbolic references, the Old West, and where its legends inspire to rise above.

Artist DFace art installation arkansas

Artist DFace art installation arkansas

Artist DFace art installation arkansas


JUSTKIDS: D*Face at Unexpected 2016 from Justkids on Vimeo.

For more visit:, Instagram, Facebook

Photo Credit: Zane Cash, Raymesh Cintron

Anish Kapoor responds to being banned from buying the ‘Worlds Pinkest Pink’

Gosh, I love a good art world brawl.  What could be more hilarious than artists fighting over colors?  It’s a Far Side cartoon waiting to happen.

This one is like watching a child play happily with a toy until he spots another kid across the room with a better version.  He looks down at the toy in his hand with disappointment, discarding it as we walks across the room to point and cry at the newer toy, screaming it isn’t’ fair.

It’s all a bit like the whole “Anish Kapoor bought the exclusive rights to the blackest black pigment in the world and won’t let us have any!” rant.

Here’s the story:

Back in 2014, Indian-born British artist Anish Kapoor acquired exclusive rights to the revolutionary ‘Vantablack’ pigment, said to be the blackest shade of black ever created.  The pigment is developed by tech company Nanosystems. It’s capable of absorbing 99.96 percent of light and until Kapoor got his hands on it, it was only available to the British military and for use in telescope technology.

Kapoor briefly explained its distinctive properties on BBC Radio 4.

“It’s effectively like a paint, it’s so black you almost can’t see it,” he said. “It has a kind of unreal quality and I’ve always been drawn to rather exotic materials because of what they make you feel.”

Well, that kicked off the tantrums from certain artists including English painter Christian Furr – who told the Mail on Sunday that he felt Kapoor was “monopolizing the material… I’ve never heard of an artist monopolizing a material. Using pure black in an artwork grounds it,” he said. “All the best artists have had a thing for pure black – Turner, Manet, Goya. This black is like dynamite in the art world. We should be able to use it – it isn’t right that it belongs to one man,” he added.

So in retaliation, British artist Stuart Semple created what he claims is the “pinkest pink” paint on the market and tried to ban Anish Kapoor from buying it.  Literally, it’s impossible to overlook the asterisked legal declaration you’re essentially agreeing to, if you purchase the pigment on Semple’s website.

*Note: By adding this product to your cart you confirm that you are not Anish Kapoor, you are in no way affiliated to Anish Kapoor, you are not purchasing this item on behalf of Anish Kapoor or an associate of Anish Kapoor. To the best of your knowledge, information and belief this paint will not make it’s way into that hands of Anish Kapoor. 

Semple wants Kapoor to learn to share, so he sets out to make an example by not sharing.  The lesson seems a  bit counter-productive to me. Semple put out a call to find out how he stole the color, though we read that Kapoor simply walked into a store and bought the pigment over-the-counter. Isn’t that the rub?!

No matter how Kapoor procured the pigment, there’s no debating the IG picture he posted of his middle finger dipped in Semple’s pink paint with the caption “Up yours #pink” is kind of funny.

Up yours #pink

A photo posted by Anish Kapoor (@dirty_corner) on

Writer and visual artist, Sanjeev Khandekar, who recently delivered a lecture on the patenting of colors had this to say over the phenomenon…“What Anish has done is exactly the opposite of what artists around the world are trying to do — to have an open access to general intellect. The art world is also a part of the society and today more than aesthetics, art is driven by the market, so there is competition. Artists are bloated with ego and often end up making fools of themselves.”.


[via Dezeen & Artlyst]

Our Top 5 Art Installations of 2016

You hit the end of the year and start prepping for new exhibitions and suddenly your IG stream starts reminding you of all the amazing installations that you experienced just months ago.  We spend a lot of time posting the art we see on the street, in our neighborhoods.  Sometimes we don’t get around to posting all the wonderful art we saw within the walls of art institutions.  So before we step into 2017 we’re going to take this opportunity to reminisce and share what we loved.  Sigh. 2016, you were a very good year – at least for art.


5. Museum of Ice Cream

This was the hottest ticket of the summer. People coordinated their outfits to match the pastel décor and apparently broke their necks trying to get a shot of musician Usher lounging in the rainbow pool of sprinkles. The interactive ice cream-centric experience also included edible balloons, a chocolate room and plenty of selfie ready goodies that live on under #museumoficecream.

The inaugural iteration of the museum in New York has everyone clamoring for the next one. Well the word is out, the next incarnation of the museum will be in D.C. summer of 2017.

#TBT to sprinkle pool heaven and an our NYC instagramable wonderland (: @businessinsider) #museumoficecream

A photo posted by MUSEUM OF ICE CREAM (@museumoficecream) on

A photo posted by CamiCam5 (@camille_uriv) on


4. Classic Arcade Games at Museum of the Moving Image

When museums started acquiring video games for their collections there was finally an acknowledgement that video games use images, actions, and player participation to tell stories and engage their audience in the same way as film, animation, and performance. These influential forms of narrative art get their due now under the label ‘artistic mediums’.

The Museum of the Moving Image dug into their archives and pulled out over 30 original games putting on a interactive exhibition that explored the evolution of the video game in the way the gamer gods intended, in dim lighted rooms under the glow of screens and token machines.

So this happened today! Lost my mind at the Arcade Classics Exhibit at the Museum of the Moving Image. There were audible heart palpitations as I put my money in the vintage ( can’t believe I just called my childhood vintage) token machine. I recorded the sound the tokens made as they fell into the well. 30 classic arcade games lie in wait (donkey kong, mortal kombat, ms pacman, frogger, pole position, to name a few) in a dark room, devoid of sun, just like its supposed to be . I’m sure I frothed from the mouth in front of asteroids. So forgive the next onslaught of videos and pics – this is what geeking out is. Guys, the exhibit is up until the 30th of Oct. You really should go. #museumofthemovingimage #arcadeclassics #videogames #tron #tokens #design #binarycode #arcade

A photo posted by HAHA MAG (@hahamag) on

more here.


3. Guillermo del Toro: At Home with Monsters at LACMA

LACMA’s exhibition revealed the filmmaker’s creative process through his visually stunning collection of paintings, drawings, artifacts, and concept film art. The exhibition was organized thematically, beginning with visions of death and the afterlife; continuing through explorations of magic, occultism, horror, and monsters; and concluding with representations of innocence and redemption. No shortage of visitors for this one.

A photo posted by Karen Beltran (@karenxbell) on


2. OSGEMEOS ‘Silence of the Music ‘ at Lehmann Maupin

Twin brothers Gustavo and Otavio Pandolfo, known as the Brazilian artist duo ‘OSGEMEOS’ had their first New York solo show at the Lehmann Maupin gallery.  They transformed multiple rooms into an immersive installation of drawing, painting, collage, mixed media sculpture, and kinetic and audio elements that often combined the colors, sights and sounds from the streets of Brazil fused with the graffiti and breakdancing scene of the 80’s.  The rooms took on an energy that expounded on the feels you get when stumbling onto their brilliant work in the neighborhood.

OSGEMEOS 'Silence of the Music ' at Lehmann Maupin

Osgemeos exhibit


1. International Pop at Philadelphia Museum of Art

International Pop highlighted influential artists from twenty different countries, this show was ambitious, to say the least, with 150 works, including paintings, sculptures, prints, collage, assemblage, installation, film, and ephemera. The exhibition chronicled Pop art’s emergence as an international movement, exploring its take on politics, mass media and consumerism from the UK and the US to western and eastern Europe, Latin America, and Japan.

What could be more POP then commercial brands & consumer goods emblazoned on canvas in insanely brilliant colors? American capitalism, commercial excess — artists like Tom Wesselmann (Still Life #35) were likening the consumption of brands to our appetite of the new ‘prevailing’ culture norms. You’ll find this massive beauty in the Distribution & Domesticity section of #InternationalPop at the @philamuseum. — International Pop runs from Wednesday, February 24, 2016 to May 15, 2016. Fun Facts: Wesselmann never like being attached to the American Pop Art movement. He stated that his work was not intended as social commentary, but that he merely made aesthetic use of everyday objects. Still Life #35 was painted in 1963, shortly after, he started painting a series of highly sexualized nudes that have become the highlights of his artistic career. #popart #philamuseumofart #tomwesselmann #presspreview #art #visitphilly #whyilovephilly #IGers_Philly

A photo posted by HAHA MAG (@hahamag) on

Best of 2016: Our Top 5 Public Art Installations

We saw so much great art during 2016 that we created two separate lists this year; Top Public Art Installations and a Top Art Exhibitions list.  It’s not the ‘be all and end all of lists’, just a grouping of exhibits and installs that lingered on for us well into the end of the year.  I wish we had the time to list all the installs that made us happy his year, but we didn’t.  Let’s face it, not everything makes the same impact on a person.  I’m sure there are plenty of other lists with great picks, that’s what makes end of the year lists so much fun – everyone’s got a different opinion of what constitutes ‘best of the rest’.

These are ours…


Honorable Mention

Yayoi Kusama Dots at Philip Johnson’s Glass House

Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama has dominated the dot world since the 1950’s. She continued her Infinity Room series during a residency at the iconic Glass House in Connecticut by sticking red polka dots all over its transparent walls. We couldn’t make it to the Glass House, but we sated ourselves by visiting her permanent ‘Infinity Dot Mirrored Room’ at the Mattress Factory.

Next up…

Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.

5. The Guardians

Vladimir Antaki’s award-winning photo series ‘The Guardians’ is sourced from his travels. Antaki photographs devoted shop keepers inside their mecca’s as a way to document and pay tribute to the guardians of urban temples we encounter on a daily basis without really noticing. His portraits capture a moment that encapsulates their dedication. This year, two cities paid tribute to his Guardians – his work was installed on the streets of Philadelphia and during the Nuit Blanche Arts Festival in Toronto.



4. That Time JR Made the Pyramid at the Louvre Disappear

French street artist, JR, was invited by the Louvre museum to wrap their world-famous glass pyramid with one of his monumental anamorphic images. The project steamrolled that old commentary of fear that Pei’s design would somehow violate the museum’s historical integrity.

more on the story here.


3. Waterfall by Olafur Eliasson

Artist/Designer Eliasson is known for his large-scale installations that explore perception and environmental issues. Reminiscent of the 2008 waterfalls that appeared underneath major bridges in New York City, Eliasson amazed the crowds again as a towering waterfall appeared to fall from midair into the Grand Canal at the Palace of Versailles. It cascaded from high above the surface appearing as a torrent of water of with no discernible source when viewed from the front steps of the palace. The gushing water concealed a latticed tower helping pump water through a system of pipes, which become apparent to audiences as they viewed the installation from its sides.


2. Biancoshock Hides Miniature Underground Rooms Inside Manholes in Milan

His 2016 art installation “Borderlife” was his call to a bigger awareness. He transformed 3 vacant subterranean maintenance vaults into miniature underground rooms in the Lodi district of Milan. It points a finger toward a hidden reality that most remain unaware of; the living conditions of those forced to occupy confined spaces – with a focus on those who live underground, behind manholes.

more on the story here.


1. Creative Time Presents Duke Riley’s “Fly By Night”

The summer nights were enhanced with Creative Times‘ present, Duke Riley’s ‘Fly By Night’.  The performance sent 2,000 trained pigeons swirling into the air over the east river to music, illuminating the Brooklyn skyline with thousands of LED lights.  New York Times called the performances, “Mr. Riley’s valentine to the city, its historic shoreline, its oft-maligned spirit animal and the vanishing world of rooftop pigeon fanciers.”

Steffen Dam’s Cabinets of Curiosities

Steffen Dam

Danish artist, Steffen Dam’s grandfather, born in 1893, was a passionate amateur in the field of natural history.  As a child, Dam enjoyed pouring over his grandfather’s library of scientific books full of illustrations of specimens.

Today Dam, a highly skilled glass blower, uses his affinity for natural history to create his imaginatively wonderful backlit “Cabinets of Curiosities”.

Steffen Dam_HM_Art Miami

Mimicked oceanic specimens in glass cylinders seemingly containing liquid and air bubbles become optical illusions; the translucent character of the glass object in the cylinder imitates sea life. His specimens aren’t actually objects found in nature, rather a quirky re-writing of the biological world.

“I have been working with glass for 25 years. Initially I was blowing glass, but over the years casting, grinding and techniques from other crafts emerged. My aim is to describe the world as I see it. One could also say to describe what’s not tangible and understandable with our everyday senses. My cylinders contain nothing that exists in the ocean, my specimens are plausible but not from this world, my plants are only to be found in my compost heap, and my flowers are still unnamed.”



*photos taken by HAHA MAG

Zoe Buckman: Mostly It’s Just Uncomfortable


Mostly It’s Just Uncomfortable is part of Buckman’s response to the attack on Planned Parenthood in the United States, the consequent deprivation of access to free sexual health care for underserved women, as well as the attempted curtailing of a woman’s right to make choices concerning her own body.

Examining the cold and harsh material quality of gynecological instruments, Buckman finds a way of reversing her negative perception of these objects turning them into playful more tactile sculptural entities through the process of Powder Coating. This in-progress series of sculptures examines the physical discomfort women have to endure via these necessary and sometimes life-saving instruments. Also working with boxing iconography, Buckman has cast her own boxing gloves, hand wraps, and mouth guard in glass and metal, further marrying the stereotypically masculine to the feminine, and the fragile to the resilient. This dialogue between polarized materials is typical of Buckman’s work, yet the combat pieces speak to a new and more confrontational discourse in the artist’s process.*




What’s Going On: Buckman is fresh off the latest group exhibitions “Off the Wall – For Freedoms”, at the Monique Meloche Gallery in Chicago, IL.

Next Up: Harlem Postcards Fall/Winter 2016-2017, The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, NY
•SoundScape Park Evening Film Program 2016, Art Basel Miami Beach, Miami, FL
•PULSE will also present the following works as part of the PROJECTS program: Zoe Buckman’s Champ, 2016, a neon work created in response to the attack on Planned Parenthood in the United States, the consequent deprivation of access to free sexual health care for underserved women, and the attempted curtailing of a woman’s right to make choices concerning her own body.

*statement from artist website


Floral Cross-Stitch Street Installations Hit Spain


cross-stitch-3 cross-stitch-art-by-raquel-rodrigo-15-1020x610Floral Cross-Stitch Street Installations spreading across Spain in cities like Madrid and Valencia, have been freed from the confines of the hoop by set designer & artist Raquel Rodrigo  who owns a specialized street-art marketing agency (Arquiscostura) working for large brands to impact people in the most important cities in the real world as well as press & publications in most important online portals.

Her multi-colored cords dash in and out of wire mesh leaving pixel heavy imagery of flowers that can be easily affixed to forgotten surfaces calling attention buildings or businesses that need a little extra love.




Via This is Colossal

Images via Arquicostura

Watch It: Sky Ladder: The Art of Cai Guo-Qiang



Chinese artist Cai Guo-Qiang challenges the confines of the art world with boundary pushing questions that materialize as blazing temporary art that leave behind seeds of dreaming in waking moments of colorful smoke.  He is best-known to the general public for the spectacular fireworks show during the 2008 Beijing Olympics Opening Ceremony.  In the contemporary art world, his explosive works gunpowder works are memorable, as massive gunpowder laced sculptures ignite and flicker as if they were the pulse of his imagination burning free.

On June 15, 2015 Guo-Qiang’s piece, Sky Ladder became the largest single installation ever commissioned.  A huge white balloon filled with 6,200 cubic meters of helium was attached to a 500-meter long ladder coated completely with quick burning fuses and gold fireworks.  As it ascended into the heavens above Huiyu Island Harbor, in Quanzhou, China, it burned brightly into the early morning for 2 minutes and 30 seconds. 

This was Guo-Qiang’s fourth attempt to realize the performance. Previous attempts in Bath (1994), Shanghai (2001), and in Los Angeles (2012), were stymied.

Netflix has released a documentary film detailing Guo-Qiang’s ground breaking artistic efforts to symbolically connect the earth to the universe with Sky Ladder; all captured by Oscar-winning filmmaker Kevin Macdonald (One Day In September, The Last King Of Scotland).  Sky Ladder: The Art of Cai Guo-Qiang takes you behind the scenes of the largest single installation ever commissioned. 


Read Our Previous Articles on Qiang:



Nicomi Nix Turner: Writhing & Withering @ Paradigm Gallery


Nicomi Nix Turner’s latest solo exhibition, Writhing & Withering, just opened at Paradigm Gallery + Studio

Turner is usually recognized for her intricately detailed black-and-white graphite illustrations that evoke surreal understandings of the connections between nature, alchemy, mythology, decay and birth.  Here’s a little peek into her latest collection where she tackles a new technique—finishing her works using beeswax, resin, and oil medium that gives the work a dreamy, otherworldly feel.

In her artist statement for Writhing & Withering, she explains, “Fruit plays the protagonist consumed by both the fearless and ignorant alike.”  Fleshing out tangible realms for her protagonists to flourish in is where Turner’s work turns gorgeously dark and romantic.  In her imaginative places, conjuring desire is left out to rot, worn in defiance, caught sweetly passing the lips and, left dangling from mouths in the midst of subtle revelations.  The works feast on the symbolic devices Turner has carried throughout earlier works – an offering sacrifice for renewal.


In this realm, “the consumption of fruit leaves mortality withering – holds the eater writhing in hallucinatory suspension.

It recalls me to scenes out of Christina Rossetti’s poem, “Goblin Market”, where fruit is also the protagonist.  The young character Laura, eats the goblins’ fruits and grows older afterwards, but it isn’t by learning and getting wiser.  Laura has eaten the fruit and now she knows its taste, but it damages her in a way. Her craving for the fruit becomes like that of an addict, she writhes as her inability to be satisfied causes her to become completely debilitated.

“I ate my fill, yet my mouth waters still”, Rossetti’s Laura, says desperately and listlessly to her sister – who ultimately becomes her savior.  The problem with the fruit in “Goblin Market” is expressed by Laura herself: “Who knows upon what soil they fed their hungry thirsty roots?” The distinction between good and evil blurs when the juices of the fruit also become what sustains Laura in the end …to take and to give.


Turner, in turn, explores the cultural and ideological meanings of fruit in celebration of nature and abundance while acknowledging its darker side.


As you walk around the gallery during her latest solo show at Paradigm Gallery + Studio in Philadelphia, the eyes of the women she has drawn into existence hold your gaze with their eyes, boldly defying you to write another ending for them.

The show’s strength is due in part to the her connection with these women. She knows who they are. The realness of their lives are validated in the details: the wisps of hair that halo about their heads, the crazy pattern work that adorns their clothes, the eyes that take you on explorations of women whose mysteries you want to know.

If their stories still elude you, Turner has evoked her tale into tangible grabs as three-dimensional sculpts of striped fruits grow outside the canvas and further your descent into her story.

“Writhing & Withering” uses devices that carry weight regardless of its subjects’ innate gifts or abilities, all while securing us, the viewer, in a visual inability to be sated.






†a version of this article was first published on the Paradigm Gallery + Studio  website


“Writhing & Withering” works by Nicomi Nix Turner
November 18, 2016 – January 7, 2017

Opening Reception
Friday, November 18th • 5:30pm – 10:00pm

Closing Reception
Friday, December 16th • 5:30pm – 10:00pm

Paradigm Gallery + Studio / 746 S. 4th Street, 1st Floor / Philadelphia, PA 19147

Social Media
Instagram: @_fernbeds_
Twitter: @fernbeds



James Franco’s weird new performance art video, entitled “James Franco reimagined the Della Robbia,” is a  four-minute goo-drenched ode to renaissance sculpture, where people posed as sculptures, are doused in dripping clear gloss. 

Franco released the video in response to Italian Renaissance ceramics as a part of Sotheby’s Artist Response series for their show, Glazed: The Legacy of the Della Robbia.  For it, Franco reimagined the works of famous Italian Renaissance artist family, the Della Robbia, to create living icons.

Franco said: “For centuries, sculpture has been used decoratively and as iconography. The Della Robbia family created sculptures that take on both of those roles.”

“I was immediately struck by the vibrancy and shine of the glaze of the Della Robbia sculptures in this show, especially the human forms frozen in time as icons. To mimic and modernise these sculptures, I wanted to create living icons emphasising the glazing process,” he added. “I filmed them in slow motion so the viewer relishes in the passage of time and can imagine the tangible feeling of the liquid covering each living sculpture.

The show is on view at Sotheby’s New York through November 18th.


via [PAPER]

The New Symbol of Mumbai is Giving us Feels


In it’s permanent placement at the Promenade at Bandra Reclamation

It’s India’s first typographic art installation to represent the city – perfect for a city marching into a vibrant cultural reclamation. Public art is thriving like never before in India and the new symbol of Mumbai is giving us real Milton Glaser (designer of the I heart NY logo) vibes; turning the heart into an iconic feeling of love for a destination.

The artist, Rocky, a type designer, found his inspiration in the perfect symmetry of the Devanagari letter लव (LA). “The form of the letter लव ‘LA” in Devanagari is such that deliberately if you join two terminals together, it becomes a heart with a shirorekha (top line in Devanagari script) …this powerful icon cuts across demographics and language barriers…This public installation is a monument of love dedicated by the citizens of Mumbai to the city as a mark of their undying love for each other. Love Mumbai and Mumbai will always love you back.”*

Rocky had been playing around with versions of this fun Hinglish script for a while. In 2010, he styled this photoshoot, using the Devanagari letter लव (LA) to mirror the coy n’ playful way of how love is depicted in Indian cinema (you know, Bollywood).


“The mood of the photo shoot and style was the clichéd image of how love is depicted in Indian cinema.”


Falling in love by a tree is a popular image in Bollywood films.


Oh it’s a thing.

He was finally able to translate this idea into a full scale installation for a collaboration with St+art India Foundation for the Kala Ghoda Arts Festival 2016.  It quickly became a media sensation prompting an online petition to make the installation a permanent part of the Mumbai landscape – a symbol to represent the city of Mumbai.  Now the installation sits at its permanent home, at the Bandra Reclamation.

How does Rocky feel about having his work becoming a new symbol for Mumbai?

“… I did this for the sake of art rather than money. Like Picasso said, “The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.” This is my small contribution to beautify the city and I would be happy if my design makes people happy and puts a smile on their faces.”



*Read the full interview with Rocky about the installation here.
Rocky: Website
via Kulture Shop