Shooting from the lip

James Victore is an independent graphic designer whose posters hang in many permanent collections around the world.

First Published in

Despite the very prominent museum and gallery walls that his posters grace, the best compliment James Victore ever received - by his own admission - was having the New York police rip his "Celebrate Columbus" posters off the 5th Avenue lampposts on Columbus Day.

Why? Because with James Victore, that's what it's about. Showing the other side. Telling it how it is. And not always subtly if the situation demands it. In an age of rampant conciliation, his approach is refreshingly un-PC, yet it never strays from the truth. It is at this delicate fulcrum that his success lies.

"'The poster is to art what rape is to love.' A famous French poster artist said it and it's brutal, but I believe it," says Victore. "Every poster is a tool. It's an opportunity to make some change; to create something memorable; to make people think. I want passers-by not to get it the first time they see my poster. I want them to figure it out for themselves."

Through a variety of media, Victore demonstrates the potentially explosive role that graphic design plays in shaping our lives and challenging our [mis]perceptions. Look no further than the "Disneyfication" posters, or "The Death Penalty Mocks Justice" with its American flag tongue. "_ _ G G _ R" speaks volumes. It is this combination of unashamed disruption and intuitive empathy that is the hallmark of James Victore's work.

"You can't always do things that make other people happy. Nelson Mandela said it best in his inaugural speech: 'Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.' Your playing small does not serve the world. There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.'

"The public is over-conditioned. If I can make them think, by any means necessary, I will."

Victore doesn't need to convince us that he's doing exactly that. his posters speaks volumes.