Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 7 / 15 February 2018

2012 'Hearts' benefit
features out artists


Henry Jackson used red for his "Elemental Heart." (Photo: Irja Elisa Photography)
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Two San Francisco-based out artists are set to contribute to the seventh annual Hearts in San Francisco benefit for the San Francisco General Hospital Foundation.

The public art raises funds by auctioning the hearts – both large and tabletop sizes – and this year the Heroes and Hearts luncheon and auction takes place on the field of AT&T Park Thursday, February 9.

A total of 14 artists are participating. The money raised will support life-enhancing programs at San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center.

Henry Jackson, one of the two out artists, is a San Francisco native. Jackson has received several awards for his art, including the artist-in-residency, full Fellowship Award at Monte Azul in Costa Rica in 2007, 2009, and 2011. He is the first recipient of the Heritage Artist Residency Program Award at the San Francisco Zoo (2010).

Jackson uses a combination of both the abstract and the familiar, incorporating a passionate palette that teeters on discord while maintaining unification and compatibility. His work creates a distinct energy that draws the viewer into a world of emotional unrest.

Jackson told the Bay Area Reporter that his partner, Adam Gendell, a photography dealer, was the one who suggested he consider submitting to Heroes and Hearts.

"After reviewing the submission request and learning more about what the program funded and how monies raised from the sales help fund vital programs that may otherwise not get funded at SFGH and Trauma Center, it was a no-brainer," he said.

Jackson's original idea for his design came directly from how he approaches his work in general – abstract expressive with a strong focus on color and composition.

"Being that the heart has always been a symbol of our emotional center, ever changing, ever hopeful, my natural approach to painting seeming like the logical direction," said Jackson.

Jackson thought the obvious choice of red was necessary considering how red signifies life and strength.

"With red being the driving force, the overall composition began to ironically reveal that of the earth," he explained.

Jackson decided on titling his art, "Elemental Heart." His heart is on display at the Stockton Street window of Macy's in Union Square.

Rex Ray used blue for the basis of his heart. (Photo: Irja Elisa Photography)

The second out participant, Rex Ray, is a San Francisco-based fine artist whose collages, paintings, and design work have been exhibited at galleries and museums, including the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. He has created work for Apple and DreamWorks and has also created package designs for several musicians, including David Bowie, according to a press statement from the hospital foundation. Ray's heart will be unveiled at the luncheon.

In an email, Ray said that he became involved several years ago through his gallery.

"I've always thought it important to contribute locally and helping SF General is a great cause," he said.

Ray said that in his design, he "applied some of the more lyrical aspects of my work to the heart."

He added that he's not used to working with three-dimensional pieces, such as the hearts, so it was a challenge.

Hospital foundation officials praised this year's participating artists, one of whom is Lori Chinn, a 15-year-old student at Lowell High School.

"Heart artwork by the 2012 Hearts in San Francisco artists is not only important for the art community, it's also meaningful for the city of San Francisco," said foundation board President Matt Carbone in a statement. "The funds raised by the hearts, which are often seen in Union Square, support vital programs at San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center."

The artists who were selected created either large (5 feet tall by 5 feet 9 inches wide by 3 feet 3 inches deep) or tabletop (14 inches tall by 17 inches wide by 8 inches deep) hearts that will be auctioned.

Select large hearts may remain on display in Union Square and locations throughout the city. The entire project has raised nearly $7 million for the foundation since 2006.

Tickets for the February 9 Heroes and Hearts luncheon start at $300. Doors open at 11 a.m. and the festivities start at 11:30. A nighttime Hearts After Dark event also takes place February 9 from 7 to 10 p.m. at the ballpark. Tickets for that are $75 general admission, $150 VIP. To purchase tickets, call (415) 206-4478 or visit

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