I choose James Victore because of the controversy he causes through his work, I think it takes great courage to speak out about major issues in society, and to put a different light on it to make us think about the issues he brings up.
James Victore is a self-taught independent artist and designer, his clients include Moet & Chandon, Aveda, Apple. Currently, James is designing a limited edition plate for Design Within Reach, as well as a line of hand-painted surfboards. His designs are in the permanent collections of the Palais du Louvre and the Library of Congress. Recently a book of his work was published in China. He teaches graphic design at The School of Visual Arts in New York City.
One of his inspirations are, Why has graphic design become so damn boring? James creates controversy whenever he speaks, his presentation will not be for the faint of heart. He mentions in a 2006 interview in Step Inside Magazine, “Swearing for me is like punctuation.” But his work and ideas are as inspiring as they are uncompromising. James transcends the easy classification of designer. He is an unrepentant communicator and activist. James clarifies the idea of personal vision and perspective, and reminds us of the importance of communication in a pluralistic society.
One of Victore’s early works “Celebrate Columbus” poster, a poster for Columbus Day, 1992, casting Christopher Columbus in a decidedly negative light. He hung 5,000 posters around Washington, D.C. and then watched people try to understand them. His biggest thrill came when the police started scraping his posters off the wall. This thrill of creating such a powerful message by working first to please himself and not for a client led him to continue his work.
Victore’s 1993 “Racism” poster was a reaction to increasing racial tensions in New York where a Hasidic Jewish man was involved in a hit and run accident with an African American boy. Just as it was being printed and distributed, the basement garage of one of the former World Trade Center towers was bombed by Arab Islamic terrorists.
He encouraged students to design things that they enjoy and to let the design take a life of its own. Only then does he try to find a client interested in his idea and willing to pay for it.
Victore is currently immersed in the Dirty Dishes project, a line of dinner plates that grew out of an old habit of doodling on restaurant plates. The great reaction to an initial exhibition at Design Within Reach led him to develop his drawings into an entire line of plates.