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Artist Profile: Jerrod Galanin

| Artist Profile | March 25, 2021

Jerrod Galanin was born in 1977. These days he lives with his wife Brit, nine-year-old Arya, ten-year-old Ruby and their four-month-old son. Their full house looks out over the ocean and other creatures who make their home on the ocean. That water and that wildlife are where Galanin gets much of his inspiration.

Galanin is the Sitka artist who designed the new logo for Brave Heart Volunteers.

How did the notion of designing a new logo for the beloved local organization come about?  Galanin (who serves on the board of Brave Heart) says, “Originally, there was no idea of doing a new logo, I just wanted to create a design that BHV could use on shirts as a fundraising effort. They are celebrating their 20th anniversary this year and I thought maybe if we put the design on a shirt, they could sell the shirts to raise money.”

But then, Brave Heart liked Galanin’s design so much, they decided they wanted to use it as their new logo.

When asked about his artistic influences growing up, Galanin sites first and foremost his dad, Tlingit carver Dave Galanin.

“My dad was my mentor. Another important one was my uncle Will Burkhart. I learned a lot from them. And then, my great grandfather was George Benson (who designed the totem pole in Totem Square). Unfortunately, I did not really know him, since I was born just a year or so before he died.

How did Jerrod arrive at such a distinctive design for the logo?

“I liked the idea of a heart shape and I worked my formline into it. I also liked the idea of Raven and Eagle as lovebirds. Having both together represents a way to keep balance. I wanted to do something with a more contemporary feel – like depicting Raven and Eagle together – this is something that is not commonly done. And, also, having the bright colors. And, finally, I kind of snuck in ‘BHV’ into the negative space.”

Jerrod says he really thinks the best way to learn about art is “through a mentorship, like I had with my dad and my uncle. Steve Brown is another person I worked with.”

The young Galanin has worked in various media. Much of his work is engraved silver jewelry and there’s some carving in wood. But, he says, “I am always trying new media – in the past year I’ve been doing a lot in pastels. Pastels can be really big and messy,” he says. “With my son David being born in December,” he says, “lately I have been grabbing my ipad and doing digital drawings.”

And where can someone who’s interested find examples of Jerrod’s work? He has a show coming up in April at Seattle’s Stonington Gallery. “There will be some drawings and pastel works on display there for the whole month. Then, there’s my website, which shows different kinds of work I have done. The store in downtown Sitka (Galanin & Klein) has some of my work. And, of course, there is the 20th Anniversary celebration for Brave Heart, on April 17th. I’ve been a board member just since 2020, so I’m not terribly experienced, but I think it’s a great organization and I am happy to be part of it.”

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