When I first saw the work of James Victore it was big and loud and had something to say. It wasn’t a part of all the graphic design noise that’s out there – it stood on its own. His posters are in NY MOMA’s permanent collection. He’s an artist, designer, teacher, taste maker, extreme creative force, and one of the most authentic and generous people I’ve ever had the pleasure of getting to know.
While I was in graduate school at the School of Visual Arts in NYC, I signed up for his summer intensive, a week long class on poster design. It changed the way I thought about my work, reminded me to embrace my imperfections and grab life by the balls. One of my favorite moments was sitting on the floor of his Williamsburg loft with the other students, talking about design and life while eating the most amazing homemade pie that his wife Laura made.
Years later I asked James if he would be the headline guest speaker for a budding graphic design program I was building at a small art college, and he graciously agreed. The event left an imprint on the student body that can’t be put into words. Students that I thought didn’t care about their work suddenly came to life after his talk. They started making work that actually had some meat to it. They all signed up for his newsletter and dedicatedly watched his weekly Burning Questions video. One student in particular told me that James Victore changed her life; she was from a small town and grew up sheltered, never really believed in herself or cared about the work she was doing. She suddenly had an opinion and was excited about the stuff she was making. She transformed into the designer she was meant to be.
James Victore does just that. He changes lives. He says stuff that make you nod your head in agreement, he inspires you to be your best self and embrace life. He reminds you what it means to be creative and how important it is to make stuff and put it out there in the world.
It’s worth noting that the poster class I attended was was $700