The namesake "Visual Mafia" came from a fascination with the subversive 'get things done' group of family and friends, otherwise known as Cosa Nostra. The Visual Mafia was founded (while studying at The School of Visual Arts in Manhattan) on principles of collectivism and democratic exchange. Living and working together in Manhattan, designing various social, commercial and cultural identities, packaging systems and branding, as well as environmental and early web experiences, the Visual Mafia had its hands in just about everything in the realm of design. This studio work supported their extracurricular activity and primary passion—employing the poster as a tool and subverting advertising locations to cultivate discussion, rather than desire. We also had the most fun while doing it.
Todd Anderson, Christopher Garvey, Nick Bilton, Matthew McGuinness, and Morgan Sheasby were the Visual Mafia’s founding members in 1996. Membership extended to include Andrei Kallaur in 1997.