FIDM Student: Julia Mickus

Students give an inside look at their college experience

Julia Mickus

Visual Communications

Tell us a little about yourself.
I am originally from Toronto, Canada so moving to a city like Los Angeles has been a huge step for me. Every day, I am constantly learning new things—whether it’s about the visual industry or something LA people just seem to do. I come from a big family with a history in the design world; I knew from a young age I wanted to pursue a career in visuals, but I never knew where to start. I had always wanted to attend FIDM straight out of high school, but the idea of moving over 3,000 miles away from home seemed daunting at the time; it took me over three years and another college degree to make the jump.

Tell us about the NY Study Tour.
The NY Study Tour I participated in this quarter was an experience I will never forget. One important aspect that I learned from the trip (about which I've been telling my family and friends) is that the study tour truly opened my eyes about the visual world. I believe everyone has a notion of what they want their career to look like and what they want to achieve when they graduate. Our meetings in NY taught us that you have to be ready to do anything and everything, and it doesn’t come on a silver platter the moment you graduate. I realized that I truly want to pursue a career in visuals, especially in New York City, and I gained so much information on the study tour that I would highly recommend this trip to any future Visual Communications students. My favorite part of the trip was, by far, meeting with David Hoey, Senior Director of Visuals at Bergdorf Goodman. I have always admired his work and his theories behind the windows of such an iconic New York store. While we only met with him for a short time, it was those few moments where I got to see the madness he creates every season.

Which holiday window displays were your favorite?
My favorite windows were the Macy’s windows at Herald Square, designed by Paul Olszewski. I was already excited to meet him due to the numerous praises from FIDM teachers, but meeting him was an experience I’ll never forget. Paul created such a beautiful, meaningful story through five major windows that it took my breath away. The way he was able to tell such a simple story, while making sure it encompassed the Macy’s holiday inspiration of "Believe," and the way he used digital animation and robotics, it was just unreal. Not to mention it was a completely different experience at night than during the day. My favorite part was when he all let us walk through the back of the windows to see how they connect all the electronics. He even let us poke our heads out to be part of the display—a photo I recently framed with a quote saying, "Look who’s staring in the Macy’s Herald Square Christmas Windows."

What is one of your proudest accomplishments?
I’ve experienced many events during my life, but honestly one of them has to be this NYC trip. I was so honored to be chosen in the first place, and to be able to meet with all the executives through our numerous appointments, it’s something I really appreciate—a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Getting to not only walk through Saks Fifth Avenue with no one around and visit the award winning set of Wicked (my all-time favorite musical), but also to walk down 5th Avenue looking at the Christmas windows—it was an experience of a lifetime.

How did you hear about FIDM and what made you decide to go here?
I heard about FIDM years ago, while I was in Grade 11. As I said above, I knew I wanted to go to FIDM during my final year, I was truly just too chicken to take the leap and honestly I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life. I actually went to a University in Toronto and learned after the first quarter that text book life wasn’t for me; I knew I needed to pursue something in the arts. After completing a degree in Fashion Marketing and Merchandising, I knew I was ready to take the leap with my career and move out to Los Angeles to attend FIDM. Since then, I’ve never looked back.

How did you choose your major?
Already having a Fashion Marketing and Merchandising degree, I knew I didn’t want to repeat any of my classes (which I figured Merchandise Marketing would give me). When I came across Visual Communications, I immediately knew this was the major for me. Getting to do hands-on work with a mix of essays and speeches, this was the field I wanted to get into.

What are your career goals?
My career goals are still a bit in the making, but one thing is for sure—I want to be in the visual world. If you had asked me when I started at FIDM I would have said, “I’m not sure. Everything.” One thing David Hoey advised was, “If someone asks you what you can do, don’t ever say anything and everything. I’ll immediately forget about you when I look for jobs.” Taking that advice seriously, I would want to have a career that designs not only window displays, but also merchandising, store layouts, and fixtures—what I like to call a mixture of interior design and visuals. That would be the dream for me.

How is FIDM helping you get there?
FIDM is helping me so much, not only with this NY Study Tour, but the hundreds of job opportunities they post on their Career Center. From someone who comes from another university that doesn’t offer anything like the Career Center, I don’t take it for granted. For anyone reading this, you don’t know what your missing until it’s taken away from you.

Anything else you’d like to share?
To future FIDM Students—if this NY Study Tour is available to you, TAKE IT. I’m being perfectly honest. I learned some great tricks of the trade, and great insight into the visual industry. This trip really opened my eyes and made me reevaluate where I want to go and who I want to be when I graduate in June.

Please Note: The information contained herein was confirmed at the time of original publication.

More FIDM Faces