Richard Russell
Graphic Designer for Rite Chocolate

The main reason meeting Richard is memorable is because he was drop-dead gorgeous. That... and he had a bit of an attitude. Cocky, really. There weren't many topics you could bring up where Richard wasn't going to have an opinion. I loved that. Conversations with him were never dull.

I found out pretty quickly that Richard fancied himself an artist. This wasn't anything new. Almost everyone in Atlanta fancied themselves artists – myself included. (At the time, I was taking found objects from construction sites and marrying them with bits of poetry written on scratch paper. This was oh-so-unique and très cool... or so I'd convinced myself.) So, when I went to Richard's house for the first time, I thought I would find something equally as transparent as my lint collection or the Pollock rip-offs that I'd been working on.

His apartment appeared chaotic, but upon closer inspection I realized the anality of his object placement. This is what Richard and I have in common: a need for order and beauty that no one else can rationalize. Each trinket, each little object d'art had its place in the grand scheme of things, daring the viewer to question its right to be there. I watched him as he talked about what he was doing – a bit shy, but passionate, and always with a pressing need to communicate his visions.

I am now 20 years into this friendship and little has changed. Richard is still passionate, still a little self-effacing, and still pushing the communication agenda. He's mellowed a bit though, incorporating the world into who he is and who he is becoming. He still has a bit of an attitude, but has become a better listener. As always, conversations are never dull.

When I asked him to do the artwork for my logo and label, I knew he would get the feeling I wanted to convey. I told him I was looking to evoke an experience, a spiritual awakening – all while pushing an increase in chocolate consumption. I wanted eating – and specifically my chocolate – to (re-)become a rite, a way to assert ourselves back into the Great Whirl of Oneness. I knew I could say these things to him and he wouldn't laugh, would understand the breadth of what I was trying to capture. Within a few days, he came back with artwork that is very close to the final draft that you see here. I knew that seeing different ideas wasn't going to be necessary; Richard got it.

As well as being my graphic designer, Richard is also my Resident Chocolate Muse. Very few people sit outside the box the way I do. (Morgan is another of the exceptions.) Richard's palate and sense of culinary adventure have made him a perfect partner. Several of the flavours I have on offer are because of his inspiration.

Thank you, Richard, for your talent, your taste, and your friendship. I am truly blessed.

Lisa Marie Lindenschmidt
August 2010

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