Graphic Designer, Illustrator, Creator.
Lives and works in Calgary, Alberta.
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When I was growing up, I spent more time burning myself on a hot glue gun than I was doing anything else. I was often found sitting at my desk or the kitchen table, with different coloured sheets of construction paper, tape, scissors, glue (hot glue) anything I could use to create a craft of some sort that would make my mother’s jaw drop in disbelief that I made something. My mother always knew I would become an artist even when I didn’t think so. However, there was this one instance in grade one, where I came home from school with a drawing of a bird. I showed it to her, and she asked who drew it. After that I had a burning passion to create things, whether that be drawing, putting together a diorama, or painting, whatever I could create to make my mother believe that I was a good at art. My grandpa has always reminded my family “Michael’s never going to have a job that requires labor, he’ll be sitting behind a desk designing homes,” and he wasn’t wrong. I have always had a creative passion over anything else in my life and little did I know I was going to become a graphic designer.
I studied at the Medicine Hat College for two years working my way towards a bachelor’s degree in social work, while partaking in some art classes as part of my electives. Not even a year and a half into that program I realized that I no longer wanted to pursue a career in social work, instead focus on my true passion, which was art. After doing some research into possible areas I would like to pursue a creative career, it was my intuitive abilities that directed myself towards becoming a graphic designer, and around Christmas time I didn’t hesitate but to apply for the graphic design program at the Alberta University of the Arts (formerly known as ACAD), in which I was accepted.
I am known to my friends as the “tedious designer,” as I incorporate and revise the small details in my work, that apparently no one would notice but myself. This phenomenon occurs especially when it comes to typography in instances such as kerning letters, leading, attention to hierarchy, or whether or not something is conforming to a grid. Paying close attention to detail is what turn my design problems into a solution, and it’s what put’s my work at the top of the rest.
People describe my personality as colourful, and they aren’t wrong. On top of that, I would describe myself as curious, intuitive, innovative, and ambitious. I never read an instruction manual not because I don’t want to, but because I don’t have to. I have a strong intuitive sense called clair-cognizance that allows me to know and understand instinctively what it is, how it works, and what to do with it.
What separates me from others isn’t the fact that I put my heart, soul, and countless amounts of time into my beautifully perfected pieces, it’s that I’m colourblind. I’m red/green colourblind meaning that red looks brown, brown looks red, green looks like both of those colours, blue and purple look the same colour to me, I can’t tell the difference between yellow and lime green, and for some 20 years I have been colouring trees with a brown pencil crayon. From a very young age in Kindergarten my teachers were aware of this condition, but in life it has never set me back, nor has it in design. If anything, it has made me a stronger designer and communicator, and with the help of my trusty colourblind correcting glasses and colour theory class, I just might be seeing colour better than you can!
Colourblindness affects one-in-twelve men and one-in-two hundred women, and everyone knows someone who is colourblind. I can’t begin to tell you how many posters, books, and illustrations I have ‘seen’ that I cannot without the aid of my glasses. With this condition, I am able to design not only for those who can already see colour fine, but can appeal to a much wider audience so that everyone can see what I create.
In the future I see myself working for a design studio, hopefully in New York. I had the opportunity to travel there and visit design firms and agencies such as Chermayeff & Geismar & Haviv, Golden Wolf Studios, and Buck Design. I had one-on-one conversations with some of the top design firms in the world, and made valuable networking opportunities within the industry.