The Victory Garden of Tomorrow is a self-commissioned poster and design project that harnesses the imagination to explore notions of our identities as Americans, as neighbors, and as consumers. It is committed to civic innovation and social progress — better food, better gardens, and better cities. It is design, politics and whimsy for the modern home front.
I'm Joe Wirtheim and this project, The Victory Garden of Tomorrow, is something I craft in collaboration with others in my tiny, eco-conscious Communication Design studio in Portland, Oregon. Learn more here.
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I am a true believer in the power of the imagination to energize change in the world. I hope it doesn't sound too naive to say I also believe expanding our imaginations will help us find the courage to confront and transform stagnant industrial cultures, especially around food, housing and craftsmanship. Renewed by an eager generation of young people, and emboldened by criticism of our industrial systems, I feel we are at an exciting point to reinvent 21st century America.
I am asking you to imagine what a diverse, dynamic and unexpected place a "victory garden of tomorrow" might actually look like. I like to draw from our shared history of overcoming adversity and our knack for re-building our nation for the better. Consider the exuberance and imaginative renewal of the 1939-40 "New York World's Fair" and contrast it with the home-bound resourcefulness of the 1944 Victory Garden movement. Here's a chance to re-connect with our legacy of overcoming challenges--we've done it before, we can do it again.
Poster graphics, too, have a long history of capturing the imagination and being tools of propaganda. My goal as an artist and garden-variety propagandist is to create meaningful messages around these broad themes that open the imagination to the possibilities of the 21st century. I'd like to spread the vision of a future that is sustainable and dynamic, while staying connected to our legacy of ingenuity, invention and diverse community.
Creating posters for the VGoT has allowed me to connect with the long history of sign painting and print making. The craft of the sign-maker is fascinating and the results consistently excite me. There's something about graphic posters that turn on the imagination in a special, exciting way.
Everything coming from our studio is designed with care and made with integrity. We're proud of our vendors and have chosen them with care and deliberation. Our offset prints are made at a small, literally mom and pop, print shop in Portland, Oregon. Our screen prints are crafted with the help of another family-operated print studio, working out of their basement workplace. All of our T-shirts are organic cotton and we're currently phasing in all Alternative Apparel brand organic shirts, made in Peru. Their quality, comfort and longevity is excellent.
For me, working on this project, creating this poster collection has been a great amount of fun, and I've learned so much about art, design, and process - and I've got a lot more to learn yet. There are plenty more ideas, and thanks to the support of many friends and fans of the work I can keep it going. Thank You!