Graduated in 2014 with a major in Electronic Production and Design. Principal instrument: upright bass.
Position: UI/UX (User Interface/User Experience) designer at Ford Motor Company. One of several dozen employees in Ford’s digital experience group, Beau creates mostly 3D graphics and animations which are used in the display of new cars. For example, he creates animations that illustrate the drive modes in the electric Mustang Mach-E as well as graphics which will illustrate airflow around the cabin. Working from home as of mid-2021, his day consists of a few meetings where graphics are reviewed and mostly producing new graphics and illustrations, sometimes with some back-and-forth with other departments.
Overview: Beau was already interested in technology, and always very visual. While at Berklee he got interested in a graphic artist “Beeple” who would put up a new illustration or video every day. After graduation, Beau moved back home to the Atlanta area and looked for a job in music technology, but he wasn’t having any luck. After six months he started splitting his time between job searching and teaching himself 3D animation, initially as a hobby. Determined to get better, he posted a new image every day, always pushing himself to do things he hadn’t done before, teaching himself via his own exploration as well as tutorials on Google and YouTube. He’d post his images to Instagram, and built up a following of over 20,000. He picked up a bit of freelance work, and by the end of 2015 Beau had built up a good portfolio, made an animation reel to illustrate his stuff, and started to look for a real job in graphic design.
The job search wasn’t immediately successful, but eventually a place where Beau’s future boss was one of his Instagram followers brought him in for more interviews and a job offer after he hadn’t got the first job he’d applied for. Beau moved to Chicago to work at this small advertising firm in late 2016. He enjoyed the work, but after a year and a half the parent company decided to go in a different direction and laid off the entire office. For four months, Beau freelanced and made fine money, then a recruiter approached him about working for Ford. Hired as a subcontractor in August 2018, Beau moved up to Dearborn, Michigan. He was converted to a regular employee in early 2021, though still does similar work.
You can see Beau’s LinkedIn profile here.
Choice Quotes: “I obviously enjoy the technical aspect of my job. I love the possibilities that the software allows, that it lets do things that would be much harder in real life. It’s interesting to apply that to the automotive world. Seeing how we can visualize features and different interactions with the vehicle is pretty exciting!”
“Opportunities will come to you if you’re consistent and improving and carving out your niche.”
“Berklee was instrumental in cementing my work ethic. I always had friend and faculty being supportive, having that community to push me further. I still feel that is very relevant.”
“Don’t feel you have to pursue exactly what you have a degree in. Nobody has questioned my education for any of my jobs. They’ve seen my portfolio, and being self-taught has not been a hinderance. For creative fields it’s all about the portfolio, not the education.”
“Maybe my interview will spark some idea in someone else regarding what they can do or inspire someone to take advantage of all the material that’s freely available online. It doesn’t have to be from a university. There’s so much material to supplement what you’re doing in school — endless possibilities!”
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