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seriouSeries No. 1 — Rick Valicenti

It had been three years (plus three days) since I had last seen (and first met) Rick Valicenti. Knowing and talking to him has been one of the most enriching things for me these past years. Having him as the first guest for seriouSeries was not only an honor but a no-brainer. I knew that if I wanted to make this a memorable start I had to have Rick as the inaugural guest.

I was right.

The evening started awkward, no disrespect but strangers meeting strangers in a strange house can only lead to strange behavior. We all knew it was time to bring out the alcohol, some bottles of wine, some beer and we started to feel more comfortable. The finger-licking finger food was really good — courtesy of Mrs. Vit. By the time everybody was here — Brent, Mike Br, Inga, Kevin L, patric, Su, Kevin M, Dawn, Michael M, Renee, Ginny, Aaron and Michael Bierut (who came straight from the airport, which was a gesture very much appreciated) we were all more than ready to do some talking and listening.

To start things off I did a little introduction for Rick, I didn’t have anything prepared and wasn’t willing to do the usual reading of the supplied bio. Rick suggested I introduce him by telling how we met. Good idea.

Clip 01 (6.7 Mb): Introduction

Rick went over some of his projects, one of them Suburban Maul, a self-published book that talks about the gentrification (in this case read branding) of the suburbs.

Clip 02 (8 Mb): Suburban Maul

He also showed some of his recent work for the Lyric Opera of Chicago as well as a commemorative poster for Rem Koolhas’ IIT building, to which they treated with some nice Photoshop techniques.

Clip 03 (1.6 Mb): Bubble wrap Filter

One of the more enjoyable things about listening to Rick is that he allows himself to share the more personal side of the story. After talking a little bit about the people that have worked with him (chester and patric among many others) and how they each have given Thirst a unique twist he shared the experience of each of them leaving or knowing about the possibility of parting ways. Somewhere in between an SNL analogy came up: Bill Murray is no longer part of the ensemble, but now we have Mike Myers (or we used to).

Clip 04 (5.2 Mb): Longevity

We have to design. Of course we do! A design conversation can not go without this.

Clip 05 (3.5 Mb): We have to Design

One of my favorite takes from the whole evening (and one that I should obviously know by now) is “Are we vendors or counsels” to our clients? Are we comfortable doing only the things that we are required to do or are we willing to take more accountability for our service and become counsels?

Clip 06 (4.2 Mb): Vendors or counsels

“You get what you do,” but you already knew that didn’t you? Well, at least you haven’t heard it in the context of a camp fire.

Clip 07 (6.1 Mb): You get what you do

Another great personal project that Rick showed was a sociological experiment if you will. This one will also be a self-published endeavor. Don’t mind the technical difficulties.

Clip 08 (7.5 Mb): Looks Like me

A subject that Rick told me he was going to talk about was Real Human Presence. No problem, I had little clue what he was on to. According to him, RHP� (for short, � belongs to Rick), will be the next trend — luckily it will not be rendered visually (as in visual trends that kids can copy) rather it will maifest itself in the way we approach graphic design.

Clip 09 (3.4 Mb): Real Human Presence

Another excellent moment came after Kevin (of the other Grip) was telling a story about a presentation to some high-powered Asian lawyers for a business card and how they were very rejectful. Obviously every designer wants to explain their ideas and tell the clients why this is it. It’s in our nature to do so. That’s when the This is it baby� (� once again for Rick) syndrome comes in.

Clip 10 (8.9 Mb): This is it Baby! (voices in the background include Ginny and Michael)

After that, we ran out of tape. No more clips sorry.

We went on for another hour or so, by 10 p.m. we were all ready to call it a night, so we did. I think we all went to bed a little bit smarter and more inspired. Which is what it all comes down to.

Thanks Rick.

Maintained through our ADV @ UnderConsideration Program
PUBLISHED ON Sep.27.2003 BY Armin
rick v’s comment is:


it was soo much my pleasure to take part in your ss

at your delightful apartment.the night's vibe was great.

for me i realized with you and yours how much of the 'nasty' realities

of design's practiced are already practiced and now behind me.

issues of 'being present in design is more than just being in a meeting', 'knowing when and how to hold on by letting go',and 'just relaxing into the new relationships that makes opportunity available'.

i hope your guests came away with some shared experiences from one who went before desquised as wisdom. if not wisdom, then just some time shared which is equally good.

we'll see each other before the three years pass again. your ol'friend,rick v

On Sep.27.2003 at 08:19 PM
ps’s comment is:

sounds like a successful event. the clips are a nice way to present some discussion snippets as it as it gives you an "un-hyped" representation of what was actually said. including the impression that armin lives in the dark. (unless there was a black-out in chicago). :-o


On Sep.28.2003 at 07:18 PM
Tan’s comment is:

Thanks Armin. Yes, the clips are great -- it makes the discussion feel real, not scripted. I also love hearing real voices of people I've only read postings from. Makes thing more personal, which is nice.

Great start to the series, and very inspiring.

On Sep.28.2003 at 09:35 PM
KM’s comment is:

Thanks for posting the clips Armin! Like Tan said, it was nice hearing voices and seeing some of you that make this site real.

Tan - how are we coming along on the Seattle seriouSeries? ; )

On Sep.29.2003 at 12:50 AM
Mr. Jones’s comment is:

SS...terrific addition to the Speak Up site! The video clips made everything easy to digest and it is cool to see and hear everyone.

Great Job! I can't wait to see SS2

On Sep.29.2003 at 01:37 AM
Darrel’s comment is:

The video is neat-o.

But yea, maybe invest in a lamp or two next time ;o)

On Sep.29.2003 at 09:16 AM
Ginny ’s comment is:

A few snippets:

I thought that the first installment of the seriouseries was inspiring. Rick Valicenti was articulate, easy-going, honest, and lets face it, just plain cool.

Armin, both you and "Mrs Vit (bryony)" did an excellent job of making our cyber-voices to face-to-face encounter quite comfortable.

The video installment is such a nice idea. Bringing everyone, who unfortunately couldn't make it, into that space. And sharing the experience.

Thank you for all of your "good ideas" and hard-work. I look forward to the next one. And yes, I can host as well.

On Sep.29.2003 at 10:07 AM
Tan’s comment is:

> Tan - how are we coming along on the Seattle seriouSeries? ; )

I'm on it Kris -- haven't forgotten. Just been trying to schedule a worthy speaker. For all you Seattle folks , please send me your wish list of people or topics you'd like to see/discuss.

On Sep.29.2003 at 10:44 AM
Armin’s comment is:

> including the impression that armin lives in the dark.

>But yea, maybe invest in a lamp or two next time

It's called mood lighting. It wasn't as dark as it seems to be, I should have brightened the picture up in iMovie... oh well, next time.

> it makes the discussion feel real, not scripted.

What did I say about not bringing PowerPoint presentations? It definitely helps a conversation evolve when you are not worried about clicking the next slide.

On Sep.29.2003 at 10:52 AM
tim’s comment is:

That was a pleasure to watch. I saw Rick speak at the Walker last spring, and it was refreshing to listen to a conversation and not a speech.

Seems like an enlightening event, I hope that there will be one in Minneapolis someday. :)

On Sep.30.2003 at 12:50 PM
bryony’s comment is:

It is good to hear that you all had a good time, and found this first get together interesting and fun. This is without a doubt the first of many more to come, and you will always be welcome to join us at home for a good heart to heart and some good munchies.

"The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances: if there is any reaction, both are transformed".

Carl Jung

Cheers to a new source for good ideas, good laughs, and wonderful friendships.

On Sep.30.2003 at 03:24 PM
Aaron’s comment is:

This was a lot of fun. Thanks Rick, Armin, and Bryony!

Rick is full of design wisdom. Glad you video taped everything too for those that couldn't be there. Look forward to the next seriousSeries. Although I'm a little sad I was left off the listing of attendees : (

On Oct.01.2003 at 11:17 AM
Armin’s comment is:

> Although I'm a little sad I was left off the listing of attendees

My bad.

On Oct.01.2003 at 11:30 AM
kev leonard’s comment is:

bryony, armin, rick:

thank you all so much. in an email i sent to al attendees the morning after the event, i said that the evening was the most professionally enriching of my week.

every one had a lot of relevant info. share, especially rick. the questions and comments were great.

i look forward to the next event. as i mentioned in the "morning after" e-mail, my place is small but i am definitely up for tossing in some cash for refreshments for the next event.

p.s.: armin, bryony, may i please have the recipe for the mushrooms you served? they were outstanding.

On Oct.01.2003 at 01:48 PM