Artists @ Home: Flexibility at home leads Mars Nevada to opportunities post-graduation


Makayla Roumph

UNO graduate Mars Nevada uses what they have learned in the classroom and into their work as a freelance designer post-graduation, with the ambition to accomplish greatness. Photo courtesy of Mars Nevada; Photo by Journey Trimble.

Mars Nevada, a designer, illustrator, strategic communicator and photographer, has taken every opportunity at home to manifest into their present post-graduation opportunities.

Mars is a 2020 UNO graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Communication, a major in Journalism and Media Communications with a focus in Public Relations and Advertising and a secondary field of study in Graphic Design.

Before graduation, Mars held the position of Photo Editor from May 2018 to May 2019 and Imagery Specialist from May 2019 through December 2020 for The Gateway. Opportunities through The Gateway included the creation of illustrations and photos earning representation in a couple of NBC features.

“I love photography but I’m much more of a photojournalist and street and travel photographer than I am a typical portraiture or editorial photographer,” Mars said.

Mars’ eye for design fully immersed after their internship at an advertising agency in New York City during 2018.

“There’s such a creative energy in the city and I spent almost every day at creative events and art exhibits that summer,” Mars said. “I also got into animation in between working shoots and recording commercials in the studio.”

This led Mars to switch the remainder of their classes to design and art when returning to school the following fall. When the pandemic hit last March, Mars had to move from the coffee shop to the couch to work on their craft. However, courses like their printmaking class allowed for Mars to continue their creativity at home.

“One of the classes I started taking at the top of lockdown was this amazing printmaking class,” Mars said. “I ended up making a series of prints using a stencil and wax technique I made up while messing around with candle wax on my stove. I also learned about different methods of printmaking that don’t involve massive studio presses.”

Mars’ flexibility at home and during their time at UNO manifested into opportunities after graduation, including a spot as a finalist for the American Association of Advertising Agencies’ Multicultural Advertising Intern Program fellowship.

Mars said: “If it weren’t for UNO, I don’t know where I’d be. I attended UNO as a Goodrich Scholarship recipient and the Goodrich team are just the best folks who want to see you succeed no matter what. I also was hired right away as a freshman to work on the marketing and communications team at the Barbara Weitz Community Engagement Center. I formed a lot of relationships and close ties with the nonprofits there, many of which ended up being my freelance clients and referring new clients to me. It’s also the reason I believe so much in community engagement.”

For other pursuing young designers and artists of all trades, Mars advises you to submit in competitions, broaden what inspires you by seeking out new experiences like operas and plays, listen to new music, study art history and learn about contemporary art and artists. To read more about this inspiration, visit local designer Justin Kemerling’s essay.

Mars also advises young designers to find mentors and role models.

“I’d advise other young graphic designers just starting out like me to find mentors and people you look up to,” Mars said. “People who can help you push your work further and that you can learn from. Collaborate with others. Know your value. Be engaged in your community through things like AIGA or just connecting with a group of other young creatives.”

Mars is one to aspire to inspire and has future projects in mind to support and connect creatives of color in the Midwest. They said many of their friends of color are leaving the Midwest because they do not feel a landing place to create, support and collaborate. Mars is taking initiative to create just that.

To follow along on Mars’ future plans and to see more of their work, visit their website at and Instagram.