Using your powers for good pt 2

Originally published at gapajobmagazine.com

Case 2: Michael Beasley, Graphic Designer

Michael applies decals on the Bob Barker's new camo paint scheme 2011

Michael began his studies at Swinburne University, where he studied Communication Design. But two years of study changed his perspective on the mainstream industry and he decided he wanted no part of it. “I…was expecting to be taking on projects from a range of companies, groups and individuals regardless of whether I was fully aligned with their values or not.

Disillusioned, he dropped out. However, during that direction-less time he was approached by a local environmental grass root collective who asked him to do a poster design. The work utilized his skills and satisfied his new found values, so it seemed natural to continue doing this when other groups approached him through word of mouth. He learned that “grass roots organisations and initiatives needed their own professional branding and material but lacked the funding for it, something that is desperately needed at a time when environmental issues are reaching a crises point.”

In 2010 Michael was offered a position on an anti-whaling and marine conservation ship with Sea Shepherd, where he divided his time between deckhand work and design work. The entire exterior of the ship now bears his design, and he continues to live aboard the vessel, designing for Sea Shepherd and multiple other not for profit groups.

When asked why he gave up his career path and its potential spoils for his current life he sums it up neatly. “I could find employment as a professional designer and save up to buy a fancy car and a nice house but none of that matters if our planet can’t support life. I want to protect our natural life support systems for the sake of my nephews, my family, my friends and everyone I love. I want to do the right thing.”

So does Michael have any advice for younger students wanting to work towards something more meaningful? “There is, without a doubt, more need for people to design and share information than ever before. Fresh creative minds are integral to the shift towards a better, safer world for all. Everyone has the ability to make a positive change in the world, you just need to work out where your strengths lie, ask yourself what matters most to you then take the first step. Start off small. If your first attempt fails move onto the next approach.

The most valuable and truly rewarding work I’ve undertaken has been for not-for-profit organisations. I feel good knowing that my work is going towards a good cause. We have one life and one opportunity. These are our most valuable possessions. It’s only logical that we make the most of them.”

 

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