Artists who haven't yet made it to the venerable walls of Sotheby's and art lovers who don't yet hold buying power there, take heart. This Valentine's Day, the Santa Fe Art Co-op extends open arms.

Those looking to hang their art in the gallery need only present their work to the co-op for approval, then contribute a small fee and a portion of sales proceeds (which can be lessened by manning the gallery). Those interested in buying something nice and artsy for their sweethearts, but who are closer to the lower 2 percent than upper, will be pleasantly surprised by modest price tags.

Opened in November by artists Jules Joern, Laura Gerwin, Jen Faust and Corina Logghe, the co-op represents 22 artists and is "growing pretty quickly," according to Joern. These artists create a wide swath of art from painting to books to sculpture to clothing.

"There aren't two artists doing even remotely the same thing," Joern says.

Philosopher Francis Bacon once said of the creative process, "It is a particular state when everything happens very quickly, a mixture of consciousness and unconsciousness, of fear and pleasure; it's a little like making love, the physical act of love."

Appropriately for Valentine's Day, co-opers have extended their creative processes toward interpretations of the holiday and love. In preview of the show, we've let co-opers script their works' rationales.

Emilee Lord
“Vintage ladies handkerchiefs adorned with type written quotes of love, heart break and ruin by some of the most noteworthy writers of the past. The sweetness of these re-purposed handkerchiefs and the sad, jaded or melodramatic nature of the quotes embraces a nostalgia for a moment in time when people allowed themselves a bit of high drama and Victorian breathlessness over matters of the heart. Oscar Wilde, Matthew Arnold and Edith Wharton, to name a few, have been companions of mine during self indulgent moments such as these; a less gritty, but equally healing, substitute for the delta blues. In sharing this, I hope these trinkets bring smiles, nods and add a touch of prettiness and wit to someone’s home.”

Jules Joern
“The pieces that I did for the Valentine’s Day show are 25 6-inch-by-6-inch panels covered in antique wall-paperish paper, with a single repeating heart. The panels can be shown together or separately. This is a thoroughly decorative piece and very different from what I usually do. To me they feel light and pretty and frivolous but when you really look at them you see all of the layers and overlapping colors and patterns. Then there’s the heart shape. Is there anything as visually satisfying as the heart shape?”

Darlene Fortier
“inner tubes. spoke nipples. cogs. antique, vintage and contemporary beads, buttons and fabric. all transformed into wearable art.~ inner tube hearts sporting pearls, antique pressed glass buttons and lovely little glass beads to grace the neck. ~inner tube ovals with red tulle enclose glittery hearts and sport tiny little pearls as your chock-full-of-love earrings. ~deluxe boas created with love from yummy fabric, tulle and ribbon all to wrap you in.”

Sean C Paloheimo
“The heart shaped Milagro can represent the human heart, or worries over the heart’s condition. Sometimes it may even represent the love that one person feels for another. This piece for me represents the harsh realities of relationships. The torment that the heart sometimes goes through. The base is welded out of steel files, and a nail pierces the heart from the side. Drops of greenish blood drip from the piece, indicating new blood. The piece is wrapped by rusted wire to show that the scars are caused by past emotions. However the wire does not encompass the piece. To me saying that the heart has not been entirely blocked off from love. Though all my work can be left to the interpretation of the viewer.“

Merrill Swim
“Merrill Swim has taken her collage artwork one step further and applied it to wooden boxes, creating unique pieces of art that can be great presents themselves or a very special way to wrap your Valentine’s gift! Also on display at the Santa Fe Art Co-op, is Merrill’s acrylic painting with photo collage, ‘The Arches Dream,’ from her inspiring travels in the southwest. Don’t forget, your loved ones need more art in their lives!”

Joel Lipovetsky
“My 2 LOVE pieces for this year have 4 photos as part of each, the prints are 24’ x 24’ in an edition of 7 each and they are about my true loves, which are intertwined and have nothing to do with a significant other or greeting card companies’ bottom line. LOVE1 has a quote associated with it ‘Paradise is always where love dwells’ (Johann Paul F Richter) as does LOVE2, ‘She lives only in winter, away from the springs rain, away from heartbreak summer and all of autumn’s pain.’ -B.C.”

Valentine Verve
5-8 pm Thursday, Feb. 10
Santa Fe Art Co-op
Design Center
418 Cerrillos Road