Student-Artist Spotlight: Nicole Juza

Bryce Parr –

What is your year, major and concentration?

I’m a senior graphic designer with a double concentration in both design and interactive media and a printmaking minor. My plan is to graduate in the fall of 2019.  

What sparked your interest in art?

I can’t really say what sparked my interest in art, it’s something that I’ve always been interested in. As far back as I can remember I was always doing art and had a strong passion for making things. It started with drawing when I was very young and then branched out to a wide variety of different media. I went through strong, passionate phases for drawing, painting, sewing, crafting, pottery, fibers, origami, plastics, photography—pretty much anything that I had access to in the moment. When I got into high school and had access to digital and printed media, I realized that I also had a great interest in design and decided it was the major I wanted to study as I went into college.

What styles or mediums do you prefer?

Since drawing is where my art and design career started, I usually find myself working a style that is very illustrative, and I think this is evident across the different mediums I work in and enjoy. It’s difficult to choose my favorites, but I think the mediums that I prefer are those in which I can incorporate my drawing skills and do more with my illustrations. In the Spring of 2018, I was enrolled in a motion graphics class which allowed me to do exactly that. I loved bringing my illustrations to life with motion using components like speed and velocity in harmony with music to create a full experience for my audience. In a similar way, I also find myself very attracted to interactive media. There is something very satisfying to me about figuring out the code working in the background for bringing these experiences to life.  

Apart from my digital design work, however, I still love studio art which is apparent in my printmaking minor. Screen printing is where my illustrative style comes through the most. However, it’s the process that is most enjoyable for me. Screen printing is a different way of thinking because you have to produce your design in layers. Throughout the process, you’re stacking layers of color and the full design isn’t revealed until the end. It’s a very tactile process beginning with coating your screens, taring your paper, mixing your ink, and pulling your prints. Every step of the way there’s the potential for something to go wrong. But the more you practice, the more you learn the little tricks and methods for achieving your desired outcome.  

Do you take influence from any artists or designers in particular?

The artists and designers that I am influenced by usually changes based on the mediums that I’m currently working in. I just started an etching class this semester so I’m finding myself looking to the classics like Picasso and Rembrandt for what an etching can become. The amount of precision and level of detail in their line work is fascinating to me and is something I would like to strive for in my own etchings this semester.

Are there any projects that stood out during your career at Stout?

This past summer I had the awesome opportunity to study visual language design in Holland and screen print in the AGA Lab in Amsterdam. Our final project for the class was open but entailed showing what we learned from our experience. I decided to design an iconic typeface based off of concepts in screen printing. Each of the letters are icons of objects which indicate larger concepts that I learned from screen printing both at Stout and in Amsterdam. I screen printed my typeface as a poster series along with two phrases set in the typeface that refer to the dedication to the printmaking process.  

Another is my final motion graphics project. This project entailed creating a title sequence for a movie. I chose the movie Black Swan and used the symbolism in the movie to guide my design choices. The title sequence uses contrast between black and white feathers to represent the different personalities of the white and black swan. As the sequence progresses, the movement of the feathers becomes increasingly more intense as the story builds and the personalities contrast.

You can find Nicole’s title sequence here: https://vimeo.com/267707337  

Have you done any internships or projects outside of academia? 

During the summer of 2017, I did an internship at the Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum in Two Rivers, Wisconsin. My project throughout the Summer was to organize their entire classroom type collection with another intern. So, I spent a lot of my time there looking at and working with a variety of different fonts and type sizes. I also had the opportunity to typeset and print posters with their wood type for their shop. Setting up the presses for printing was a new experience for me because of the way physical pieces of lead (and math) are used to space letters. It was really interesting to learn about the history of where terms like “leading” that I use now in my design practice originated from.  

Now I work at UW-Stout Housing Design on campus. It’s my first experience as a graphic designer working with and designing for clients in the campus housing office. Apart from designing, my favorite aspect of Housing Design is the team. Sharing a positive environment with others who are fun to work with and are equally passionate about design is really important to me. We make a really great team at Housing Design.  

What are your plans after graduation?

My plans after graduation are still pretty open because of my variety of interests. More recently, I’ve been thinking of sticking around the area to go into grad school. One thing I do know is that I would love to move to Seattle and do graphic design there.