Designs for Good: Maddie Murray Raises Awareness About Animal and Environment Protection

If people have the opportunity, they should use their talents to better their environment, according to “inksplatter” designer Maddie Murray. This year, the U0 Arts student, who hails from outside of Chicago, started to design t-shirts and other miscellaneous items to raise awareness funds for animal and environmental causes that she feels passionate about. “I’m always passionate about something. My friends can get quite bored of it actually,” Murray says. “Since I was about five years old, I’ve been a huge supporter of protecting the world’s oceans. My uncle is the Director of Veterinary Services at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, and he inspired me from a young age to care for and protect the oceans.” As a designer and an artist, Murray describes her training to become a designer as untraditional: “I developed an interest in comics and sequential art, and took lots of classes in that medium, and developed my skills in pen and ink. I eventually developed my style using inspiration from my early love for paint-by-numbers, combined with pen and ink techniques, like cross-hatching, from my comics courses.” Murray’s designs can be purchased on Spreadshirt’s website.

Since starting “inksplatter” this year, her work has supported the World Wildlife Fund, Montréal SPCA, and Greenpeace Australia.  One cause that caught her attention when she started at McGill was the breed-specific legislation, which threatened to ban pit bulls from the city of Montréal unless owners paid hundreds of dollars in fees and followed strict guidelines. “I was able to donate a little bit of money to the [Montréal] SPCA,” Murray says. Her current partnership with Greenpeace Australia builds on her childhood love for oceans. Murray’s collection for Greenpeace Australia, which features a shark on its design, raises money to help protect the Great Barrier Reef. She says: "I plan to donate that money at the end of the year, but right now I plan on donating 100% of the profits from the Greenpeace shirts sold between October and December to the charity. Those include the shark designs, and some other designs that I’ll be releasing as the months go on.”

Other than animal and environmental causes, Murray feels very passionate about the discussion of race and bringing more art programs to schools. “I’ve helped lead seminars at my high school to help teach kids about modern racial issues,” she says. “I worked in the city to help provide art programs for children who attend Chicago Public Schools.” With her campaigns, Murray hopes that her designs will become more popular in the future.

Murray believes what will keep her motivated is human interest, because greater purchases allow her to contribute more to charity. “I want to use my art to make people happy and motivate them to do something good too, and I want to give back to all of the passions that I’ve had in life,” she says. “I’m really hoping that by getting the word out to more people, I’ll be able to sell more things and donate more, and make a bigger impact.” In terms of how much money from each sale goes to charity, Murray explains that she receives 20% from Spreadshirt. If she is doing a charity campaign, that entire amount she receives will be donated. In the future Murray hopes to redesign her website. “I’m planning on reorganizing my website so that you can just click a category and see which designs go to which charities, and which ones don’t go to any charity at all,” Murray says. With her work so far, Murray is happy that she has been able to contribute to causes that she feels passionate about: “I’m proud of what I’m doing, even if I’m not doing much.” 


Images provided by the interviewee.