This original series, by Portland, Oregon designer Joe Wirtheim, seeks to embody the progressive spirit of the 21st Century, while using the familiar vernacular of America’s mid-century poster styles. The "Victory Garden of Tomorrow" is a graphic art campaign committed to civic innovation and social progress today— better food, better gardens, better cities. It is propaganda art that focuses on the modern home-front, school-front, front yard or back yard.
The VGoT was first the title of a few poster prints that I made in 2007, while working at a Columbus, Ohio food coop and attending school for Graphic Communication. I guess the two cross-pollinated and the results have become an ongoing series of collectible illustrated posters about food and community. I still get really excited about edible school gardens, city bicycles, home cooking, backyard chickens, beekeeping, rooftop gardens and really anything that brings health and activity to people's lives. Cooking has become my personal focus this past year or so, since I don’t have the space for chickens any more.
I’m also very interested in the nature of craft and making. I work with talented screen printers to make many of my prints. And now sewing has become a practical interest of mine, and I love producing my new canvas bags. Here at my studio I have a little wood-working area where I make my own wooden poster frames. I love things that are neat and uncommon, so that’s what my studio produces.
My basic aim is to spread the conversation about food, health and confronting industrial foods, while connecting that to our identity as neighbors and consumers. The project is dedicated to the new generation of Americans who are working to re-energize our cities, communities and homes.
I'm Joe Wirtheim and here at my design studio, I love what I do: draw, think, make and do. It's my passion to communicate graphically and put creative ideas into action that drives me. I use illustration, type, color and layout to excite the viewer's imagination. I turn these graphic ideas into quality goods, which, I'm proud to say, are made here in the USA.
My design work has been recognized by Martha Stewart Living Magazine, by Organic Gardening Magazine, by the Portland Art Museum, the Design Museum Boston, among others, and our goods can be found in fine shops and homes across the United States.
This project is something I craft, in collaboration with others, at my tiny design studio in Portland, Oregon. I collaborate frequently with community groups, such as The Queen Anne Farmers Market in Seattle, the Just Food Conference in NYC, or the Funky Chicken Coop Tour in Austin. My posters do service for and are inspired by folks like these.
More Bio on Joe
I'm originally from a working-class suburb of Dayton, Ohio where I first studied industrial engineering. I was 25 when I quit my engineering job to go back to school for graphic design at a community college. I painted houses and worked at a food co-op to make it happen. By 2007 I had begun screenprinting posters that were retro yet modern and spoke to an alternative narrative for Americans. I just saw things differently and I wanted to enjoy making something positive. A move to Portland enabled more school: a B.S. in Communication, Urban Studies and Journalism. And now a design studio where I'm constantly over-using the word 'neat'.
I currently live in SE Portland with my lovely wife, Taylor who is an elementary school teacher.
The Places We've Been
2014, Feast and Famine exhibit at the Portland Art Museum, Portland, Oregon. Curated by Mary Weaver Chapin, PhD
2014, Medium and the Message exhibit at the Prague Design Center, Prague, Czech Republic.
2014, Green Patriot Posters exhibit at the Design Museum Boston, Boston, Massachusetts.
2013 - May, custom cover illustraiton for Organic Gardening Magazine
2013 - current, Graphic Advocacy exhibit at Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Boston, MA. Curated by Elizabeth Resnick, Phd
2013 August, Horticult, blog feature article and interview http://thehorticult.com/yield-strength-victory-garden-of-tomorrow-founder-on-urban-farms-and-plant-based-propaganda/
2012 December, custom cover illustration of 1859 Oregon Magazine and feature article and interview
2012 November, These Salty Oats, blog feature article https://thesesaltyoats.com/posts/food_culture_and_politics/the_victory_garden_of_tomorrow
2012 Spring issue, Folk Magazine, feature article and interview
2011 April, feature in Martha Stewart Living Magazine and product appearance on Martha Stewart Living television program
2010 May, feature in Martha Stewart’s Whole Living magazine