by Susan Tomases
Michael Solis is informal, friendly, and unassuming. He prefers to talk about his kids rather than himself. One would never know from meeting this warm and chatty alum that he is the creative mind behind award-winning retail displays and environments, furniture, packaging, and point-of-sale displays for retail giant Neiman Marcus, among others.
One glance at his website, Michael-Solis.com reveals a plethora of creative concepts promoting brands as recognizable as Chanel, Cartier, and even Target.
Michael’s Landmark journey began during a summer program before his sophomore year of high school. He confesses that he was so enamored with the scenery and weather of the North Shore that he didn’t want to return to his hometown of Dallas, TX. That began his time at Landmark until he graduated in 1987.
When asked to recall what was so special about his Landmark experience he said, "I loved the closeness with my teachers. They really encouraged me to ask questions and ask for help. These were life lessons for me even though I didn’t know it at the time."
Lessons from Landmark
After leaving Landmark, Michael went to Parsons School of Design, where he could sink his teeth into his love of art and design. After college he stayed in New York City. He flourished as an artist, diving into furniture, product, interior, and custom design jobs. He learned that he excelled in the corporate retail setting where deadlines are short and projects change at a moment’s notice.
"The skills I learned as an artist, paired with the self-advocacy and confidence to rise to a challenge I learned at Landmark, were essential for me. Retail goes at lightning speed and complements how I think. The work and demands are constantly changing. I love switching gears and juggling multiple projects in a day."
The rest, as they say, is history. Michael returned to Dallas and eventually became the director of design at Neiman Marcus overseeing 42 visual managers, one for each unique store. Part of the Neiman Marcus brand is to excite and entertain shoppers. No two stores are alike and Michael likes it that way.
He is now Vice President of Creative at JGX Group, a design and fabrication firm serving clients as diverse as Bobby Brown, Fossil, Vince, and yes, Neiman Marcus.
Article originally published in The Lantern, Spring/Summer 2017