Jesse Paul Warren
A Designer*
Jesse Paul Warren
a designer*
It Is Possible
Campaign for State Representative in Burlington, VT, with an emphasis on integrating art.
Designer + Candidate

In 2020, a seat opened up in my state legislative district in Burlington, so I ran for it.

"IT IS POSSIBLE" was the theme. The message was that big ideas that change the world are possible to do, even though there is always a chorus who calls them impossible or impractical at the time.

The creative work of the campaign was interesting, and I'm proud of it. But the most interesting thing is that I lost. And it taught me, more viscerally than ever, the importance of failing early and often.

Some people hold on to unfollowed dreams until the day they die: running for office, starting a business, opening a restaurant, traveling the world. The tragedy is not that you might succeed if you try, or that you have to live with the regret of not trying. It's that if you give it a shot, whether you succeed or fail, the space in your mind where you kept that old dream is freed up to be filled by a new one. That's the only way to evolve.

So try the things you think about trying. It's the only way to get somewhere.


With help shooting from a friend, I wrote, edited and produced this video to communicate the theme of the campaign.

The concept was that every big idea that has changed the world has been called impossible by a chorus of naysayers. Yet we did them anyway, and the world is better of for it.

If you keep that in mind, the naysayers became a lot easier to deal with.


I knew I wanted to incorporate art into the campaign. The first art piece, "A New Kind Of Growth" was a reference to the earliest known human art — cave paintings where they blew the ink over their hands to create an outline on the wall. I had heard about these in Werner Herzog's Cave of Forgotten Dreams.

We sent these 52 pieces to the campaign's earliest supporters and donors.

The point I wanted to make was that since that early example of humanity shaping the world around us, we've done so many things that would have been considered impossible, and we can continue to do so. But that now, the challenge we have to is not external, but something within.


This is a video we published at the time, introducing the prints and discussing their message.


I wanted the mailers to include something that might stay in people's memory longer than a throwaway piece of political lit. I had tried this with the booklet in my 2018 run for City Council, but there wasn't time or money for something of that scale at the moment.

We ended up going with a business-card sized magnet with the campaign's tagline. The idea was that people might put them up on their fridge, keeping the theme of the campaign in their minds. I still sometimes find them on refrigerators or mailboxes in my neighborhood.


A video introducing the magnets.


Another project was the "Wall of Impossible Ideas". It was a large bulletin board hung on two posts in my front yard. I live in a street with a lot of foot traffic. The idea was that people could add an idea that might be called "impossible", but that was actually achievable. It ended up becoming more like a general, politically-focused bulletin board.


We also experimented with a digital version of "The Wall Of Impossible Ideas", a website at We would update the digital wall when new notes were added to the physical wall, and vice versa.


In the end, I lost. But I took moments like these, when I walked outside to find a bird sitting on my lawn sign, as little signs that I was on the right path.