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Thursday, July 27, 2017 - 5:00pm

Born in Mexico, educated in the U.S., and now living in Europe, you could say that Rodrigo Jiménez, BFA'04, is a true citizen of the world.

Four years ago, the 36-year-old graphic designer and his wife Anna moved to her native Switzerland so she could complete her master's in Latin American studies at the University of Bern. From their home in Baden, Jimenez commutes to Zurich, where he works as a web specialist, helping design publications for a large bank. He is currently learning to speak German, one of the three principal languages spoken in that part of the world.

Growing up in Mexico, the oldest of three children, Jimenez inherited his wanderlust from his family. "We moved several times—first to Queretaro, a smaller town a few hundred kilometers to the northwest, then to Miami, Florida," he explained. Another family trait appears to be a hunger for education: "My dad is a university-educated engineer, and he insisted that my brother and sister and I pursue higher education. Both parents have always been supportive, whatever our career goals. My Dad used to say, 'You can be whatever you want to be, but make sure you like what you do.'"

And what Jimenez liked to do was draw. "I started drawing when I was a kid," he said. "My mother always brought coloring books and crayons whenever we went anywhere. It was the best way to keep me occupied."

After earning an associate's degree from an arts college in Miami, Jimenez struck out for parts north, settling in the New Haven, Conn., area to explore animation design as a career. At a college fair, he learned about Mercy's animation program, which had launched the year before. Inspired by its program director, Jeff Bellantoni, who later became his mentor, Jimenez transferred to Mercy College, completing his BFA in Computer Arts and Design in 2004.

What is his best advice for students hoping for a creative career? "Don't be afraid of failing," he said emphatically. "After graduation, I did a lot of freelance design projects, and I was constantly afraid of not measuring up. Feedback about art is always so subjective, and if a client doesn't like something, it may have nothing to do with the quality of your work. So although I did fail a couple of times, I didn't give up. We learn from every experience, and we learn even more from the unexpected experience. So I tell young artists that instead of being afraid, they should be curious. If they are curious about how and why things work, they will always be learning and improving."