Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Rick Helf: Bicyclist, Artist, NOPA Fan

Art that keeps his mind "firmly planted on the rightside"

Rick Helf

Image: Rick Helf www.helf.com

Rick Helf started bicycling in San Francisco in 1977 -- a time when train tracks crossed and lined so many city streets. He still looks out for them, although they've been gone for years. He lived on the corner of Laguna and Pacific and always ended his rides with one of the steepest hills in the city.

Although he now lives in Marin, Helf still bikes into and around San Francisco. Last year, he combined his love of bicycling with his passion for design and illustration by creating the distinctive images that announced the monthly NOPA VELO bike rides. His NOPA VELO premiere featured one-time radical Patty Hearst heavily armed with a bike frame. Riders now anticipate the new images that get them spinning each ride. Rick also created the design for Cyprian's, the new performance venue in NOPA at Turk and Lyon.

Helf's work appears throughout San Francisco and reflects his remarkably diverse talent. He mentioned a few of the locations for his designs and illustrations.
"I worked on the Keyhole house at Bay and Columbus with Flying Colors back in 1979. My painting is still up on Kearny street at the steps. I have done permanent historic exhibits at the US Customs House in SF, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and the International terminal at SFO. I've completed historic books on the Ninth Circuit Court Building, and the California Supreme Court Building."
On a grander scale, Helf just completed a 6000 square foot mural on the side of a transport ship.

The North Panhandle seems to have found a fan in Helf. His most recent undertaking is an exhibit of new work at Mini Bar on Divisadero. He considers these pieces a return to fine art and a way to stretch his creativity and "keep my mind firmly planted on the rightside." They reflect his interest in "the progress and the beauty in the aging process, in the case of these works, leaves." Helf's art at the exhibit has been called contemporary Momento Mori (Remember You Are Mortal). But he said he prefers to live by Momento Vivre (Remember To Live).

To see previous NOPA VELO posters, check here.

Image: Rick Helf www.helf.com


  1. Love that guy! And those posters. NOPA VELO fans pleasejoin us Monday nite at the MINI. Be our guests for refreshments and see more of Rick's fabulous art
    RVSP appreciated but not required. We look forward to seeing you!

  2. Another talent of Rick's is that he makes quite a fine Euro-style wine!

    Hope to make the open house.