Our alumnus, Damir Prljača, got his BA degree in Visual Arts and Visual Communications Design. As he said, he was looking for a program that had a digital-first mindset. At the time, IUS was the first and the only institution to offer this. Currently, Damir works as an Art Director designing creative campaigns with Amazon Devices and collaborating with partners from Europe, Brazil, Northern Africa, Middle East, India and Japan.
Read his story below!
Although Visual Arts and Visual Communications Design was my first choice, my parents were not comfortable funding an Arts degree, so I enrolled into Architecture. It just was not for me (sorry architects!), so I quickly changed my major without my parents knowing. Only after two years, when I started touring with my work and making TV appearances, I came clean. They were surprised although not shocked, and very supportive. I remember my mom saying “Well, you are right – there is nothing else you could do other than art.” IUS set me up for success. Working on projects with people from different backgrounds, cultures, and often different or clashing views was my everyday life during studies and is my life now.
If it was not such a vague word, I would say passion is something that kept me going and working when the circumstances were far from ideal. In reality, the fact that the world I wanted to live in did not exist yet, so I had to be the one to create it. We do not exist alone in the vacuum, so connecting with people and striving to turn these connections into friendships, is what will get you going in the long run.
Crazy as it sounds: I never had a plan B. It was All-or-Nothing! I did not put much effort into thinking about different options I could take, so I focused all my energy on this one path. It is amazing how many doors you are able to open once you have nothing left to lose. One important lesson I have learned from my parents is that there is no shame in asking others for help. You are not just asking people to help you, but to believe in your vision as well, and this requires a healthy level of self-confidence. The question “What can this person do for me?” becomes “What can I do for this person?”. But do not make those relationships transactional. All of us are humans, and we best connect on a human level.
Through our mandatory educational system, we are indoctrinated to believe that making mistakes is a bad thing, and only perfection is awarded - this is quite hard to unlearn - but in reality, it is the failure that allows us to grow. The truth is, especially in the Visual Arts and Visual Communications Design field, we never have the right answer. With research, trial and error, we just have an answer that is less wrong than the one before.
We always tend to avoid problems; the path of least resistance is in our nature. The truth is, even our dream job will end up being a job we stress about. It is unavoidable. So instead of being on an endless mission of avoiding problems, try finding problems you enjoy solving. It is a game changer.