Your Heart Knows the Way, Follow It

We had the opportunity to sit down with Anthony K. Hall Jr. to talk about the heart that he painted for the San Francisco General Hospital Foundation's "Hearts in San Francisco" public art series.  His heart has been gifted to St. Mary’s Medical Center and will stand outside of our newly named Takahashi-Suzuki Heart & Vascular Center and Denise Hale Hybrid Suite/OR.  Now, visitors will easily be able to find their way to the Center.  We will tell them to follow the beautiful “giant heart”.

Anthony walked into our office looking smart and when he began to speak, it was immediately evident that he is a humble and gracious young man at the early stages of his budding artistic career.  His inspiration for his work coming more from his love for books, movies, nature, and experiences than any artist he can recount.  He still reads the actual newspaper in its print form and uses clippings that speak to him in his artwork.   Anthony knew he liked to draw and paint at an early age but never thought he was good enough to get into art school.  He stopped drawing and painting during high school and college and then one day was so moved by an article that he read he painted a picture of those emotions (pictured below).  Anthony says this is still one of his favorite pieces that he’s ever worked on. 

The color and design of our heart was inspired one winter day while he walked along the water in Emeryville overlooking San Francisco.  He said that “during the winters there are often subsets with colors that come together intricately to evoke abstract solitude and deep contemplation.” Through this theme, Anthony wanted to juxtapose a mixture of colors with the repetition of lines to represent the compounding thoughts people find themselves in when observing nature undisturbed.  Here is more of our conversation. 

What are you working on right now? 

I usually have a bunch of pieces that I am creating simultaneously, and I also have 5-10 different ideas for pieces in my head at all times.  My next ones will be mixed media using resins and wax on wood.  I also tend to read a lot.  Certain words jump out at in newspapers, especially The Chronicle, that I cut out and use in my work. 

When do you know that a piece is done? 

They are never done.  I have old paintings that I go back and add to all the time.  It meant something different when I painted it and when I look at it today, my emotions and experiences drive me to change a few small pieces. 

What memorable responses have you had to your work? 

People will come into a gallery when I am having a show, stop in front of my work, and ask all these questions.  The questions often bring up ideas about my work that I never even considered or thought of before.  I think the more personal that you make your work the more people can relate on many levels.  They relate to some type of emotion that I put into it and can sense it when they see it. 

What superpower would you have and why? 

(Long, hard thinking pause)  It would be the ability to go without sleep.  I could paint for days on end and not have to stop.  Now, I try to do that and my mind starts to go and I will finally have to quit and let my body sleep. SLEEPMAN

What’s to come? 

I have this idea that is coming from a philosophy book I am reading right now called Freedom From the Known by Jiddu Krishnamurti.  It is a gallery show that would have five distinct parts.  The first part would consist of my old paintings and represent my childhood.  The second part would be works that depict the things I’ve learned up until this point in my life.  The third would be paintings that are all in blue which would represent how the things I’ve learned have affected my life.  The fourth would be depictions defining who I am now.  And the fifth would depict what I see as the unknown.     

We couldn’t be more thrilled to have Anthony’s work welcoming patients and families as they enter the hospital.  His passion for his work is certainly evident and we get to share that passion with all that grace our doors.  St. Mary’s Medical Center already had a “giant heart” now there is a visual representation of it that sits outside the Heart & Vascular Center.  Thanks to Mr. Anthony K. Hall Jr.