The gospel of James Victore is not new, but it is revolutionary; stop being distracted, be conscious and act with intention, ask for more creativity, and perhaps most unique to this fiery hip-mustachioed man, treat your work as a gift.
Victore is known internationally for his particular blend of fierceness and Yoda-like resolve. The brooklyn-based designer and educator shared his wisdom on getting paid to design at the 99% Conference in New York City. And while his gospel is not new, his unwieldy charisma and refusal to be nice for nice sake elevates it from the realm of cliche.
You mentioned “making decisions” earlier as part of the way you function efficiently. Do you think a lot of people get bogged down by that? Part of the problem these days is there’s so much choice. At some point, someone just has to say: We’re going to do it like this because I want to do it this way. Because, if you don’t, you’re going to be churning out oatmeal. You look at some graphic design today, and you can tell that nobody is in charge.
You have this quotation on your book cover from William James, “Distraction is the most corrosive disease of the 20th century.” Why’d you choose that? Distraction today is this [points to my iPhone, which is recording our conversation]. I believe that these things are killing our discipline, killing our ability for solitude, and killing our ability to be bored. Children need to learn how to be bored. They don’t need to be entertained all the time.
So you like time away from computers. Do you do all of your sketching and writing on paper? Paper, and not in the studio. I’ll go to a bar or a restaurant. When I did the book, I left the studio every morning and I went to the park and sat for an hour, hour and half. I brought an idea, and I wrote longhand in one of these big sketchbooks. Then I would come into the studio and work during the day. Afterwards, at 4 or 5 o’clock, I’d go to my bar, sit with a beer or two, and refine it. Or write on a new idea. So it became this really nice process of every day. And it became a habit.
I can’t do the think-work in the studio. The studio’s for putting stuff together – for work-work. And if we’re not doing work-work, then we leave. How many great architecture ideas have been drawn on napkins? Because they’re free, they’re not thinking about work.