Artist James Victore Speaks to Design Students

BY LAURA KRUG
PHOTOS BY TREVOR PFEIFER

On Friday, March 6th, the student-led graphic design organization AIGA invited art director James Victore to speak to students of the Fort Hays Department of Art and Design. Victore’s work is internationally known and is in the collection of the Musem of Modern Art; his conceptual posters helped inspire the senior graphic design student’s political poster assignment. His colorful personality had students engaged throughout the day in the dialogue about design.

Victore gave a lecture on his work on the morning of Friday and then offered a creative thinking workshop to students in the Schmidt Foundation Center for Art and Design in the afternoon.

Graduate student MaKinlie Hennes is the president of the AIGA chapter at FHSU and helped to coordinate James Victore’s visit. 

“All of our design students learn about his unique style and passion for wild ideas in Karrie Simpson-Voth’s (our advisor) History of Graphic Design course,” Hennes said. “We thought this would be a perfect opportunity to intertwine our curriculum with the industry of design,” 

Faculty and students hoped that they could receive real-world advice from a professional who works in the industry of design.

Over 50 art students gathered to Victore’s morning lecture. Victore spoke from his life experience as a designer of posters and book covers for clients around the world. Even though he was unable to graduate from college, Victore learned life lessons about design through mentors and by being in the workforce. He emphasized that in creative projects you should make your work reflective of yourself and what you believe in. 

“Your opinion has value and people want to hear it,” Victore said. 

He encouraged students to do hard work, trust their gut, and to believe in themselves. He also noted that self-care and self-love are important as you navigate the creative industry.

“Know who you are, what you want, and where you are going in life and you can do anything,” Victore said.

During the workshop, Victore encouraged students to practice out of the box thinking by drawing simple representations of abstract concepts. 

“The importance of having a supportive environment for students in the Art and Design Department at Fort Hays was reinforced,” Simpson-Voth said. 

In graphic design classes and in other art disciplines, instructors value students’ work and critique it to help them improve. 

“We know that our department gives students meaningful critiques. The importance of our professors really caring about students as individuals was reinforced,” Simpson-Voth said in light of Victore’s workshop.

After James Victore’s visit, art and design students learned an important lesson about hard work, professionalism, respect for others, and that speaking truth in your work and life will lead you to success as a designer.

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