Do I Love You?

Did you really look at the picture? Or did you just scroll right past if after glancing at it?

If you just glanced at it, I bet you don’t know what it says.

You’re thinking, “Uh, it says I love you a hundred times.”


It is, in fact, a message filled with mixed signals.

This letter was written by one of artist Emilie Halpern‘s first boyfriends in 8th grade . There isn’t much special to it except for the fact that in a page full of “I love you,” there is one line that says “I hate you.”

Halpern’s work (featured on focuses on the idea of love in subtle ways.

The line is not noticeable unless you take a deeper look at the image. It is this simple letter that reminded me of one thing in art—the message lies in the subtleties. Sometimes is takes much more than just a glance to fully understand a piece of art.

I think this is why many contemporary artists argue that art can really be anything. No matter what the medium, a message can easily be infused. It’s not always what something looks like from afar. To understand may take time, thought, and a more perceptive eye.

So, thank you 8th grade French boyfriend of artist Emilie Halpern for reminding me of this.


About kbless

From the 410, but spending the next 3 years in a lovely little town called Chapel Hill. Love a mix of the fun and the intellectually stimulating.
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One Response to Do I Love You?

  1. hahello says:

    Can you also think of why visually we can’t “see” the “I hate you” in the midst of all of the “I love you”s? Remember our readings in the Universal Principles of Design, and how our eyes read the negative space in images, even in something like text, where the words become blocks. 1+1=3 or more! This is why also the work I think is effective – it convinces us of the explicit MESSAGE (I love you) while pointing out through the FORM (the way that the words create an illusion of utter sameness despite one difference) the opposite of meaning — that we are always *blind in love* 😉

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