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Art takes many forms for UW-Stevens Point May graduate

May 26, 2022
UWSP May graduate Casey Nieman
Casey Nieman, a graphic design major, incorporates many types of media into his projects.

Art is more than one field of study for University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point May graduate Casey Nieman, a graphic design major with a minor in media studies.

“I’m an artist, a designer and a filmmaker. It all goes together,” he said. “As an artist I get to create visual elements that people see every day. I enjoy being able to connect complex ideas to people through visual means.”

Originally an engineering major at UW-Platteville, Nieman realized early in his college career that he wanted to apply his creative skills in other ways. The Stevens Point native transferred to his hometown university his second semester after touring the art classrooms and seeing how it fit his goals.

At UW-Stevens Point he found faculty members that encourage a holistic approach and give students the freedom to explore working with a variety of mediums.

“UW-Stevens Point faculty encourage students to use their own concepts to solve visual problems,” he said. “I found that I’m good at finding different ways to use materials and combine them to tell a story or relate to something. As long as you have a good idea, you will be surprised at the methods you can use to create.”

For example, one of his class assignments was for students to create a game that focused on an “ism” while being educational and entertaining. Nieman chose individualism and designed and created “Autonomy,” a card game similar to the board game “Life” in which players make choices to see who will achieve their goals first.

He has also created films featured in the university’s CinePoint Media Festival. His study of different types of media has influenced his work, he said. “My film work features animation and typography. My graphic design work encompasses video that enhances it.”

He also took part in the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) and SCULPT student art organizations, serving as president of both groups his senior year.

Casey Nieman shows new CASE logos
Casey Nieman presents the CASE logos he created which won awards from the Association of College Unions International.

Nieman’s work has made a mark at UW-Stevens Point. As the student manager of the Dreyfus University Center marketing team, he rebranded the Campus Activities and Student Engagement (CASE) office, created environmental art installations to promote CASE and the Stevens Point Involvement Network (SPIN) and made a video to help students upload their own photo to get a student I.D. during the COVID-19 pandemic.

These projects earned him three first-place regional awards and two national second-place awards from the Association of College Unions International. The work will inform and encourage students to engage in activities at the university for years to come. He also earned a Chancellor’s Leadership Award for campus involvement and leadership.

“Casey’s creativity, work ethic and determination are unmatched,” said Zac Otzelberger, director of DUC Marketing and his supervisor. “Through his academic coursework and personal endeavors, he’s made an incredible impact across campus and in our community. I’m confident he’ll continue making an impact wherever he lands after graduation. I can’t wait to see where he goes and what he does next.”

Nieman hopes to use his skills in the entertainment industry as an art director and is considering attending graduate school to further study media production and film.

“I’ve been honored to get my education here and work with UWSP faculty and staff,” Nieman said. “It’s opened my mind to have diversity in both my teachers and my peers. They’ve shared an openness to explore new things and have inspired me and my work.”

Among his mentors is JinMan Jo, a professor of sculpture. “He stands out because he has high expectations but he’s very caring and wants to see you succeed,” Nieman said.

“Casey possesses the skills and abilities necessary to execute a high level of performance in all areas of art,” Jo said. “His interpersonal skills are very good.  He is lively and bright, with a passionate energy for his work. He is also thoughtful and very aware of himself and the world.  He explores and researches that which interests him, and he constantly challenges himself.”

With the creation of UW-Stevens Point’s School of Design and Communication in fall 2019, Nieman has seen even more innovations in cross-disciplinary learning in the arts.

“The school recognizes that different fields work well together, and that is valuable for new students,” Nieman said. “UW-Stevens Point is helping foster a new generation of designers who look outside the traditional ways of doing things.”