By Sergio A. Lagunas @SALagunas
I recently interviewed the emerging graphic designer and modern artist, Jeffrey Valenzuela, with the goal to learn more about what inspires him to pursue a professional career in art and design.
Jeffrey currently works as a designer at CBS Sports Network, and he continues to work on several independent projects. Check out his answers from this interview to learn more about him and his college journey as an artist and his recent success as an young professional.
What is your educational background (High School, Major, Activities, Organizations)?
I graduated from the State University of New York at Oswego in the spring of 2015. I majored in Graphic Design. As an undergraduate, I was part of various student organizations such as the Caribbean Student Association (Spring 2011), and the Black Student Union (Spring 2013). My senior year I became part of the Student Association which serves as the student government on campus. I am also a proud member of Phi Iota Alpha Fraternity Inc. The oldest Latino fraternity in existence.
What were your initial career goals while you were in college?
My initial career goals in college never really changed. I knew I wanted to be a graphic designer since I was a freshman in high school. So my goals in college were to practice the art of digital media by getting involved in student organizations. My goal was for the campus to see my work and my progress. I was fortunate to have opportunities to design for other organizations outside of Oswego such as Syracuse University, Binghamton, Albany, Stony Brook and more.
What is your source of inspiration for your entrepreneurship?
I look up to the careers of successful graphic designers like Jacob Cass, Fabio Sasso, Aaron Draplin, and Tony Peralta. They are all great designers, but what I admire about them is that they have been able to grow their own brands in such distinctive ways.
How did your college education play a role to prepare you to start your own business?
It taught me everything I need to know to not just be a small business owner, but a thriving professional.
“College taught me that networking is key to your success.”
Through campus involvement, I had the pleasure of working with other great individuals and as a result, I gained valuable interpersonal skills. The courses I took at SUNY Oswego tested my discipline, it reinforced my organizational skills and it strengthened my proficiency in public speaking.
What are some significant events, recognition or awards that have motivated you to start and continue in entrepreneurship?
Every time I get to work for a famous brand or company, it gives me such an immense enthusiasm to continue to work hard and believe in my work. When I first got an email from Universal Music Latin Group regarding a single cover for Poeta Callejero, It gave me the certainty that the work I was doing is valuable and I should strive for greatness. A couple of months later I get a call from Roc Nation Latin about a behind-the-scenes album recording photo shoot with Mozart La Para. I was very excited to design a Member Profiles publication for LISC Americorps for two consecutive years. None of these opportunities would have been possible without having a strong network.
What are your current projects or career goals?
Right now I am a designer at CBS Sports Network. I am also working on some branding projects such as District Leader Manny De Los Santos’ website, JKB Music’s website, and Mark B’s website. I am also working on my upcoming brand named LINKS.
My career goals are to continue to implement innovation in graphic design and eventually become an Art Director.