Valentine's Day shopping? 17+ gift ideas for art lovers and culture vultures

If you love an art-lover — or you're just in search of a creative gift idea for a creative person — CBC Arts has rounded up some sweet and sentimental items for him and her.


This Valentine's Day, don't buy the garbage in this photo. You might be interested in a few of the items below, though... (Getty Images)

Love is... doing all the work, so you don't have to. And because CBC Arts cares about you very, very much, we've taken care of your Valentine's Day shopping, at least so far as the Googling is concerned. If you love an art-lover — or you're just in search of a creative gift idea for a creative person — we've rounded up some sweet and sentimental items for him and her. 

(Fuzzy) Feelings T-Shirt

If Valentine's Day never gives you "fuzzy feelings," it's just because you don't have this shirt, a sweet and simple DIY treat printed with soft and fluffy letters. A design collab between Victoria's Jovee Handcrafted and State of the Heart Handcrafted Goods, this V-Day special is only available to order 'til February 10. ($25,

8-Bit Bouquet

Everything dies: Roses, cheap carnations — even true love. So go ahead, splurge on real flowers, and send that special someone 50 long-stem reminders that your relationship will eventually decay, becoming as lifeless and repulsive as the chlorophyllic sludge at the bottom of a trash bag.

Or, you know, you could send something way less gruesomely symbolic. Try this 8-Bit Bouquet, inspired by old-school video games, and just a little reminiscent of Invader-style street art. So long as you know the Konami Code, true love will live forever! ($19.45, Amazon)

Julie Moon Spring Blossoms

A more elegant option for those in search of an everlasting bouquet, Toronto ceramic artist Julie Moon is known for making a variety of hand-made accessories featuring pretty posies. You can find a wide selection online, including these blush-pink spring blossom earrings. ($45,

Lomo'Instant Camera

As Patti Smith once said, "the experience of taking Polaroids connects me with the moment. They are souvenirs of a joyful solitude." So if you're treating yourself this Valentine's Day, we can think of no better gift than an instant camera. While you can always try your luck hunting down an old Polaroid camera like Patti's Land 250 on eBay (peel-apart instant film is still manufactured by Fuji, and easily available online), there's several new-fangled options available, too —  like this Lomo'Instant Camera from Lomography, which goes beyond the typical point-and-shoot, letting you customize with a range of lenses. ($119, Lomography)


Instagram and chill? This tiny slide projector, no bigger than a matchbox, comes pre-loaded with a personalized slideshow that you create using your own Instagram photos. ($39.98 US,

Petit Nuage & Selena Wong

Of all the Valentine sweets out there, we're partial to macarons — and the dreamy treats from Toronto's Petit Nuage have an added artistic bonus. Their pastel packages are designed by local illustrator Selena Wong, who creates visions full of sugar and spice and everything nice (kittens and bunnies, mostly). If you're not in the city, there are other ways of gifting some of Wong's hand-made treasures. She sells a selection of greeting cards and jewelry, like this love bunny brooch, on Etsy.  (

Ticket Stub Diary

Maybe you first locked eyes at a Stars show. Or maybe you're just the kind of couple who blows more money on Ticketmaster fees than fancy dinners. Either way, this ticket-stub diary makes a sentimental gift for music fans. ($17.29,

Milktape Mixtape

Nothing says "I have a crush on you" like a mixtape. Nothing says "you're old" like a mixtape, either. So while we wait for the cassette to make its slow, and inevitable comeback (hello, Urban Outfitters), this custom USB from Victoria company Milktape is the next best thing. You pick the songs, and you customize the label — just like old times. ($14.99,


You don't have to be going steady to get pinned. Maybe your heart belongs to your childhood crush, whether it's Leonardo DiCaprio ($6 US, or Steve Buscemi ($8.50 US, We won't judge. Or share the love with twinned pin sets like these ones featuring Bey and Jay ($18, or Mulder and Scully ($15, Strange Sky Studio)

Mike Mills PJs

He's directed movies (Beginners) and music videos (Air, Moby) and created record art for the Beastie Boys and Sonic Youth. So we can probably trust him to design some pajamas. Mike Mills has an entire line of loungewear available through fancy (PJ) pants retailer Sleepy Jones. But if you'd prefer to add your own artistic flair to a set of jam-jams, Print All Over Me lets you create a textile pattern, which you can order on old-fashioned PJ sets, robes — or just about anything, really. ($49 US and up,

His & Hers Pillow Cases

Is he the Diego to your Frida? Carla Hansen embroiders custom "his and hers" pillow cases, inspired by famed power couples from art and pop culture. Find them through her Etsy shop, My Needle Habit. ($71.24 and up, Etsy)

FriendsWithYou Little Cloud Lamp

As the great Brick Tamland once said: "I love lamp." And the feeling's mutual, apparently. Not just the most adorable night light you ever did see, "Little Cloud" is a limited edition art object from FriendsWithYou. The art collective, known for their immersive and ultra-kawaii installations, describes "Little Cloud" as "an amazing symbol of unconditional love and guidance to the light." ($196.49 US,

Lyric Keychains

Time to take things to the next level? If you're giving them a key, add a little extra thought to your gift with an engraved keychain like these ones from Drake General Store. What's your song? You might find it in their collection. ($15,

Tracey Emin, "I Promise to Love You"

She's known for working with neon, but this collection from British artist Tracey Emin is all about precious metals and gems. In collaboration with jeweler Stephen Webster, the British artist's drawings and neon artworks have been re-interpreted for luxury necklaces, bracelets and rings — including this diamond pendant reading "With You I Breathe." (Quotes available via

Carly Waito Prints

Diamonds aren't every girl's best friend. Some of us prefer other gems — like these ones, painted by Thunder Bay's Carly Waito. Find a wide selection of prints (and originals) through the Magic Pony gallery. ($125 and up,

Patricia Lima Custom Portrait

These paper portraits by Patricia Lima take the traditional Valentine to the extreme. Using paper and gouache, this Toronto Etsy seller creates custom art of you and your partner (and for an extra fee, your kids and/or fur-kids too). ($290, Etsy)

Happy Alone Shirt

Valentine's Day, Galentine's Day, Palentine's Day… whatever you call it, you don't really care about February 14th. But maybe you still want to buy yourself something nice, just 'cause. Everything Montreal illustrator Olivia Mew creates for her brand, Stay Home Club, would be perfect. But we're singling out these "Happy Alone" tees, because you are, dammit. Stop asking, mom. ($20,

CBC Music Valentine's Day Cards

Really, though, who needs to buy anything for Valentine's Day? The best things in life are free, and that includes these oldies-but-goodies: the CBC Music Valentine's Day card collection. (FREE!


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