It’s a corner of the world known by the Iroquois as “Ska-na-wis,” or “Long Swamp.” It was the home of a legendary band of horse thieves known as the Loomis Gang, who stole steeds throughout Oneida County. In 1875 it was known as the “Hops Capital of the World.” George Eastman, father of the Kodak Company, also hails from the village once known as “The Huddle.”
But to Trueline production designer Amy Nimon, Waterville, New York, is simply home.
“I’m so happy that I’ve found a way to keep doing what I’ve always loved doing.”Amy Nimon, production designer
Growing up on the outskirts of Utica, Nimon found freedom—literally square miles of it—on the farm where she moved with her family at age 7. Exploring the woods, rolling pastures, cornfields and abandoned barns proved to be a child’s paradise, complete with tree forts, sledding and rope swings.
With few outside distractions, her creativity was inspired by the rural landscape. She got her first digital camera at 12, fell in love with photography and begged teachers to let her into a high school program, only to be turned down. The reason? She was too young—just a middle-schooler. She says she counted the days until high school when she could sign up.
The Hint of a New Career
Determined to pursue her dream of becoming a photographer and writer, Nimon ultimately found her way to Hobart and William Smith Colleges. As a sophomore, a professor introduced her to graphic design which encompassed the best of both worlds.
While the school had no official graphic design program, she earned a double bachelor’s in studio art (with a concentration in photography), and writing and rhetoric (with a concentration in journalism) in 2011.
“I tried to combine everything I liked into one thing,” says Nimon. “I couldn’t imagine leaving anything out.”
When you grow up in the Mohawk Valley, you are guaranteed to never see a palm tree. But with her creative mindset and shivering from lake effect snow, Nimon always imagined a move to California.
Foregoing a master’s program at the Pratt Institute in New York City, she took her first graphic design job in 2012at BOCES, a regional vocational center in Oneida County. After two years, she’d gained the needed experience (and savings) to make the move to San Francisco with her longtime boyfriend, Nick.
“It was my dream,” Nimon says—one she was determined to pursue. Even if it meant sleeping on a mattress on a friend’s floor until she found her graphic design job at Crane & Canopy in 2015.
For five years she shot photos and designed catalogs for the luxury home décor brand and explored California’s coastline from L.A. to Mendocino.
“The whole coast is my favorite place in the world, and I’m counting the days until I can go back and visit,” she says.
Where in the world is Amy?
By 2019, however, the two were ready to move back East—albeit to a different part of the country entirely. With fond memories of Waterville, Maine, Nimon was drawn to what had long been her home away from home (her dad hails from the area and they visited family there in the summers). She had her sights set on Portland.
Prior to her arrival in Maine, she spent 3 weeks backpacking across Europe—her second such trip with Nick, which included Spain, Italy and Hungary with pitstops in Madrid, Rome and Budapest.
“There’s so much to see and explore. We wanted to make the most of our free time between jobs,” Nimon says.
Arriving in Portland in late June 2019, she quickly found a professional home at Trueline, the latest addition to the company’s growing design team.
“I was immediately comfortable in Trueline’s environment and I liked everyone I met during interviews,” Nimon recalls.
Although she had a couple of options on the table, meeting the team at Trueline is what really sold her.
“I’m so happy that I’ve found a way to keep doing what I’ve always loved doing,” Nimon adds. “Sometimes you have to just go and see what’s out there and have faith it will all work out.”
Notes on Nimon:
What’s best about growing up near Utica?: The Italian food, especially chicken “riggies” from Georgio’s and anything from Florentine Bakery.
Mohawk Valley Girls are known for: An optimistic attitude and a nasally accent. “I’ve tried to lose the accent!” says AAAAAmy.
Best piece of advice: Make sure you like your work, but more importantly, that you like who you work WITH, especially your boss.
Pandemic strategy: Running every day and keeping up with creative endeavors like oil painting, baking and writing poetry.
What’s on her playlist?: Bright Eyes, Bob Dylan, Rolling Stones, and some TLC and Mariah Carey to get her ‘90s R&B fix.