Meeting Mikey Burton
When I first heard Mikey Burton was coming in to speak to inspiring graphic designers like me, I honestly didn't know anything about him. But I knew I needed to jump on board the excitement train because several of friends and classmates were already Insta-following him and knew so much about him already. It's been one semester since I really (with all my heart) began to pursue graphic design, and I knew I needed a lot of catching up within the design world. I looked at his website, ahem, online portfolio, and what really grabbed my attention was that he possessed an incredibly fun aesthetic! The Willy Wonka of designers if you will. And not only was he gonna give a talk, but he would also speak during my graphic design class and teach us how he uses the blob brush tool in his work. Ummm, #blessed?
During class, while we asked him a variety of questions about his life and work, he was so gracious to show us his amazing sketchbook. I sketch from time to time, but thumbing through the pages of characters, burgers, doodles, and typography, I endured shock and envy. Of course, he's acquired substantial experience than myself, but I was also slightly disheartened. How could I get to that level? Can I even be that creative? But what started as self-doubt turned into determined aspirations and new goals. I decided to dedicate time and effort to my sketchbooks, and challenge myself to create a whole lot of somethings. Maybe one day, I'll even share those somethings to a young hopeful.
Mikey went to Kent State University for graphic design, worked for an ad agency (hated it, but learned a lot), and is now freelancing for editorial pieces and branding projects. And by George, he's so nice! His character contained 0% snob and 100% genuine bear. When he talked to us, he was honest and goofy. Two great characteristics. Before leaving our dinner, I told him that it was wonderful meeting him, that I really appreciated him coming, and we might never meet again, but that's okay. Like a great fella, he insisted that I should never say never and we settled for we'll see each other again one day. WHAT A GUY! Honestly, I would be so honored to cross paths with him again and drink a beer or two.
Overall, there are several key takeaways that I learned during Mikey Burton's visit to Texas A&M.
- Self-motivated projects. Work on projects that stimulate your creativity even if you don't get paid for it. It'll help you be a better designer in the long run.
- Patience. It takes time to hone your skills, find your specific style, get projects done, and even get a job. Don't freak out about it.
- Experiment. Think outside the box when you're creating. Get physical, play around with how paper/inks/scanning/photography/screen printing works, break the rules.
- Grades don't define you. Ever since Elementary school, I also felt like I had to succeed through As. Even today, I need some kind of metric to measure my success as a person. I've been transitioning out of that mindset, but this really helped push me farther. I am not my GPA.
I am so grateful that Mikey got to fly in from New York City to talk to us Fightin' Texas Aggies. It impacted me so much that I started this blog to document this key experience. Thank you so much, Mikey! And the noodle shop I went to in Bushwick was called Little Mo, but they only serve pho on the weekends.
To check out Mikey Burton's website: www.mikeyburton.com
And his Instagram: @mikeyburton