20 Under 30 Class of 2010

417 Magazine proudly presents the next generation of 417-land leaders.

(page 16 of 21)

Jesse Nivens, 28

Web director, Schilling/Sellmeyer & Associates; freelance graphic designer

Jesse Nivens more or less stumbled into a designing gig for Grammy-nominated band Shiny Toy Guns after co-planning a concert at which they appeared in 2006. A week later he saw on MySpace that they were soliciting album designs. Nivens sent samples. Five years later he’s done the artwork for several STG albums and remixes, and a multitude of posters and T-shirts. With Schilling/Sellmeyer, a 417-land ad agency, Nivens works with clients to create clean, logical websites. The key to a good corporate site, he says, is strong content. “It needs to be well-written and integrate good marketing into the content and copy. Give the reader a reason to stay.”—M.L.

Check out our behind-the-scenes video from the 20 Under 30 shoot!

Q&A: Get to know Jesse Nivens

How do you get your news?
“I sporadically watch the evening news, but mostly through the Internet, RSS feeds and stuff.”

What’s one website you check daily?

What did you want to be when you grew up when you were 5?
“I think I wanted to be an airline pilot.”

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
“Looking at my own interactive art exhibit at the Art Institute of Chicago.”

If you had to choose any other profession, what would you choose?
“I think I probably would have been a painter.”

How do you define success?
“Probably just having general happiness. If you’re broke and penniless you’ll probably be unhappy, but if you’re super-rich and can’t trust anyone, you’ll probably be unhappy, too. So somewhere in-between.”

Why do you like what you do?
“It’s constantly changing, and I’m constantly having to learn. That process of teaching yourself and of discovery is absolutely addictive.”

Fill in the blank. A perfect day at work is… ?
“More design, less maintenance.”

Three words that describe your job are… ?
Dynamic, stressful, rewarding

What’s your dream job?
“Being a completely independent fine artist with a lifestyle completely supported by selling fine art.”

What’s the biggest workplace prank you’ve ever taken part in?
“When I got my new intern on his first day, I told him beforehand that we had a Mac Powerbook for him. When he got here I told him there were some problems, and I had set up this Apple Mac Classic II from 1992, the kind where you had to slip in a floppy, and I had him go through the whole process, and I was laughing too much to keep the joke going.”

What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever had to do for your career?
“Probably stay up all night to meet a deadline, or having to fix problems while in Hawaii or on any other vacation.”

Where’s your ideal vacation?
“I want to go to Rome and engorge myself on Renaissance painting and Roman era sculpture and architecture.”

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