Roses are red, violets are blue, sugar is sweet, here’s a real heart? Stars That Paint is a new series of work from Ward Roberts. In poetic collaboration with Fionn Regan (Bon Iver), the series of images explores the complexity and beauty of the heart, both metaphorically and literally.


Roberts holds a fascination with the heart and the real pain of heartbreak. Not only did he experience his own difficult heartache, but he also discovered his left ventricle chamber fails to operate properly. Joking that the heartbreak could trigger his own heart to cease working.


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Roberts told Art Zealous, “There is definitely that element that played a role in inspiring the series, it’s also the combination a reflection of my pre-existing heart failure. From that stemmed a thought of exploring complex ideas of what hearts mean to us. It was fascinating to discover how taboo and complicated the heart is in Western culture. While sourcing different species to photograph, I quickly learned how uncomfortable people  were discussing and giving access to a heart.”


Roberts suspends the muted-color hearts in space and strips them of signifiers such as location, gender, and identifying species. To be clear, Roberts sourced the hearts unspecified animal species. In a statement to Art Zealous about why he chose muted colors. Roberts said, “Well, certainly there is an element of devastation and sadness with most loves lost. But for me, it’s often met with a soft type of self-realization that provides a sense of calmness and self-preservation. I tend to be drawn to muted colors which evoke a sense of nostalgia and comfort. I find muted colors to be quiet, if not at times silent, – there’s a lot of power in silence.”


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This photographic series is in collaboration with the musician Fionn Regan of Bon Iver fame. Regan paints his poetry inspired by the themes of mortality – without explicitly using the term “heart.”


Here’s a behind the scenes look at Stars That Paint.



Stars That Paint is set for online release today, February 14, Valentine’s Day. Sold in editions of two, the artist encourages collectors to share their heart with others. Purchase here.

all images // courtesy of the artist