Linebacker tackles graphic design

There are two sides to Nate Meredith.

On the football field, he’s on the defensive line, attacking the opponent with fierce tackles to protect the Vikings.

But when he takes off his cleats and leaves the locker room, he heads to the art studio where he creates vibrant and thoughtful graphic design or focuses on photographing nature’s intricate design.

Football, an aggressive sport by nature, and art, a more contemplative activity, do have one commonality for Augustana senior art major and football player Meredith.

“Both require passion and drive to be great,” Meredith said.

On a typical day, Meredith goes from weight lifting, to studying and playing his guitar, to his art classes, then back to the Elmen for more football training, a meeting and practice.

To move back and forth between these each day, Meredith makes a mindset switch by taking extra time to pump up for football, honing in his confidence and strength. Or to switch back, he sometimes takes a walk to cool down towards his more quiet and artfully sensitive self.

“They’re definitely two different sides of me, one’s more mean and the other’s more creative,” Meredith said.

His friends T.J. Liggett and Parker Buckley, both football players, see Meredith make this transition often. Buckley said that while other football players might be going to dinner after practice, Meredith might be going to the art studio or gallery.

“I’d probably say artist mind in a football body,” Liggett, a senior computer science, math, and data science major, said. “And you can definitely see that in the way he plays some, too, he’s definitely very creative with his pass rushing and everything.”

As a dependable and supportive teammate Meredith always checks in on his teammates after football practice.

“In the locker room after practice, he’s always one who will come up to me and ask how it went. So, he’s concerned about people outside of himself a lot of the time,” Buckley, a senior biology major who is minoring in psychology, said.

Being a student athlete takes about five hours a day, according to Meredith, so he has to carefully dedicate his time to make room for his hobbies.

Meredith started teaching himself the guitar in December, and while he’s creating designs or sketches, he listens to about 8 hours of Ed Sheeran, John Mayer, Hozier, Justin Timberlake, the Lumineers and plenty more artists that fit his style. When he goes on a roadtrip with friends, he said song requests have to wait behind the 30 minutes of songs he has queued up.

“That’s kind of how I survive, too, as an artist like if I don’t have music in my ear, there’s a noticeable difference between [the art],” Meredith said.

Meredith is a well-rounded artist with emphasis in graphic design, photography and drawing.

The current feature in the Eide/Dalrymple gallery is a showcase of the work of graduating art majors, and many of Meredith’s photos and drawings are featured in the show. A new twist on the typical all-physical show is that a computer with his professional website,, is also featured. This display is a portal into his graphic design.

Meredith said he has often intertwined his drawing or photography with his graphic design. As a professional, he expects graphic design to be his primary focus.

“I want to progress my art,” Meredith said. “I want to experience new things, and graphic design is a really good medium in which I can explore new opportunities.”

His product design project, featured on the website, depicts a rosé bottle label with a ballerina and careful typography with wisping smoke interacting with each. His preference for a majestic, elegant style is also incorporated in the design.

“There’s a powerful aspect to [Meredith’s designs] but also sensitivity as well,” retired art professor Tom Shields said. “So there’s almost that duality that I find intriguing about him: […] his football side and his physical strength and yet his ability to be sensitive in developing images.”

Meredith’s parents are also graphic designers and willing to share trends and techniques. He interned with them this past summer in his hometown Denver, Colorado.

“My mom is probably my biggest inspiration going into graphic design,” Meredith said. “She’s taught me so much in that field.”

As a sixth grader, Meredith posted the first drawing he remembers really caring about on Facebook — an NBA player. From there, he started to explore his innate talent. But after an eight grade drawing of Jesus, Meredith didn’t create another drawing for five years. The drawing journey kick-started again with a precise sketch of his high school classmate Christian McAffrey, who now plays for the Carolina Panthers. The two images can be found adjacent to one another on his website.

Last year, he discovered drawing with Procreate on the iPad, which yields a quicker and more flexible and detailed result. He often zooms the screen in more than would be possible on paper to add tiny detailing and a careful blurring effect.

Like his complex drawings, his photography zooms in on reality. One of his favorite photographs, featured in the show, is a close-up of fall leaves.

“I try to zoom into the texture of the leaves where you can’t really see with the human eye,” Meredith said. “I love photography that has a near focus, where the background is blurry.”

Fire orange, amber and goldenrod make it one of his most colorful pictures.

“He’s been much more experimental and confident in his use of color,” art professor Anna Reich said. “I remember early on a much more limited color pallet and a lot of darker values. And his most recent work has a really broad range of value, really bold and intense and vibrant color.”

Meredith’s favorite photographic subject is nature.

“Your photography will never be as good as God’s creation, but sometimes I like to incorporate my own ways,” Meredith said. “I have my own signature stuff.”

Another one of his senior show features, “Ink Heart,” found its beginning in a Petco fish tank. The technique of ink photography requires dropping acrylic ink into water and photographing the result. With these images, Meredith captures motion and fantasy in an abstract way.

A variety of Meredith’s pieces can be found in the Humanities concourse and Eide/Dalrymple gallery through the rest of the academic year.