James Victore at Made by Few: The Best Work is Authentic

by Mark Carter  on Friday, Aug. 22, 2014 1:14 pm  

New York designer/artist James Victore speaks to a packed house at the Argenta Community Theater on the opening day of the 2014 Made by Few conference. (Photo by Mark Carter)

James Victore, the renowned New York independent designer/artist, isn't a fan of working for the sake of a paycheck. Oh, he understands capitalism and even does a decent job of engaging it

But good work comes from being authentic, he told designers, graphic artists and other "makers of the web" gathered for the 2014 Made by Few tech conference that began Friday at the Argenta Community Theater in downtown North Little Rock.

"Don't make stuff up," he said. "Your best stuff comes from inside."

The outspoken Victore, who used a more secular word for 'stuff,' delivered a talk peppered with profanity -- he dropped F-bombs like Allied planes over Germany -- and stressed that "your audience is dying for honest communication."

"Your clients' best move was to hire you," he said.

Victore's own award-winning work is considered edgy, including his AIDS awareness posters promoting the use of condoms and his "dead Indian" poster created in response to New York City's 1992 celebration of the 500th anniversary of Columbus' landing in the New World.

He advised audience members to bring their own "edge" to their work.

"Don't be a 'graphic designer,'" he said. "Get paid to be you. Your work is a gift. The more authentic you can be, the more value your work is going to have."

Other paraphrased nuggets from Victore:

  • Work to make yourself happy.
  • (On typography) Nobody cares what your work looks like if you're not saying something meaningful.
  • Lunch is where all the good ideas come from. The studio is where you duct tape it all together.
  • Praise in public, chastise in private.
  • Make your work an opportunity for greatness as opposed to falling into a "get it done and get paid" routine.

Joining Victore in Friday's morning session was digital designer Alex Estrada of Birchbox. Making her first public appearance, Estrada focused on communicating design to an audience that doesn't necessarily understand design and therefore can't provide constructive feedback.

The afternoon session runs through 5 p.m. Friday, and the popular Designed by Few component to the conference will begin at 7 p.m. from the Bill & Margaret Clark Room in the Ottenheimer Market Hall on Clinton Avenue in Little Rock.

Saturday's sessions begin at 9 a.m. and will run all day from Argenta.



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