August 19, 2021
Creativity is a word that alumnus Nick Sherman strives to embody every day. A 2016 graduate, Sherman majored in Graphic Design. Choosing to attend Shawnee State University was an easy decision for him and his brother, Connor who both walked-on the soccer team when they arrived to campus. Throughout his degree, Sherman found a way to incorporate his love of art into a collaborative setting.
“The thing that made us feel like we wanted to learn and that our education was worthwhile was this creative process class we took with Lane Raiser,” he said. “He was a professor in the arts and his class allowed us to collaborate with our housemates on a lot of different projects. We would be up until two or three in the morning just having fun with the homework because the art props were really loose and open-ended. It really felt like he was giving us an excuse to be artists.”
Branching out from the collaboration in that class, Sherman, along with his brother and two others, created the group CMAR (Creative Minds Are Rare) to encourage people to make art with each other. That group eventually transitioned into the Creative Cult, hosting events around campus and the Portsmouth community.
“With the Creative Cult we did five shows in five months,” he said. “Every month we picked a random location and we didn’t tell people what they were going to do when they came there. We had people show up and do some sort of creative activity that kind of stretched them and helped them think about a different theme of art or creativity.”
After graduating, Sherman has continued to show his creativity through freelancing throughout the region. He and his wife Heather (‘18) have completed several murals on buildings in downtown Portsmouth and are planning to do more in the near future.
“As a result of the creative process class, we were doing stuff on our own entrepreneurially out of college,” he said. “There were some connections that were able to make that happen for us. It kind of gave us a foot in to the community.”
Carrying his creativity into writing, Sherman published Dead End Job in 2021 stemming from work that he did in his original creative process class. Currently writing another book about the Creative Cult, he plans to release that one later this fall.
“We started journaling every day in that class and I kept doing it all the way up until 2018 when I started writing more,” he said. “Dead End Job came from me trying to answer the question, ‘if I was really stuck in a purgatory of post-college living not doing exactly what I pictured myself doing, what would that be like – would it still be worthwhile?’ It was really fun to put together.”
Coming from his experience and time at SSU, Sherman encourages other graphic designers and artists to dedicate themselves to their art to find out what they are passionate about.
“Form a daily habit of anything, make the stuff regardless of if people pay for it or want it yet, because out of that you will get all the bad stuff out first,” he said. “You want to make as many mistakes as you can early on so that you can get to the good stuff. When it comes to business and doing art for people as a service, find a need that people have and try to fill that. See things that people actually need and use your art to make that better or more beautiful.”
This spotlight is part of an ongoing series by the SSU Alumni Association in celebration of the university’s 35 Years milestone. To learn more about alumni making a difference in their careers, visit shawneestatealumni.com for more features.