In 2006, while visiting the The Shanghai Museum, I found myself enamored with its calligraphy collection. Each black marking felt so alive – so present. I knew then that I wanted to make something for myself that would capture my presence and reward me with surprise.
November of 2007: My visual radar seemed to flash on the drawings of David Stone Martin, Ben Shawn, Ralph Steadman, and of course the spontaneous, gravity-infused tag markings up and down North Ashland Avenue in Chicago. During the nine months that followed, from December 31, 2007 through October 31, 2008, I created over 575 Notes to Self working with tools I had not experienced: a plastic syringe and a foam brush.
Notes to Self was obsessive in nature and unfolded into a personal narrative. Within the non-linear framework, I moved in and around personal fact and fiction, expression and release, chance and fantasy. As large scale personal journal entries, these personal recordings served as cathartic art therapy. The real reward, however, was found in those flashes of time lost for a moment in the moment. When gravity is a welcomed collaborator, there is no choice but to be very present.
Compositions just happened working in the perfect bohemian artist studio– the 13th floor of a Mies Van der Rohe condominium with its 40’, floor to ceiling panoramic view of Chicago overlooking Lincoln Park. These personal recordings were rarely pre-conceived and never studied in advance. Of the 575-plus recordings, some would delight, others would disturb as impulses, thoughts, moods, and emotional temperament, but all took a deep breath.
Rick Valicenti is the founder and design director of Thirst/Chicago, a communication design firm devoted to art, function and real human presence. Rick was recently awarded the American Institute of Graphic Artists (AIGA) Medal in 2006 for his sustained contribution to design excellence and development of the profession. This medal is the highest honor in the graphic design profession.
Rick is a member of AGI (Alliance Graphique Internationale) and was awarded the 2004 AIGA Chicago Chapter Fellow. His works are included in the permanent collection of The Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum and the 2006 Triennial, Design Life Now.
Rick Valicenti provides inspiration to his colleagues and mentorship to a generation of students. For the past two decades, Rick has lent his time and energies to college and high school students in the form of workshops and personal critiques on the design industry.
A 356-page monograph on the Thirst work was published by the Monacelli Press in 2004 titled Emotion as Promotion.
These are great and very inspirational. Wonderful. I’d buy a bunch in a
second if it weren't for the fact that I have no white space left to hang
them and I HATE art being collected in flat files.
On the off chance that I build a house, would it be possible to put an
option on three of them?
Thanks for sending me your drawings.
They are fabulous!....
I guess I'm not the only one who obsessively draws,
but now I'd better throw out that 4 color ballpoint
and get me one of those brushes and a lot of runny ink...
Anyway they are wonderful, and I love the little movies.
Artist, Designer, Educator
Marian Bantjes, Artist
Damn, they are all so cool!
Designer, Modern Dog Design Co.
Very, very nice! Makes me want to drop my mouse and pick up something else to create.
Design Catalyst and (at last) a U.S. Citizen
I don't know the answers. What I know, by looking through your personal Notes to Self, is that I can feel your emotions, which is one of the most important human aspects in life. Thank you for sharing.
Satoru Nihei, Designer, Friend
LSD, Louise Sandhaus Design
Amazingly beautiful and moving.
Editor, ID Magazine
This is a fantastic piece of work.
I will definitely be buying one or two when you put them online for sale. I only have black and white art on my walls!
Writer, Editor, Designer
These are great!
Painful yet thrilling in so many ways.
Designer, Samata Mason
Worth it, indeed.
(I’m always stunned by your talent).
Designer, Educator, Writer
Can you set one aside for us?
Designer, Artist, Educator
I can see how that would be cathartic!
Designer, Author, Artist
rick. this stuff is killa.
i'm blown away with each click.
you've busted it wide open too.
thank you again
and yes, there's more at the door.