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Former Spring Garden student helps create Olympic images

8/16/2012 - West Side Leader
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By Kathleen Folkerth

Former area resident Nathaniel Howe worked on some of the imagery used in NBC’s coverage of the Summer Olympics, as shown above.
Photos courtesy of Nathaniel Howe
COPLEY — Animation artist Nathaniel Howe’s work has been seen by millions of people, and he credits his success in part to the creative foundation he built on after attending Spring Garden Waldorf School.

Nathaniel Howe helped create the logos used for this year’s Olympics in London.
Photo courtesy of Nathaniel Howe
The Los Angeles resident, who attended the school — then located in Springfield Township and now in Copley Township — for his seventh- and eighth-grade school years, is the creative director and partner at Nathaniel James, a design firm he and a friend founded earlier this year.

But before that, about a year ago, Howe worked at a firm that was asked by NBC to design logos and animation for the London Summer Olympics.

“It’s a huge team of people working on it,” said Howe, 29. “Our hand was helping them in the early phases looking at what is the potential with this, and providing the set of eyes to give them inspiration.”

Howe was born and raised in the Youngstown area and always had an interest in art, he said. After several years in a public school, he didn’t feel the art education he was receiving was what he needed.

“Even the art teacher there didn’t seem to value the arts, and I thought that was kind of funny,” he said. “I never really clicked there.”

His father knew about the Waldorf philosophy of education and they checked out the local school, which is the only Waldorf school in Northeast Ohio. His grandfather drove him to and from school each day — a commute of about an hour each way.

“The reason I appreciate why I went there is it gave me a place where it was safe to be creative and it was safe to be myself,” he said. “It was really a nurturing environment.”

Today he said he is still in touch with his former teacher, Nancy Stewart.

For high school, Howe decided to continue his Waldorf education and attended High Mowing School in New Hampshire. There he was able to create his own curriculum.

“Even the though the Waldorf education isn’t huge on TV and technology, at the high school I told the dean there I was interested in being a film director,” he said.

Howe headed to Full Sail University in Florida for college, where he majored in computer animation. From there he worked for a firm in North Carolina before heading out to Los Angeles a decade ago to make a name for himself in design.

“I came out here with a dream to be freelance, and it literally went from one booking to the next and I stayed booked for 10 years as a freelance artist,” he said. “That led me to start the studio.”

He said his favorite client so far has been professional boxer Manny Pacquiao. He also enjoyed work he’s done for the Cosmopolitan, a hotel and casino in Las Vegas.

In addition to work on visuals for the Olympics, Howe said he also had the chance to work on “The Avengers” and “Men in Black 3,” and he hopes to get more involved in motion pictures in the near future.

“I’d love to create a title sequence and really put my mark on the beginning of a film,” he said.

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