Kit Steinkellner
January 15, 2015 12:38 pm

Getting someone you love the PERFECT gift is a Herculean task. Unless that someone you love happens to be named Mona. Then you just get the girl 83 different versions of Leonardo DaVinci’s super-famous same-named painting. At least that’s what Filipino artist and gallery owner Soler Santos has been doing for his wife, fellow artist Mona Santos.

Santos started “The Mona Lisa Project” for his wife Mona as a sort of artistic love letter. He began by collecting small Mona Lisa souvenirs, until the project totally snowballed into him commissioning 83 re-interpretations of the painting from 83 of the country’s most well-known artists. Up until today, the collection was on display at the Solaire Resort in Manila.

As Santos told The Philippine Star“The collection is really in progress, ongoing, so it’s always growing . . . The purpose was to show it to a bigger audience, and potentially to those who aren’t so familiar with art or the local art scene. Solaire provided a space for us, and also the exposure to a wider audience we don’t typically see at exhibits.”

Here are some of the very cool and very out of the box re-imaginings of the Mona Lisa:

The sheer levels of imagination blow the mind, do they not? I’m so ready to drop everything I’m doing, find a brush and a palette, and start painting. Please join me outside, I will be doing landscapes, and I promise you yours will be a hundred thousand times better than mine.

Truly this is may be the coolest and sweetest (and DEFINITELY) artsiest romantic gesture I’ve ever heard of. But when it comes to art, there are ALWAYS going to be critics. On the project’s opening night in Manila, one guest marched up to Santos and gave him a piece of her mind. She was outraged that Santos decided to “. . . ruin the Mona Lisa.”

Santos is an old art world pro and is used to seeing work illicit strong reactions, so critics don’t faze him at all: “Some will like it, others won’t. That’s not really a problem for me.”

So is he going to stop at 83 Mona Lisas? Absolutely not! I mean, you guys, does LOVE stop? It keeps on going and going, and so will this project.

If you think about it, this whole project is a pretty great metaphor for love. You just keep finding new and different ways to tell your sweetheart the same thing over and over again “I love you, I love you, I love you.”

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