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Ethan Michalicek

One day, creatives like Ethan Michalicek are going to take over the world. It’s only a matter of time. 

Master of All Trades

Today, we have different individuals with titles like Art Director, Designer, Developer and Copywriter, all working together in one agency. But what happens when people realize that someone like Ethan can do ALL those things, and do them well? I’ll tell you: the rest of us will become obsolete.

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Ethan and friends goofing around with Snapchat at school.

We’re talking about a kid who had read literally EVERY Hardy Boys book by the time he hit middle school, then decided to take up computers and game design.

He credits his aunt, a St. Louis-based creative named Tracy Moore, for kickstarting his interest in computers, when she passed on a second-hand Mac for him to explore.

LEFT: Longboarding around campus on a sunny day. RIGHT: Enjoying a hike during fall break.

And explore he did. In addition to mastering game design engines like Unity and Blender, and design languages like C#, he produces music in his downtime. When things are slow at the office, he logs into Youtube “to learn new things.” Yeah, like he hasn’t learned enough already.

It’s not hard to imagine a future in which Ethan builds a robot that could even make writers obsolete. Heck, we’d probably want to hang out with it and become friends. Imagine the stories. 

Shaped by Family

Ethan and his four siblings–two brothers and two sisters–were all homeschooled, and it’s clear the experience cultivated a tremendous curiosity and maturity in him. When many of us were stumbling confused through puberty and middle school, he was reading voraciously, designing and developing. 

He credits his father with shaping his wide-ranging musical tastes as well. He grew up listening to classic rock bands like Rush, Yes and Kansas, and still enjoys the genre today. In addition, he loves hip hop, ambient music and a variety of electronic forms, particularly British drum-and-bass.

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Ethan and his brother Aaron.

One of his favorite ways to engage with music is via Soundcloud. The open-source, audio sharing platform acts as a conduit between musicians and fans, and he has developed personal relationships with artists who were once strangers to him.

He’s even part of a Soundcloud collective known as Lost Dogz, which focuses on making what’s known as bass music.  

From Intern to Expert

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Joking around with the "i in Saints" wall at school.

“It’s mind blowing that I went from a game-design intern to our AR/VR ‘expert’,” he says. 

He loves how his fellow Paradowski employees are so collaborative and open. The lack of hierarchy and stigma really helps creatives get more work done. 

“I appreciate the forward-thinking, future-facing thinking of people like Andy, Gus and Brad,” he explains. “It creates an environment that inspires others to learn new things.”

And boy, does he learn. But that’s not all he does.

In his free time outside of work, he is equally broad in his interests. Youtube videos focused on humor or learning occupy a lot of his attention these days, in particular, a math channel called Numberphile. He also enjoys video games, making music, longboarding and inline skating.

He’s also, in his words, “A sucker for the superhero genre” of television and movies.

In talking with him, one gets the feeling that 24 hours in a day is not enough for all that he enjoys in life. One thing’s for sure: his excitement and enthusiasm are contagious. And it’s very likely he can look forward to a lifetime of inspiring those around him with his creative outlets.