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Following the final panel discussion as part of the CHGO DSGN series, join Rick Valicenti and Norman Teague for a conversation on the visibility of designers of color in the profession.


Alexander Richard Wilson is an African American minimalist artist studying architecture and designed objects at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Born and raised in St Louis, Missouri, he employs the emotions of American life, the tension in both unity and division in his works of art, and the respect for the human scale in his designed works.









Fo Wilson graduated with an MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design’s Furniture Design program in 2005 with a concentration in Art History, Theory and Criticism. She is currently an Assistant Professor of Art in the Art + Design Department at Columbia College Chicago and is the 2013-14 inaugural Faculty Fellow for the Center for Black Music Research (CBMR) at the college. Prior to her graduate studies, she founded Studio W, Inc., a design consultancy with offices in New York and the San Francisco Bay area. Her furniture-based work is exhibited nationally, and her design work is included in the collection of the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum.









Krisann Rehbein is a design educator, advocate, and writer. She spent over a decade as a design educator at the Chicago Architecture Foundation, where she worked with teens from across Chicago Public Schools, co-wrote an architecture text for CPS high schools, placed students in paid internships at design firms and empowered community leaders to showcase their neighborhoods. Prior to coming to CAF, she spent several years as a grassroots organizer in Chicago, New York, and Pittsburgh. She has degrees in sociology from the University of Wisconsin and the University of Chicago. She currently is “Midwestern bi-coastal”, spending time between Chicago and her new home of Milwaukee. She continues to introduce teens to architecture and deisgn and is a contributing writer for Newcity.









Rashayla Marie Brown is an interdisciplinary artist, educator, and writer. Her practice spans across photography and image-making, performance, research, and community building. Her journey as a professional artist began as a radio DJ researching black British music in London, England and as the founder of the family-owned graphic design company Selah Vibe, Inc. in Atlanta, Georgia. Brown holds degrees in Sociology and African-American Studies from Yale University and in Photography from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC). She has been awarded numerous fellowships and grants, including the Anna Louise Raymond Fellowship, Chicago Artist Coalition’s BOLT Residency, the Propeller Fund, and the Yale Mellon Research Grant. She currently serves as the Director of Student Affairs for Diversity and Inclusion at SAIC, fostering subversive narratives and access within and outside institutions.









Vernon Lockhart is the founder and principal of Art on the Loose, Inc., a Chicago-based multidisciplinary firm that specializes in corporate identities, exhibitions, environmental and multimedia design. He is the recipient of awards and praise from many sources including: Print, Communications Arts, Graphic Design USA and Graphis. He also served on the AIGA Chicago Board as Community Outreach Chair. Vernon holds a BFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a business minor from Northwestern University.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Claudia Cassidy Theater
Chicago Cultural Center
78 E Washington
Chicago IL 60602

Announcing CHGO DSGN at the Chicago Cultural Center

We are thrilled to announce the opening of CHGO DSGN: Recent Object and Graphic Design. Curated by Rick Valicenti. This exhibition celebrates the work of more than 100 of the city’s leading designers, and will run May 31– November 2 at the Chicago Cultural Center.

Chicago has long been regarded as an international center for design, and this retrospective celebrates the region’s creative and innovative spirit. Join us for a public reception in Exhibit Hall on Friday evening, May 30, from 6–10pm

Follow CHGO DSGN on Facebook and Twitter for more information about the opening reception, featured works, and ancillary events.

Valicenti comments on the show: “Chicago design is alive once again and on display for the world to see. Almost a century ago, Chicago designers were at the epicenter of print. A few years later, Chicago was home to the New Bauhaus, and in the 70s our designers championed international modernism. Today’s designers are reverberating with inspiration from storied times as they amplify Chicago design’s future.”

Surprise, invention, and risk run through the 200+ works on display. A broad range of endeavors are featured from functional objects to theoretical proposals. Highlights include the DIVVY bike naming and graphic identity program by IDEO and Firebelly, the world’s thinnest watch from Central Standard Timing, an exhibition catalog for the Art Institute of Chicago by Studio Blue, some of the best Kickstarter-funded initiatives such as TIKTOK by MNML design director Scott Wilson, an open-source international library of icons called The Noun Project, and product designer Steven Haulenbeek’s collection of bronze bowls cast in the ice during this winter’s frigid polar vortex.

Above: CST-01 Wristwatch by Central Standard Timing, Ice Cast Vessels for Collection WEST by Steven Haulenbeek

CHGO DSGN features work from Chicago’s established design studios: Crosby Associates, Morningstar, VSA Partners, Wright, the University of Chicago Press, the Department of Design at Leo Burnett, Threadless, and furniture-design legend Holly Hunt.

Above: An elevation from the exhibition featuring work by Plural, Jonathan Nesci, Cody Hudson, and Tim Parsons.

The next generation of Chicago designers are featured as well, including the delicate utensil designs by Martin Kastner for Alinea, publications designed by James Goggin, an experimental book by Plural, a sonically-activated animation by John Pobojewski of Thirst, the radical designs by Materious, audio-generated posters for the Poetry Foundation by Sonnenzimmer, public works by the designers from the Museum of Contemporary Art, and a conceptual study for typography made with water by Matt Wizinsky.

Above: Leather Chair by Jay Sae Jung Oh, O'Hare Terminal 5 Entry Wall Mural by Thirst

A selection of works will have their Chicago debut, including a limited edition bronze chair by furniture designer Jonathan Nesci, a bookshelf by Felicia Ferrone, a sculptural leather chair by Jay Sae Jung Oh, a film using an experimental microscopic camera by Leviathan, and an incense-burning skull by Cody Hudson.

Photographer Sandro Miller created a breathtaking 80-foot long portrait of the participating designers to celebrate CHGO DSGN. He states:

"… [The portrait] is an homage to Richard Avedon's famous portrait of the Chicago Seven... which included Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, Tom Hayden. Each made their radical presence felt and revolutionary voices heard just outside the Cultural Center on Michigan Avenue in 1968."

CHGO DSGN will also feature custom displays designed by Tim Parsons, Associate Professor of Designed Objects at the School of the Art Institute.

Exhibition resources made possible by:
Smithfield Properties
Best Imaging

Additional resources provided by:
Casati Gallery
Classic Color
Graphic Arts Studio
Holly Hunt
Leo Burnett
Maya Romanoff
TenFab Design

Refreshments provided by:
Goose Island Beer Company

3st at TYPEFORCE 5

3st is proud to participate in TYPEFORCE, an exhibition at the Co-Prosperity Sphere located in Chicago's Bridgeport neighborhood. This exhibition of typographic designers and artists will include the works of 3st's Rick Valicenti and John Pobojewski, and former 3st intern Magdalena Wistuba.

The show opens this Friday at 6:30p. Please come by!

Co-Prosperity Sphere
3219-21 South Morgan Street
Chicago Illinois, 60608

Leave Behinds — Calligraphic Compost

Rick Valicenti is presenting Leave Behinds — Calligraphic Compost, a series of cultured marble sculptures.

Valicenti describes the work as:

Scribed as calligraphic compost, these relational markers are hardened residue. Much the same way graphic design despoils our urban landscape, these sculptures are purposely placed yet ultimately abandoned. Keep only the good memories and leave the bad behind.

Dig Deep

John Pobojewski and Magdalena Wistuba are presenting their collaboration Dig Deep, an ambient interactive interface for three touch tablets.

Each touch tablet displays a field of textures inspired by the role of authority, networks, and resolution in digital communication. Once touched, a field reacts to touch speed and direction, swarming into a typographic statement. 

Our tactile sense is connected to how we feel — it is as important as the voice, eyes, and ears. Recently, the fingertips are becoming more utilitarian. Touch is becoming a tool used to navigate interfaces, serving our mind versus our heart. Are we inadvertently numbing our sense of touch? 

3st in Beijing: Valicenti lectures at China’s Central Academy of Fine Arts

Rick Valicenti has been invited by Professor Min Wang, AGI, and director of the China Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA) design program. Posters are popping about in the art districts here in Beijing announcing tomorrow's presentation. The poster was designed by Prof. Huang Li, Valicenti's host and co-director of Deep Breath the Moving Design intervention on fresh air with his interdisciplinary design seniors at the Beijing Institute of Fashion Technology. More about Rick's time in Beijing here.

3st in Exhibition: BAOZHEN at TYPEFORCE

Baozhen Li / 3st continues the studio’s tradition of showing at the annual TYPEFORCE show at the Co-Prosperity Sphere in Bridgeport with her small video installation 5201314.

About the piece:

Texting and instant messaging is a mainstay of contemporary interpersonal communication. SMS shorthand makes an incredible and lasting impact on how we connect.
When spoken in Mandarin, 5201314 (Wu er ling yi san yi si ) sounds very similar to 我爱你一生一世 (Wo ai ni yi sheng yi shi) or I love you forever. Chinese teenagers now text 5201314 when they want to say I love you forever.
I say to you all, 5201314!

Watch this video on YouTube.

Beauty and Beast at the Post Family

Inspired by the majestic palm trees, reggae rhythms, and island motifs while visiting Jamaica, Rick Valicenti/3st created as series of automatic Picasso-esque drawings that took the form of beauties and beasts.

6:00-9:00 pm
Thursday 6 December
One night only!

Post Family Studio
1821 W Hubbard St #202

The Beauty and Beast series of masks speak in many voices: Picasso, Jamaican, comic and whimsy, and pure Valicenti. Each was rendered by hand and then digitally translated and collaged with assistance from Baozhen Li. The mashup celebrates unique identities and creates a cast of characters or avatars one might assume. The faces blend the lines of race, age, and even species, while maintaining a keen awareness of gender identity associations. ?The resulting portrait masks illustrate sheer otherworldliness.

Beauty and Beast will showcase two European-sized screen prints, a packaged set of the Beauty and Beast books, and a coloring book. All items will be available for purchase in limited quantities at prices that all collectors can afford.

The packaged set will be published by 5×7, a project of the Post Family’s Alex Fuller. The books contain the complete set of digital illustrations. Signed and numbered. $35.

Inside US

Thousands of people pass the Inland Steel Building daily, and beginning last week, they were greeted with a new landscape.

I walked by the Inland Steel Building this morning and I saw the Ark of The Archetypes exhibit. It looks fantastic!
Iker Gil / Architect, Publisher, Educator / MAS Studio, Chicago

The Art Loop Alliance has hosted temporary gallery shows in the western lobby of the Inland Steel Building, but Rick Valicenti’s installation has encouraged more engagement than any show since the pop-up gallery opened.

Ark of the Archetypes:The Politics of Projection is the most engaging exhibition we have had in the program since Alterpolitan, our indoor sculpture garden. Physically representing the polymorphism of our President’s character takes politics and art beyond the propaganda barrier and into an arena of fresh discourse.  I believe the viewers of this exhibition will find that dialogue to be extremely pertinent at this critical time in our political cycle.
Tristan J.M. Hummel / Program Manager, Curator / Chicago Loop Alliance

The installation would not have been possible without the energy and support of the Chicago Design Museum.

U.S. is a timely, overdue, and compelling installation by the incomparable Rick Valicenti of 3st that implores individuals, voters, and passers-by to consider our president under the guise of different archetypes. I encourage you to see it before it’s too late, and please, ensure your sacred, unique voice becomes audible in this election.
Tanner Woodford / Director / Chicago Design Museum

US, Ark of the Archetypes: The Politics of Projection, explores 50 of the personas that the president embodies when he represents our nation. Stop by and see it during gallery hours, 10am-6pm Monday through Friday, through November 17th.

Better yet, be there with Rick on November 5th for a pre-election event starting at 6pm.

John Pobojewski/3st at MAS Context: Analog

We are thrilled with anticipation of the second edition of MAS Context: Analog, MAS Studio’s one-day event happening on Saturday, October 13 at NEW PROJECTS in Chicago.

MAS Context: Analog will gather a group of emerging and established practitioners within the field of design who will discuss their work based on proposed themes. The event will include presentations by artists, academics, architects, urban designers, graphic designers and industrial designers.

Speakers include our very own John Pobojewski at 3pm, as well as Jimenez Lai (Bureau Spectacular), Sean Lally (WEATHERS), David Brown (UIC), Sara C. Aye & George Aye (Greater Good Studio), Andrew Clark (MINIMAL), David Sieren (The Post Family), Ed Marszewski (Co-Prosperity), Marc Fisher (temporary Services), Claire Werner & Sam Vinz (Volume Gallery), and Dieter Roelstraete (MCA).

The event also includes “Architectural Narratives,” an exhibition of the work of Jimenez Lai and Klaus, an onsite bookstore by Half Letter Press, a publishing imprint and an experimental online store initiated by Temporary Services.

The presentations will be followed by a closing party that will include a DJ set by Dieter Roelstraete.

For more information about the event and to RSVP, please check

Hope to see you all there!

Fall Around town with Thirst

On October 4th we kicked off our fall events with an introduction from Rick Valicenti, introducing Erik Spiekermann at his presentation hosted by the STA.

Other venues to see Thirst present their work this fall include:
Oct 12: American Printing History Association Conference, At the Crossroads: Living Letterform Traditions at Columbia College Center for Book and Paper / Rick Valicenti, Keynote Speaker
Oct 13: MAS Context: Analog / John Pobojewski
Oct 17: American Academy of Art Student Presentation / John Pobojewski and Bud Rodecker

Now showing at Bowling Green State University: internationally recognized alumnus Rick Valicenti.

Oct 8-Nov 10: Curiosities, Rick Valicenti and the 21st Century Thirst opens at the Fine Art Center at Bowling Green State University

And later this month, PUBLIC, a design based bicycle company with a mission to improve the quality and character of our cities and public places initiated a project titled PUBLIC WORKS. The project focuses attention and greater awareness to the concept of public space and the value of our civic lives. They invited a group of world-renowned designers, including Valicenti, to interpret the concept of “public” in their own voice and style.

Other participating designers include: Dana Arnett, John Bielenberg, Roz Chast, Frank Chimero, Milton Glaser, Kit Hinrichs, Maira Kalman, Rene Knip, Jamie Koval, Michael Mabry, Geoff McFetridge, Jeremy Mende, Jennifer Morla, Jason Munn, Stefan Sagmeister, Paul Sahre, Paula Scher, Ralph Schraivogel, Jason Schulte, Michael Schwab, Skolos-Wedell, Erik Spiekermann, Jennifer Sterling, Niklaus Troxler, Michael Vanderbyl, Frank Viva, Volume Inc., Jessica Walsh, and Henning Wagenbreth.

The posters will be on display coast to coast this fall, with two dates already booked.

Oct 9: Public Bikes exhibition in San Francisco at the California College of Arts
Oct 18: Public Bikes exhibition in New York City at the Flos Showroom

In addition to our October engagements, Rick Valicenti will be the featured artist in these upcoming Chicago exhibitions.

Nov 5: U.S. Opening Reception @ Inland Steel Building
Dec 7: Beauties and Beasties @ Post Family

See you soon!

Beauties and Beasties

Internationally renowned designer Rick Valicenti, in collaboration with You Are Beautiful, presents a salon installation featuring his latest visual stylings at the Robert Jeffrey Hair Salon at 3436 N Halsted.

The vision of the You Are Beautiful campaign is to focus on the utmost truth that unites us as a people: each individual is intriguing, complex and beautiful. In response to the YAB mission Valicenti submits a series of Beauties and Beasties to delight and intrigue, displayed alongside a sampling of his Notes to Self.

The Beauties and Beasties series speaks in many voices: the masks speak Picasso, Jamaican, Comic, and Valicenti. Each is rendered first by hand and then digitally translated and often collaged with iPhone images taken directly from the magazines in the Robert Jeffrey Hair Salon waiting area. The mash up celebrates our unique identities, creating a cast of characters that are actually avatars we can each assume. The faces blend the lines of race, age, and even species, while maintaining a keen awareness of gender identity associations. The resulting portrait masks illustrate sheer otherworldliness and are available in editions of 3.

Beauties and Beasties will be published as two books in one slip case by 5×7, a project of the Post Family’s Alex Fuller. A coloring book version of all the illustrations will also be made available encouraging public engagement. The first 72 books will contain a hand-colored illustration by Valicenti and be available through 5×7.

Please join us for an evening of strawberries and prosecco, in celebration to this first of fall Chicago installations by Valicenti.

If you can’t make it to the gallery or just want a sneak-peek of the collection, visit

7:00-9:00 pm
Friday 24 August
Robert Jeffery Hair Studio
3436 N Halsted

Show runs: Friday 24 Aug – Oct 19
Opening night: Friday 24 Aug

Partner Organizations
Robert Jeffrey’s Salon
You Are Beautiful
Alex Fuller/ Post Family
Graphic Arts Studio

Workshop: John Pobojewski/3st at SALT Istanbul

John Pobojewski/3st just returned from Istanbul where he made a presentation of the Thirst portfolio and led the first Alphabet of Now workshop filled with 30+ scholars and design practitioners at the cultural institution SALT.

Alphabet of Now aims to explore questions surrounding the recognition of visual language: something we often take for granted. Pobojewski asks: What if we started over today with a new series of symbols? Our ancestors felt the need to document images that represented the world around them: Eye, Hands, Wave, Bowl. If we followed the same model, what would the important concepts of our modern world be? How would we represent them? And what could this new visual language look like as it became abstracted and simplified over time?

Participants were asked to consider the ancient written language of the Sumerians as a model: a series of pictogram images that, over time, became simplified.

Participants then debated the concepts or ideas that we value in our society today. What do we need to document to preserve for generations? It was noted that our modern concepts were very abstract compared to those from the prehistoric age, and tended to represent desires of our society versus us as individuals. Does our group truly deem societal desires most important, or is this simply a result of the context of this workshop?

Each participant was then asked to illustrate a concept using modern technology: either by taking a picture via cell phone camera, or making a gesture into a Kinect motion camera.

We are very interested in hosting this workshop in other institutions, to see how other groups approach the same assignment and how the workshop could evolve. If you think this would be a good fit for your program, please contact us.

About SALT
SALT is a cultural institution in Istanbul that explores critical and timely issues in visual and material culture, and cultivates innovative programs for research and experimental thinking. Assuming an open attitude and establishing itself as a site of learning and debate SALT aims to challenge, excite and provoke its visitors by encouraging them to offer critique and response.

3st in Public

Thirst is popping up across the United States this month!

On the evening of June 6th at 6:30pm, Rick Valicenti/3st and John Pobojewski/3st will showcase several projects at the Lincoln Park Apple store. They will share their creative process and talk about how they embrace and incorporate the latest technologies.

Rick will be participating in Chicago’s Design Week at two events: Creative Mornings on June 15 and Chicago Design Museum’s opening exhibition on June 11th.

At the Chicago Design Museum (, Rick’s contributed an original poster series called ‘Cool Whip’ as part of their Fresh Produced exhibit. Other contributors include Paul Sahre, Martin Venezky, and Plural.

Chicago typographer, Nick Adam, photographs the actual Thirst reference for the Eat Me poster at the Kane County Flea Market.

Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa is now displaying the largest collection of Thirst posters outside of the studio. David Versluis, who earlier this year joined us for his sabbatical, curated the collection, which will be on display through July 15.

On May 15, 2012, at 9:23 AM, David Versluis wrote:

Indeed, the response has been very positive!
Viewers seem to be keenly aware that this exhibition is smart and special with exceptional imagination. Each poster has high visual impact while collectively this body of work is stunning.

The Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum and the Walker Art Center co-curated the show Graphic Design—Now in Production, which explores some of the most vibrant sectors and genres of graphic design today. Intelligent Design by Rick Valicenti/3st, John Pobojewski/3st, Robb Irrgang and Gina Garza is included. The show will be on display through September 3 on Governor’s Island in NYC.

If you can’t make it to any of the above, pick up a copy of FUSE 1-20.

Launched by Neville Brody and Jon Wozencroft in 1991, FUSE established itself as the leading publication on typographic design. It’s influence continues to be known in the design community, and it now lists among it contributors some of the greatest design minds of our time, such as Peter Saville, Cornel Windlin, Ian Anderson, Matthew Carter, Paul Elliman, Tibor Kalman, and Phil Baines.

Rick’s poster Don’t Kill Pretty is documented in the set along with the font ‘Ukin’ Pretty’.

3st at TYPEFORCE 3

In addition to Moving Design’s installation The Incubator at TYPEFORCE 3, 3st is also presenting a new interactive installation called Fraud.

Designed/programmed by 3st’s John Pobojewski and Cameron Brand, Fraud is a digital personality all its own:

Technology uses often uses typography and language to fool the human mind into believing that software is empathetic. But if mankind creates this technology and the language in turn kindles a real human emotion in someone, isn’t that true empathy? Or is the result merely a facsimile? When is emotion really human and when is it an imitation? And how will we, as observers, know the difference?

Come by the gallery and meet Fraud yourself!
Co-Prosperity Sphere
3219 S Morgan St in Bridgeport

Thirst on Display 3 of 3… at the Cultural Center


Rick Valicenti, John Pobojewski, and Bud Rodecker have new work on display in Write Now: Artists and Letterforms, a major exhibition at the Chicago Cultural Center, presented by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, in partnership with the Chicago Office of Tourism and Culture.

The exhibition showcases a diverse range of recent works by more than 60 Chicago artists utilizing letters and text in a wide array of mediums through April 2012.

Rick Valicenti / 3st

The four sumi ink drawings come from a recent series of stream of consciousness word associations triggered by the economic downturn and political/media response.

Valicenti drops ink on heavy Fabriano paper and simply moves the paper encouraging the ink to draw on its own with gravity. While the messages Valicenti focuses on are simple and delightful to say, the issues he speaks of are considerably more complex and messy.


John Pobojewski / 3st

Common Ground is a video installation with custom sound composed in Live using sound-sampled text from different texts of faith, logic, reason, and reflection.

Pobojewski reminds us that “as human beings we search for meaning in our lives, focusing attention on various keys along the search for truth. As time goes on and the video continues, the areas of focus stack on top of one another as the pile grows higher and higher on common ground.

In addition to the video, Pobojewski has two 24 x 36″ images which reveal through typography how much is shared between cultures.

The script words ‘Salam’ (in blue Hebrew) and ‘Shalom’ (in green Arabic) are woven together like a basket. S-L-M is the triconsonantal root of both Sal?m and Shalom, and has been used throughout history as a sign of peace between the two cultures.



Bud Rodecker / 3st

Bud Rodecker displays his Ode to Carl series of silkscreen prints created in early 2011. The passages are from Carl Sandburg’s poem “Chicago” and pays homage to Chicago’s roots, honors Carl Sandburg and brings his words to a new audience.

“Come and show me another city with lifted head singing so proud to be alive and coarse and strong and cunning.”

Thirst on Display 2 of 3… in Lucerne, Switzerland


C2F/ Cybu Richli & Fabienne Burri are very pleased to announce COMMERCE ART, an exhibition at the Weltformat Poster Festival in Lucerne.

COMMERCE ART presents a selection of contemporary, commercial posters of artistic quality and distinctiveness. According to the curators these posters “clearly demonstrate that it is still possible to make high-quality art for commercial clients.”

Rick Valicenti/3st is thrilled to have been included with three posters. Selected posters are from all over the world and their makers range from individual graphic artists to large-scale agencies:

Eboy (Berlin)
Jianping He (Berlin)
Jung von Matt Donau (Wien)
KNSK (Hamburg)
McCann Erickson (Dublin)
Ogilvy (Singapore)
Out of the Box (New Dehli)
Stefan Sagmeister (New York)
Sulzer Sutter (Zürich)
Alex Trochut (Barcelona)
Rick Valicenti (Chicago)

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