Five Questions with Justin Nostrala

Five Questions with Justin Nostrala

by Katie AnthonyStaff Writer

1. I am most inspired by religion and philosophy.

2. I couldn’t go a day without my wife, Jennifer.

3. My guilty pleasure is potato chips.

4. Art is the greatest invention ever.

5. When I was a kid I wanted to be a marine biologist.

Justin Nostrala, associate professor of art, has been teaching at Simpson since 2001, but he knew his way around campus on the first day of work.

Nostrala received his Bachelor of Arts from Simpson in 1986, and after some time spent in New York studying at the Art Student’s League at the Parson’s School of Design, Nostrala moved to St. Paul, Minn., where he worked at a downtown studio. After four years, Nostrala returned to New York.

Nostrala made ends meet until 1995, when he returned to Iowa and went for to further his education at the University of Iowa. He received his Master of Art in 1998 and his Master of Fine Arts one year later.

After returning to Simpson following graduation, Nostrala taught art history and photography, for a year before moving to Alliance, Ohio, where he worked at Mount Union College. However, Nostrala wasn’t there long before returning to Simpson to teach drawing, basic design, color theory, painting and art survey.

“I came back to Simpson because it is where Jennifer [his wife] was,” Nostrala said.

Jennifer Nostrala is a professor in the theater department at Simpson. Justin Nostrala also chose Simpson for the “friendly” atmosphere.

“I love the size of the campus,” Nostrala said. “Being able to walk around campus and know everyone – for the most part – is a wonderful part of Simpson. It’s just overall friendly.”

His love of art and the campus comes through in the classroom too.

“I love our class,” freshman Bethany Christenson said. “It’s such a laid back environment, and Nostrala is a really laid back teacher. It’s a small class and he takes time to sit down and talk with each of us one-on-one when we’re drawing, like we’re old friends. He also just sits down and starts to draw with us. You can see his passion for art in every class.”