Workshop Smackdown

Posted inThe Daily Heller
Thumbnail for Workshop Smackdown

For the third Summer the three tenors known as Paul Sahre, James Victore and Jan Wilker will conduct their intensive design workshop at the New York Art Directors Club. Check the website for the when and how. I asked James Victore for the why?

This is your third year. What do you get out of this workshop?Paul, Jan and I all have our own reasons for doing these workshops, but there are some commonalities. The most obvious of which is to challenge ourselves outside of our own classrooms. We love the teaching/sharing process and this gives us the opportunity, in an intense format, to play with the ideas we have about design and it’s use. For example, everyday we have one or two mini-exhibitions. These range from me mounting an exhibition of every single spread from every single Saul Steinberg book I have, or inviting Nicholas Blechman and Brian Rea to create a live mural, or having a show of some of the most bizarre books from our collections (Diseases of the Oral Mucosa, illustrated). We don’t always have these opportunities in our regular teaching. What do you teach that no one else can?The idea that binds us together is that “We agree to disagree.” Paul will chime in when I am teaching, I may add to or question what Jan does, etc. We are completely free to question the others viewpoint. This is actually in interesting point for the students. That design is not math.

What about your method is unique?

My teaching is based on the “idea.” I try to illuminate the very simple, reductive process of looking inside yourself to find an answer. I come from designers like Tomaszewski and George Lois or Robert Brownjohn; graphic thinkers who can (forgive the lousy metaphor) crush a lump of coal in their bare hands until it turns into a diamond.

Tell me, honestly, can good design be taught?I think it can be taught, but better yet, it can be nurtured and made excitable. This is what we try to do. We love our jobs and want others to love theirs.

About Steven Heller

Steven Heller is the co-chair of the SVA MFA Designer /Designer as Author + Entrepreneur program, writes frequently for Wired and Design Observer. He is also the author of over 170 books on design and visual culture. He received the 1999 AIGA Medal and is the 2011 recipient of the Smithsonian National Design Award.View all posts by Steven Heller →