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Nathan Galvan BFA’23 credits mentors at PNCA for helping him find success as a graphic design professional

by Melanie Moyer,

Nathan Galvan BFA’23 is quick to praise the many mentors who guided his work at PNCA. Developing close relationships with faculty members in the Graphic Design program, Galvan has found that many of those friendships have followed him into his professional career. “I just talked to Katja about an upcoming project the other day,” he says, referring to Assistant Professor Katja A Gantz. “She’s not only my thesis mentor, she’s become a mentor for life.”

Galvan, a graphic designer and artist, has seen success designing for ASICS, The Home Depot, Covergirl, Willamette College of Law and more.

Now, Galvan is a Digital Design Specialist for the Portland Trail Blazers’ new G-League team, crafting motion and regular graphics for web pages, emails and social media accounts. He works with a team to create engaging promotional material, while incorporating the artistic opportunities he had at PNCA.

Developing his creative language and exploring the integration of technology and art at PNCA, Galvan’s thirst for learning was insatiable. He created a unique class with Megan McKissack, Program Coordinator of the Make+Think+Code Lab, to explore concepts like interaction design, generative art and creative coding.

During his two years at PNCA, he also took four classes with Kristin Rogers Brown. “Each equipped me with the brand expression and storytelling I need for my job,” he says. “When I'm designing, I can hear her feedback already in my head.”

Eventually, Galvan’s pursuits culminated in a thesis exposition titled Stasis: an interactive art exhibition that explored impermanence and changing reality. Interrogating questions of time, identity, and change, Galvan’s project was shown in the BFA exhibition with features like projectors that showed three dimensions of the same shadow and screens with colors that changed when viewers moved.

“A lot of what I learned during my thesis is super relevant to my job now. I feel like I do my thesis every week,” he shares, adding “It's obviously a lot easier now because now I have a team behind me.”

As he finds success in his new role, Galvan reflects fondly on the connections and opportunities at PNCA: “The school provided a space for me — and my best bud — to make art, talk, and critique each other's work. There were always people to run into and talk to about art.”

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