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Why I Get Outdoors with Illustrator Brian Rau

Brian Rau is an illustrator and graphic designer who lives, works and cycles in Chicago. He does industrial work for manufacturers and companies along with producing authentic work that he sells in his net store at Rau’s work combines myriad textures, geometric shapes and a minimalist shade palette to inform tales of energy, movement, stress, concord, love, nature and humanity. He’s the artist behind the 2023 REI Co-op Outdoors With Satisfaction assortment, a line of substances and attire that uplifts and have fun the ways in which LGBTQ+ communities exist in and benefit from the outside.

We just lately caught up with Rau to ask why he will get exterior.

Illustrator Brian Rau rests during a bike ride in Chicago
Illustrator and bicycle owner Brian Rau takes a break on a journey.

Biking in Chicago

I’ve at all times cherished exploring the outside. At present, considered one of my greatest passions is biking. Residing in an enormous metropolis could make experiencing the outside really feel tough at occasions.

So, considered one of my favourite out of doors actions is driving my bike for miles and miles alongside Chicago’s Lakefront Path. I can escape town, let my thoughts wander and reset. I like the view over Lake Michigan and the infinite alternatives to cease alongside the water and chill out. Just a few stops alongside Lakeshore Drive embrace Kathy Osterman Seashore, Montrose Level Chicken Sanctuary and Promontory Level.

One other nice biking spot is The 606 path in Chicago. The 606 was an deserted elevated railway that runs east-west within the Logan Sq. neighborhood. The railway was transformed right into a strolling and biking path, making a inexperienced area and a secure route for cyclists.

Additionally, I’ll exit on a journey and unexpectedly spend the night with mates I ran into alongside the lake.

Getting exterior is crucial, however not at all times accommodating within the Chicago winters. When the climate is good, I at all times make getting exterior a precedence. I take pleasure in packing up my saddle luggage with a seaside towel, Frisbee™, speaker, meals and drinks and having a day on the lakefront with my mates. Chicago is one of the best metropolis—three months out of the yr.

Outdoors With Satisfaction

To me, Outdoors With Satisfaction means current in nature as you might be. Nature doesn’t abide by “societal norms” and doesn’t give preferences primarily based in your sexuality. Outdoors with Satisfaction provides me a way of peace on this wild world.

A bear represents the energy and braveness it takes to reject societal norms and embrace your uniqueness. The birds symbolize the spectrum of id, expression and sexuality. Concord is achieved via love and acceptance for all numerous creatures.

A few of Brian Rau’s designs for the 2023 Outdoors With Satisfaction line. Clockwise from left: Small Satisfaction Tote Bag, Satisfaction Bear Camp Mug and Satisfaction Trucker Hat.

Inspiration In all places

Essentially the most lovely place I’ve skilled would most likely be Yosemite Nationwide Park. After I visited, I had so many distinctive experiences simply in that one place. One among my fondest reminiscences was coming throughout a large monarch butterfly colony. There have been so many butterflies in all places, fluttering across the forest. As you walked via the forest, they might be flying throughout you want fairies. It felt like I used to be engulfed in wildlife, some magical wonderland. You would attain out and contact them. It was an expertise that you simply solely get just a few occasions in your life, and it was very inspiring. It felt like a fantasy cartoon situation dropped at life.

I’m an enormous nerd—a fan of the cardboard recreation Magic: The Gathering, love Lord of the Rings, Journey Time, and many others. Issues which can be an escape from skilled life and the “concrete jungle.”

Inspiration is available in many varieties. I discover new experiences are one of the best—getting out of your regular routine. Touring is a big inspiration to me. After I get to discover new locations in nature, it may be very inspiring. I like seeing completely different geography and animals in nature. I take pleasure in working with textures so after I take a look at rocks, I feel, how can I translate this in a brush stroke? And the identical goes for an animal’s fur or the gorgeous colours of a crustacean.

I’m continuously impressed by my family and friends inside the queer neighborhood.

One other instance can be taking a look at one thing so simple as timber. They’re a standard component when drawing landscapes. Timber are available in so many shapes and varieties, so getting out and exploring new terrain will help you discover new methods to precise a standard component.

Get Outdoors Like Brian Rau

Brian Rau's bike—including his Ortlieb Sport-Roller High Visibility Panniers—on a trail in the Chicago area.

Saddle Luggage

Along with becoming all of your necessities, the safety-neon Sport-Curler Excessive Visibility Panniers from Ortlieb will help you be seen. Excessive visibility is essential within the metropolis,” Rau says. “I’ve been doored earlier than, so it’s vital to have reflectors and lights.” Purchase right here.

Bike Helmet

You’re by no means absolutely dressed and not using a helmet—no less than once you’re biking in Chicago. The light-weight Session Mips Bike Helmet from Smith gives the mandatory safety whereas providing loads of air flow. “I’m not so apprehensive about my driving, however extra [about] different folks’s driving and consciousness,” Rau says. Purchase right here.

Seashore Towel

The correct towel could make or break a day on the lake. The colourful, light-weight and absorbent Authentic Towel from Nomadix is made out of tremendous comfortable, International Recycle Customary (GRS) postconsumer recycled plastic. It really works simply as effectively for drying as for lounging round in type. Purchase right here.

Flying Disc

Let your Satisfaction flag soar in disc type this yr with the special-edition Satisfaction Flying Disc, which Rau designed for the 2023 REI Co-op Outdoors With Satisfaction assortment. Purchase right here.

Moveable Speaker

Cost up and rock out with a transportable Bluetooth speaker like this waterproof and dustproof Cost 5 Moveable Speaker from JBL. It might probably present as much as 20 hours of playtime and has a built-in energy financial institution to your cellphone or GPS gadget. Purchase right here.


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