NOT REAL ART Valentine’s Day Gift Guide: 10 Sweet Ideas For Your Significant Other
Just when you think you’re done with holiday shopping, Valentine’s Day arrives, smack dab in the middle of winter. Don’t panic yet; this year NOT REAL ART scoured the internet for romantic gifts that won’t break the bank.
Wondering where to begin in your gift selection? While traditional presents like chocolate or a bouquet of roses are a tried-and-true way to let that someone special know you care, why not pick something more unique this year? Choose from a selection of passionate prints, send a tongue-in-cheek enamel pin, or cozy up with a handmade pillow and book of poetry. Thanks to our curated collection of creative Valentine’s Day gifts, playing Cupid is easier than ever this year. Below, you’ll find inspired gifts for your romantic partner, a loved one, or even your best friend.
Start browsing below to discover the perfect gift for your parents, lover, or secret crush.
Hoping to reach a wide audience, Marc Alain uses universal symbols to express the joy he finds in nature. “I feel art and beauty is a right all people deserve to enjoy regardless of class, location, or upbringing,” he tells NOT REAL ART. “This is why I use symbols like the heart in my collages, which can be understood in any language.” Fascinated by notions of romance, kitsch, and pop culture, Marc steeps his work with plenty of each, savoring the bounty of color, texture, and narrative that results from his experimentation. His gorgeous “Hearts (Amethysts)” print is on our wish-list this Valentine’s Day (hint, hint).
Gift to: your longtime lover, who deserves all your gooey adoration this year.
Shop Marc’s “Hearts (Amethysts)” print here.
By turns absurd, heartfelt, and irreverent, Carl Medley’s work is just what you need for the cynic in your life. We’re partial to his “Whatever” greeting cards, but this “Get Ill Soon” enamel pin really says it all. “Tell the world, or that special someone, how you feel now that the world is coming together again,” Carl suggests. Don’t forget to personalize the pin by writing your giftee’s name on the accompanying card.
Gift to: your single friend who you suspect is bitter.
Shop Carl’s “Get Ill Soon” enamel pin here.
Casey Newberg’s wearable art is the strawberry sucker after the shot—it’s satisfying and it’s sweet, but really it’s there to distract you from the pain. A metalsmith and jewelry designer, Casey uses a combination of plastic and steel to create lewd “vending machine” items, like gas station horny pills and faux-diamond engagement rings. Designed to develop a patina over time, Casey’s readymade ring packs are a sure bet for those who love a uniquely luxe holiday gift.
Gift to: your single friend who you suspect is fabulous.
Shop Casey’s “Say Yes” ring pack here.
Describing her narratives as an examination of personal strengths and weaknesses, children’s book illustrator Nicoletta Ceccoli creates scenes of psychological tension where young girls lay bare their darkest thoughts and impulses. “Showing vulnerability is how I come to understand more about myself and the world I inhabit,” she says. “Nothing is completely black or white. You can’t have the sweet without the bitter.” Part of Nicoletta’s recent exhibition at Corey Helford Gallery, “Fragile Heart” is available as a signed print in the gallery’s online shop.
Gift to: the baby niece, daughter, or sister in your family.
Shop Nicoletta’s “Fragile Heart” print here.
Keya Tama and Elléna Lourens
While popular culture puts sexual relationships on a pedestal, many people find friendships just as transformative and nourishing as love affairs. Emerging South African-born artists Keya Tama and Elléna Lourens form two halves of a long-term creative partnership that bears fruit in “Just Outside Your Centre,” a gorgeous letterpress print on hand-deckled paper. Signed by both artists, the print is available through Subliminal Projects.
Gift to: your grade-school bestie who still calls you every Sunday afternoon.
Shop Keya and Elléna’s “Just Outside Your Centre” print here.
If you’re craving a cozy Valentine's night in, craft artist Dre McLeod’s fluffy red floral cloud pillow is the perfect companion. Made from vintage cherry sucker red fabric and “generously stuffed” with polyester fiber filling and repurposed fabric scraps, Dre’s pillows are sustainable and cute to boot.
Gift to: yourself. Curl up next to your furry friend of choice and weather the cold from the comforts of home.
Shop Dre’s cloud pillow here.
Brian Oldham: Nameless: Poems & Prose
A self-taught photographer since his teens, California-based Brian Oldham first captured the world’s attention with dreamy portraits that questioned social expectations of masculinity. He describes his collection of poetry, Nameless, as a “rumbling collection of poems and prose that dives deep into the queer chaos of finding yourself through love and loss.” Accompanied by Brian’s black and white photographic illustrations, the 70-page book is an introspective treatise on identity, perspective, and self-discovery.
Gift to: your queer friend, family member, or partner who craves that new book smell.
Shop Brian’s Nameless: Poems & Prose here.
Need a reminder to follow your passion? Best known for his signature psychedelic smiley face and Smile Sans typeface, Luke Smile is a lettering artist who spreads optimism through colorful signs and posters. With its vibrant red background and gloss varnish details, Luke’s “Passion” print is our pick for a romantic (and inspiring) gift. Keep in mind his prints ship from the UK, so you’ll want to place your order at least two to three weeks before Valentine’s Day.
Gift to: your design-loving partner who needs a little encouragement.
Shop Luke’s “Passion” print here.
Alexandra N Sherman
“What do our emotions look like?” wonders Alexandra N Sherman, who works with watercolor to create the figures in her Silhouettes series. Like a tree with a blooming heart, Alexandra’s lithographic print “Winter Within” traces the body’s circulatory system with a web of branches and a blood red flower.
Gift to: your mother, who you never see nearly enough of.
Shop Alexandra’s “Winter Within” print here.
Simone Hutsch’s photography is all about location. Native to Berlin and now based in London, her work spans both cities, as well as Malmö, an industrialized Swedish city that’s undergone a major architectural transformation in the last two decades. A trained graphic designer, Simone—who works under the pseudonym heysupersimi—creates immaculate compositions with clean linework and a heightened sense of artifice. With its cotton-candy colored background, “Dreamhouse” makes a perfectly charming present for the design or travel lover in your life. Snag the print in a variety of sizes.
Gift to: your super stylish boss, mentor, or client who lives to travel.
Shop Simone’s “Dreamhouse” print here.