When an unexpected job opportunity emerged at Gaylord Opryland Hotel, Jose Semidei packed a duffel bag and left Puerto Rico for the neon lights of Nashville. Following a well-worn path established by many artists before him, Semidei wanted to pursue a career in music. Little did he know, his adventures would land him a graphic design position working for Music City herself.
Semidei’s supervisor position at Gaylord couldn’t hold his creative interest for long. After moving multiple times and working at various Nashville businesses, he decided to refocus his talents and finish his degree. Researching a variety of colleges led him to Nossi College of Art, where he enrolled in the associate graphic design program.
“I liked the personal feeling of it,” Semidei said, referring to when he visited the college. The curriculum, teachers and location sealed the deal. Before graduation, Semidei landed a graphic design gig at Dex Imaging. While at Dex, he decided to continue his education by enrolling into Nossi’s bachelor’s program. He graduated magna cum laude in April 2010 with his bachelor’s degree in graphic design.
Before receiving his diploma, Semidei displayed his work at Nossi’s Senior Portfolio Review. Because of his tenacity, he grabbed the first table in the front. He wanted to be remembered. It was there he met Chuck Creasy, VP of creative services at the Nashville Convention and Visitors Bureau (NCVB).
“I was very impressed at the portfolio review,” said Creasy. “There was a lot of good work, but Jose’s stuff was head and shoulders above the others. That is what I look for, someone who has a little bit of an edge, who does more than it takes to just get by.”
While working for NCVB, Semidei designs brochures for conventions visiting Nashville, program initiatives like Music City Hitmakers, and logos for events including the New Year’s Eve “Bash on Broadway,” an event nationally ranked by many news sources including Travel + Leisure.
“He is a fabulous employee for us. He is doing award-winning work for the city of Nashville. I can’t say enough good things about him,” says Creasy.
Semidei loves his job because it allows him to explore his range of talents and pushes him to always strive for perfection. Whether he gets to meet Keith Urban, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Reba or Darius Rucker, Semidei’s favorite place to be is behind the scenes, knowing what he has designed and how many people have seen it.
Semidei now gives back to Nossi. As a creative professional, he attends portfolio reviews and events to provide insight to current students.
“[At Nossi] teachers see you as a peer, not just a former student. You are professionally equal and there is camaraderie,” says Semidei. “When I visit, I always stop to see Arden [Von Haeger]. He gave me confidence and guidance when it came to my vision. He wasn’t there to change my style.”
After our interview, Semidei invited me to Aladdin’s to meet Michael Inman, a friend and fellow Nossi graduate. Inman is a graphic designer for Horizon Wine and Spirits, the largest wine and liquor distributor in Nashville. TO BE CONTINUED.