Having left SUNY Oneonta in 2020 during the pandemic, Victoria Villaverde put her degree on hold and saw success as a drawing portrait artist, graphic designer and tattoo apprentice before returning to college in 2022.
Since resuming her college career, Villaverde has exhibited her artwork in the 2023 Juried Student Show and the Jean Parish Scholarship: 2022-24 show on campus, and in the Hartwick X SUNY Oneonta Student Show at the Community Arts Network of Oneonta. Outside of her studies as an Art and Design major, she serves as public relations director for the WONY student-run radio station and is interning with SUNY Oneonta Art Gallery Director Sarah Simpson.
Why SUNY Oneonta?
I was looking at schools online, and I had the choice to visit one college in person. So, I ended up picking SUNY Oneonta because I thought, “This looks like a nice place,” and it wasn't too far away from where I was living. I visited here, and I loved it. It was my one choice, and I've never had any doubts about that. I like the school - liked it enough to leave and come back, even.
When I first came here in 2019 for the fall semester, I kind of was already without a home, and I was going to stay on campus during breaks and things like that. Then COVID happened, and I stayed with someone and that wasn't a great situation. I had to put everything on hold for about two years to deal with a lot of big, life-changing stuff. But I knew I wanted to finish school.
There was a point where I wasn't sure if I was coming back. I was a tattoo artist for a little while, but I still feel like I really wanted to finish school, so I tried going to a different college, but there were so many things I loved about being here that it just didn't feel right going anywhere else. So, I worked for a little while longer, and then I moved back to Oneonta.
Why Art and Design?
The program is tailored to what I think I'd like to do when I graduate. I like the faculty a lot, and many of them are very personable. I've had good relationships with a lot of my professors, and I have been able to learn a lot from them because they're real people – and not just teachers.
Every graphic design course I've taken with Kathy Spitzoff has been extremely helpful. She is a great, wonderful woman. She’s an associate professor of graphic design and the Art Department chair, and she just does a lot in general for her students. Before she was one of my professors, I could go to her with any issue or interest in learning something within graphic design, and she took time to go through things with me.
Then we have Sarah Simpson, our gallery director who I'm interning with, and she's been super helpful. She just does a lot of stuff that you wouldn't think a gallery director would be doing. She knows a lot, and she's been places and likes to share her knowledge with people. Both Kathy and Sarah are very personable, easy to talk to and treat everyone like equals. It’s nice to have a professional relationship with them rather than a typical student-teacher one.
Activities and Internships
I'm the public relations director for the WONY campus radio station, but that may not be an accurate title. I run all our social media and design posters for WONY and the merchandise, like T-shirts, hoodies, stickers, keychains. I also created the style guide for the radio station after I came back because we didn’t have one. We're on the air and we're online too, so it extends beyond the campus. So, I made it my little passion project to make it consistent.
I approached Sarah for my internship because one of my friends who graduated told me about the opportunity.
We got that set up over the summer, and I’ve been doing a lot of design work that is more applicable to my major, like the posters for some of the different art exhibitions. There is also a lot of artwork either purchased or donated that we’re trying to catalogue, so that faculty and staff can order something from the collection to hang in their office.
Well, I'm originally from out west, and I want to go back out west. I want to work in music as a graphic designer, but I don't really know exactly where I want to start. I feel like I need to meet more people, so that's my initial plan.
Eventually, I want to either do merchandise design or poster design for a group. I’ve thought about looking into Live Nation because they're big with music. There are some designers who I really admire that I've seen online that worked for them and got into their own freelancing gig from that.
I do know I want to work in music, and I've met a lot of music people here too, because SUNY Oneonta is a huge music school. Between the school’s music programs and WONY, I'm always meeting music people, and that helped me figure out what I want to do after graduation.