Today we’d like to introduce you to Michun Radant.
Michun, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
My life started in my father’s homeland Wisconsin, but soon after I was born, I was brought back to my mother’s homeland Taiwan. I spent my early childhood in a small town on the central part of the island catching frogs, helping grandpa pick peanuts and filling my free time with extracurricular activities. From a young age, I had a deep love for the arts and strived to be the best at everything I involved myself in.
Fast forward to my late teens. After graduating from one of the most prestigious dance schools in Taiwan, I moved to Taipei to double major in Dance and Drama. While I was still in college, I signed myself to Storm Model Management, and soon after dropped out of college and dedicated myself to one of my childhood dreams, performing in TV commercials, events, and Music Videos.
While my future looked smooth and bright, a couple of years later I discovered a stress fracture in my foot. This broken bone announced my retirement as a professional dancer and took away my ability to do the things I enjoy the most. Fast forward again to my adulthood after the injury. I was in a dark place losing dignity with no direction or goal in mind.
I wanted to start fresh, so I took a risk and bought myself a one-way ticket to Los Angeles at age 21. I ended up starting my work life working on a food truck, then sales, e-commerce, and eventually moved to management. I am grateful for Luyi Khasi, giving me an opportunity at her company when I not yet knew what I could do and trusted me in tasks I didn’t know I was ready for.
In the three years I worked for her, she not only put me in charge of everything visible like marketing material, packaging, e-commerce, but she also gave me the opportunity to work on invisible things like inventory system reform, SOP creation, and new businesses development.
When it became apparent to me that I was capable of much more then I imagined, I decided to go back to school and complete my pending bachelor degree. Confidence is contagious, and her positive energy guided me to my new passion for design. With the help of many people, I graduated from ArtCenter College of Design.
During business hours, I am now an Art Director in advertising working on brands like T-Mobile, VISA, and Toms shoes. But on my downtime, I am still a freelance multimedia artist that works on a range of project including fine art, graphic design, photography, and film.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
A decade ago, I was determined to become a professional performer and dance my way into choreography and stagecraft. What I do today is something I couldn’t even dream of as a child. In fact, most of my life I didn’t even know art directors exist. That said, my past is basically a windy road that goes through a dark magical mountain with heavy fog, haunted trees, sparkling ponds… you get the idea.
After breaking a bone, it took me a while to find myself again. It was hard introducing myself to new people, finding a job, and even looking myself in the mirror. Losing the ability to do something I spent decades mastering is not easy, I didn’t know how to be proud of myself, and I feared that I wouldn’t be able to reach the same level of excellence in a different field.
In order to for me to learn and move forward, I had to be honest with myself and let go of my ego, and believe me, it was a process. Going back to school as an “older student” was the first challenge, and it took some guts. I had to quit my job, take on student loans and believe that I made the right decision.
The hardest part was watching my imperfect self struggle every step of the way. It was hard to avoid drowning in mediocrity, I constantly questioned myself if I had what it takes to rise to the top. The standards I set for myself are always one step ahead of my current abilities, making me seldom satisfied with my work. I hung in there despite cruel critics, sleep deprivation, large amounts of self-doubt… and it was worth it.
In hindsight, I believe I was lucky to be forced into reset, and given the opportunity to widen my horizon relatively early on. I learned that nobody really starts over, as everything we accumulate along the way are just building blocks, and we are who we are depending on how we put the blocks together. When I found my stack of blocks knocked over, I realized I could stack them back up, just in a slightly different formation.
My background in choreography transformed into foundations for design, my stage and performance experience helped me navigating life on set, my musical practices gave me a head start in video editing and my entire past soaked in the arts gave me a good eye for what I do today.
So, as you know, we’re impressed with Decoded advertising – tell our readers more, for example, what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
Traditionally, advertising is a gamble, we don’t know how well the ad will do until it hit the consumer. Decoded is a new type of agency, we’re a reflection of where things are going, combining the best of creative, media and commerce working together to help big brands operate more like successful D2Cs by bridging the gap between meaningful storytelling and data-led optimizations.
We’re really a giant research experiment through – a bunch of inherently curious rebels interested in exploring the whys behind advertising. A culture of thoughtful ignorance is the true engine that drives us to identify what should be done and where we should concentrate. We believe our decoded method will become mainstream in the future of advertising and I feel lucky to have hopped onto this early departing boat.
My job at the agency is basically to come up with creative concepts for advertising campaigns and dictate the look and feel. With the help of strategists and market analysts, I find human insights and give it a creative spin to enhance engagement and make the ideas memorable. I believe I stand out as an Art Director because of my diverse background and well-rounded skillsets. I’m a hands-on creative that not only constructs concepts but also strive as a maker.
I wouldn’t call myself an expert at anything, but I’m pretty good at many things. In advertising, I find being the master of none very beneficial, I can think from many different points of view and utilize different types of media and art forms, furthermore having a diverse background makes it easy for me to communicate with collaborators and creatives in different fields.
Now at Decoded, not only do I get to flex my creative muscles, but I’m also constantly learning. I work closely with the brand and media team to understand learning from our testing results and implement our best practices. No matter what project I am working on, I devote myself to squeeze in some creative juice, sprinkle some beauty and use everything I’ve accumulated along the way to improve my work.
So, what’s next? Any big plans?
Being someone who has been through many walks of life in a short period of time, I know my happiness today is owed to so many amazing people who helped me along the way. Nothing makes me more satisfied than when I get to help others with potential accelerate. Advertising is a powerful tool for spreading ideas, but it takes more than awareness to drive innovation.
I look forward to one day starting my own creative agency that focuses on a better tomorrow. It will function as a multitalented think tank and cover various fields of expertise. Not only do I see the agency working with brands and organizations to create meaningful content, but also design better solutions for the imperfect systems that cripple us in modern day life. It’s going to be an agency that services ourselves, spending time working on topics the team believes need more attention and having a platform to express our concerns in a creative way.
I believe we can’t live without creativity as it is the digestive system for the mind. In my heart, I’ll always be an artist, and in my brain, I will always be a designer. I can’t stop myself from constantly brainstorming for better solutions in our everyday life. I hope we develop more flexible mindsets that changes the way we look at ourselves and grow more empathetic towards each other. I plan to keep making art, sharing art and creating places for art to live and flourish.
- Website: michunradant.com
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/michuntang/
- Other: https://www.instagram.com/made_in_michun/