Before meeting Mikkoh, I always thought I had to choose between a life of being a graphic designer and a life as an entertainer. This choice became more and more pressing once a world-wide pandemic erupted and shifted our way of living. Graphic design became more attractive for sustainability as the pandemic revealed an immediate need for problem solving. Graphic designers were now in high demand and the entertainment world stood still. However, Mikkoh didn’t allow the pandemic to dictate where she directed her attention. Mikkoh had it all and decided to keep it.
Mikkoh arrived in America from Korea at the age of four. She speaks passionately about her country and has great pride in her people and heritage, which will show up later in her work. Growing up, she naturally took to the arts and developed skills in mix ed-media fine art and photography. However, by the time she was ready to graduate from high school and choose a career path, art wasn’t a practical choice. Mikkoh ended up graduating from Georgia Tech, an esteemed science and engineering university in Atlanta, where she studied biomedical applications.
Having a degree has gotten my foot into a lot of doors. As a woman creative, sometimes you just need that...you know...slam the paper down on the table like I have a fucking degree. Listen to what I have to say.
Soon after graduating, Mikkoh worked for an app company, but somehow her heart led her back to the arts, but not in the way you may think. She started DJing. As Mikkoh’s DJ skills developed she partnered up with DJ Hourglass, another female DJ in Atlanta, and created an event called “Down for Whatever,”
which garnered major attention and became the place to be every 2nd and 4th Saturday of the month. The pandemic hasn’t slowed these ladies down one bit. Mikkoh, along with DJ Hourglass, continue to hold live DJ sessions online for their supporters. DFW was not only popular for the vibe curated by these two standout women, but the promotional flyers, designed by Mikkoh herself, were well recognized and kick-started Mikkoh’s career in design.
Valued for her design skills , Mikkoh was propelled into graphic design head first, which eventually led her into content creation and creative direction. Mikkoh is now co-founder and creative director of Polly Visuals, a multi-disciplinary creative studio, providing film production, photography, art direction, concept development, and brand strategy services. Polly Visuals is a team of young Asian Americans who decided to help solve the need for representation in the art and entertainment industries.
Again, Mikkoh’s Korean heritage is extremely important to her and her popularity in Atlanta has led her to become somewhat of a community leader. She embraces this responsibility and continues to be an advocate and voice for women of color, immigrants, and Asian Americans utilizing her platform to minister content and brand experiences.
"You’ll have to be diligent about doing those side projects for yourself...You have to make your own assignments because there’s no one else telling you what to do."
Mikkoh has toured the world DJing in cities all across Europe, Asia, and North America along with being featured in popular publications like HighSnobiety, Boiler Room, People and Stylewatch Magazine. She still hasn’t even scratched the surface of her potential. Product design is coming in her near future and is something Mikkoh is thrilled to embark on. Until then, she’s continuing to push barriers in design and remain a voice for the underserved and overlooked. The show goes on.
MIKKOH: At Work
When I caught up with Mikkoh on a bright Monday afternoon in Atlanta, she was prepping for a promotional shoot for another brand designer, Jean Pyo. Despite the pandemic, Mikkoh continues to receive client requests, at least once a month. Each day is completely different for her and I was honored that she invited me to sit in on her shoot so I could get an exclusive look at her process. Mikkoh is involved in each step of the process; ideation, script writing, hair and makeup, set design, lighting and so much more. Take some time and check out the shots I was able to capture from the shoot.
Find Mikkoh: Web | Polly Visuals | Music | Instagram