Episode 20: Meet James Victore, Designer, Author and Activist

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Show Notes

A few weeks ago, I got to sit down for a chat with one of my favorite creatives: James Victore.

James Victore is a dirt bike rider and a surfer, but he is also one of the most prominent graphic designers and pop artists of his generation. His work was exposed (twice!) at New York’s Museum of Modern Art. You can find his work in museums around the world. James is a master in poster design and has been teaching graphic design in New York for the past 20 years. He has worked for prestigious clients such as Adobe, Mailchimp, and Moet & Chandon. In fact you may recognize his work from time to time, on the covers of Esquire Magazine, Time Magazine and on the covers of the entire collection of Do Books.

It’s a bit tricky to boil down James Victore to just design. He is constantly learning and flexing his skills. He is passionate about teaching and if you do get the chance to follow one of his classes (on Skillshare for example), you’ll find he’s an excellent teacher. But the role of a teacher is mostly to inspire, and to motivate. James receives invitations from around the world for his motivational talks and coaches many a creative and business owner. If you join him on YouTube or Instagram, you’ll find him spreading his Dangerous Ideas, and giving creatives the pep talk they need.

James’ work is witty, subversive, radical and of course a bunch of fun. Some say he’s part Darth Vador, part Yoda. If you don’t know him yet, you’ll probably hear a lot about him in the near future.

His latest book, Feck Perfuction: Dangerous Ideas and the Business of Life, has just come out and is already a #1 bestseller on Amazon. I was truly honored (and quite intimidated) to have him on my podcast.

If you hadn’t noticed by now, I’m a huge fan!

This episode is for the creatives out there. In this episode we talk about why creatives must have their own opinion and their own voice:

“Having an opinion is the best tool. It’s the strongest tool. And if you don’t have an opinion and don’t put it in your work, you’re gonna get bored with this business real soon. ‘Cause then your objective is to make other people happy, and that’s boring really quick! It’s like being in a relationship and not being yourself, you’re making your partner happy all the time to the point where you’re frustrated all the time. The sin is, that if you keep doing that, if you don’t have an opinion, and you don’t put it in your work, you’ll never find out what you’re capable of. You’ll never find out the power of your voice. You’ll never see people laughing at what you’ve created or crying at what you’ve created. And that’s a shame.” — James Victore

Having your own voice also means having your own style in graphic design (or in any other creative business for that matter).

“We want to emulate the masters. But the masters aren’t us. Then (…) your work looks like theirs, it doesn’t look like yours. It’s funny because I sometimes run from the marks that I make, I’m like « oh my god that is so, bad, or childish, or immature or unprofessional » and then, when I publish it, or when send it off to my client, they love it. They love all the little hairs and extra marks and mistakes.” -James Victore

We talk about James’ book Feck Perfuction, Dangerous Ideas on the Business of Life:


“The book has ended up, being like a kit of power tools for a creative person. It’s broken up into 6 chapters , and to me they are the journey of the hero. It takes you from finding your voice, and dealing with the fear and learning how to just start, all the way through to finding a purpose.
Because I think that what most people lack in their lives, is a purpose. A purpose is what gets you out of bed in the morning with a hard-on going « Yeah lets go do this! ». You know? Most people get out of bed with a purpose when they’re going on vacation! Like, once or twice a year they have a purpose.” — James Victore

Whether you’re in business, parenting or in design, James Victore is about to share his knowledge and this is really cool .

“The ideas that we talk about in the book are applicable not only to the creative world, but to the business world, and what I’ve realized as well, is the parenting world. Because we want perfection from our kids. And we ride them hard on that sometimes. Or we want them to fulfill our assumptions, instead of seeing any value in letting them form an opinion.” — James Victore

We also get a glimpse of what kind of a surfer James is and his experience surfing the waves of New York and Costa Rica.
When asked how he feels when he used to go surfing with his mates, he replies:

“I always tell people, nobody has more fun than I. I’m happy to be out, past the break, floating at 5 o’clock in the morning. We were like like dawn patrol. We were like waiting for the sun to come up, waiting for the fish to stop feeding” — James Victore

You can pursue the pep talk by joining James on his many networks:

YouTube and Instagram. You can go further by supporting him on Patreon and listening to his own Podcast: the Dangerous Ideas Podcast.
The quickest way to connect, meet, and purchase James’ work, is via his website www.jamesvictore.com.
The next Rancho Victore retreat is in May (10th — 12th 2019). It’s in Texas, so perhaps you can bring a board with you and surf the wave pool in Waco! European fans can see James in action at the Offf Festival in Barcelona on the 25th of April.

Thank you James for being such a great guest! I had such a fun time recording it! I hope you enjoy listening to it.

Until next week, take care, have fun and enjoy the waves




Feck Perfuction: Dangerous Ideas on the Business of Life — get the book : www.feckperfuction.com or order it on Amazon

Who Died and Made you Boss? by James Victore : get the book on Amazon

Skillshare : follow James’ class on Radical Typography

Book your spot on Rancho Victore

Support James Victore on Patreon

Download Trump protest posters here and share them on your social networks: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/92e4i200hpfemmm/AAD5FL-cT4iAqdX_NaP7_ExCa?dl=0

Gary Danko Chef : http://garydanko.com/

AM Cassandre : https://www.cassandre.fr

Do Books (James designed all the covers)

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