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James Victore: The Simplicity of Being a Genius

Every once in a while we get a little star struck; especially when it comes with discovering a certain creative genius is a fan of us, little ole’ Sharpie! James Victore is just that creative genius. The renowned American art director, designer, and author turned us into screaming fan-girls around here when his team reached out to let us know of James’ Sharpie love. I mean the guy has published a book, held his own awe-inspiring conference, oh, and has had his work exhibited in The Museum of Modern Art. NBD.

We (and by “we,” I obviously mean “me”) stand by our fan-girl status. We also proudly own the possibly embarrassing display that occurred when he asked if he could contribute a guest blog post. I will just leave it at “excessive”. What? He’s awesome.

But enough gushing from me, let the mustached man inspire you to Start with Sharpie for himself and find out what’s next on the horizon for this celebrated genius.

The 'stache. Gets me every time.

There is power in even the simplest of tools…

Graphic Design is an intellectual field, we spread ideas, the images are just the teaspoon of sugar– or vitriol– that we use to cloak the message. I find it satisfying to illuminate ideas using simple tools. In every thing I make, I want to entertain, educate, and enlighten with the simple twist of the cliché—images that are deceptively simple.

Why Sharpie?

My weapons of choice have always been a Sharpie and a pair of scissors. There is something so honest about ink on paper. Black and white is truth. For me, there is no quicker way to get thoughts on paper—the pen is my freedom. Even today, a Sharpie and an opinion is worth more and stronger than the shrewdest marketing strategy.

I’ve used Sharpie pens in work for all my clients; Esquire Magazine, Aveda, Moet Chandon, Bobbie Brown, the City of New York, The New York Times and Time Magazine. Most of my work hanging in the MoMA was made with Sharpies. (SEE! Let’s see you try to not drop your jaw)

Moet

I begin every job by sketching. Just putting thoughts on paper– trying not to judge or evaluate too soon– just rough first drafts. Later I refine these, but too well. I rarely use the computer to clean up or alter hand-made marks. I try to leave all the fingerprints. Today’s reliance on technology makes the human mark even more impactful and memorable.

What’s Next?

“Take This Job & Love It”. Was a day-long symposium here in New York on September 29th. I spent the day discussing creativity—and how you to reclaim it in your own life. A big part of that is showing you how to lose your hang-ups, the things that stifle your creativity and to start thinking about the things you create as a “gift”. By believing your work is a “gift” it radically changes what you create. I think this is a revolutionary idea. it’s no longer about client approval or a paycheck, but aspiring to make work that has meaning and purpose in your life and for your audience.

The next big design project here in my studio is a poster series called “New York I Love You, But…” We will be designing a series of faux motivational posters to hang throughout NYC—simple reminders of core values and philosophy like personal responsibility, etiquette, and discipline—not preachy, just honest.

One of these posters uses the 1960′s classic icon “Hang In There Kitty” as a starting point. Our poster will say “Let Go Kitty” meaning let go of fixed thinking, of the status quo forget all the preconceived notions of what life is supposed to be like. Look for it on Kickstarter this fall.

James Victore…

in the MoMA

http://www.moma.org/collection/artist.php?artist_id=35811

Website

http://www.jamesvictore.com/

Take This Job & Love It

http://www.jamesvictore.com/takethisjob

2 thoughts on “James Victore: The Simplicity of Being a Genius

  1. Pingback: Get Brand Creative like Sharpie, or Die Trying

  2. Valuable info. Lucky me I found your web site by accident, and I’m shocked why this accident did not happened earlier! I bookmarked it.

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