Multimedia Art Director, Hallmark
Originally a native Malaysian, Michael Ong graduated in the United States with a BFA in Graphic Design and a BS in Broadcasting of Film. He began his career as a motion designer, and eventually became the Creative Director at T2 (now hint), Kansas City's premier production and post-production enterprise. In the 16 years with the company, he worked on numerous award-winning motion graphics, digital special effects and finishing of national and regional commercials, feature films, documentaries and experiential design projects. In 2010, Michael took the role of Associate Studio Manager of the Multimedia Studio at Hallmark, leading the team that delivers technologically-driven digital content beyond the traditional ink-on-paper greeting. In 2012, he became the Studio Manager, then shortly after, the Art Director of the Video Team. Outside his career, he has been singing with the Heartland Men's Chorus for the past 15 years. He is also instrumental in the many multimedia productions of the Chorus' signature musical documentaries. He lives with his partner of 10 years, Eric Magnus, in their Roeland Park home in Kansas.
What makes Kansas City a great place for creativity and innovation?
Kansas City owes its artistic roots to the birth of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art and Jazz in the 1930s, and Hallmark HQ. Hallmark—for a century being the company that has one of the largest creative staffs in the world—drew in top creatives from everywhere, and that helped shape the topography of the creative community here.
Kansas City has a strong base for creative people to feel at home, and naturally, it cultivates creative activities and businesses.
When and where are you happiest?
I'm happiest when I'm on my way home from the airport after my travel to a much bigger and busier city.
What is your favorite place in Kansas City?
The Plaza and Ward Parkway. It is rare to find such combination of beauty, authenticity and charm.
Where's your favorite place outside of Kansas City?
Penang Island in Malaysia, where I was born. It is the second-longest place I've ever lived after Kansas City.
What's your most treasured personal possession?
My memories. Without them, there's no meaning to any of my physical possessions or relationships.
Who's your favorite fictional hero?
Superman. His hair always stays in place.
Who do you most admire in real life?
My parents. They seem to effortlessly have it together. I want to be like them.