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Stock Up On Your Fav Summer Items With Retiring Items

If you’re anything like us, you’re holding on to these last few summer feeling days with a death grip. There is no reason that you can’t hold on to a piece of summer as we transition into fall.salt-lime-sunshine-banner

We are making room for the new looks of fall and our new line of winter beanies. It is time to take advantage of our summer sale and stock up on your favorite items while they last!

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Rig To Flip And Akinz Thanks You!

Our Rig to Flip line will be expiring at the end of this month. We have loved supporting their mission. Thank you for your help with this effort. Make sure to pick up a river hoodie to keep you warm on those chilly fall nights on the river. Akinz donates 40% of all proceeds to the organization to help them in their filming efforts of the Dolores River.

brig-ribbed-wool-beanie-charcoal-grayPick up a beanie to keep your noggin warm as we fast approach cooler fall mornings and chilly nights. We are retiring some of our Akinz styles and will soon be considered collectors items!

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We will be retiring our “Under the Stars” design this fall. Make sure that you grab yours to wear under your favorite flannel this summer to help you look forward to next summer’s campfire nights.

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 Ladies, we’ve got you covered too. Get your printed tank to layer under your favorite knit cardigan to hold true to your mountain girl style.

Whether you’re holding out for winter season or grieving over the loss of summer, cheer up by cruising through our retiring styles to grab your favs before they go vintage! Keep your eye out for what is new this fall. Look out for our next month’s featured artist and our next Find Your Wings beneficiary.

If you have someone you would like to nominate for a future Find Your Wings recipient or are interested in being our next artist of the month, please email us! We would love to hear from you! 

Artist Spotlight – Dominique Montano

This month’s featured artist in our Fort Collins store is Dominique Montano.  We are captivated by her realistic yet conceptualized depictions of large safari animals.  So we thought we would sit down and get to know a little more about Dominique and where her inspiration comes from.

Tell us a little about your background… when did you start creating art and what drew you to life as an artist?

I grew up with a lot of brothers, so there were a lot of comic books floating around. I loved the art in them and would sit and draw out panels for hours, and that really got me into the idea of sketching and drawing. I did portraits for a while before I started shifting to animals. I was very interested in animals at the time since I wanted to become a veterinarian, and eventually I just started trying to draw out animals. It was a pretty handy skill while in school for zoology and I was able to create my own posters and figures. Art was always a sort of hobby to me, but when I was in a car accident last year and had nothing but time in a bed to recover, it became very therapeutic for me and I started to draw and create artwork more often. I love being able to create and see myself grow as an artist with each new piece, and to be able to educate others and bring attention to some of the animal subjects I create.

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You draw a lot of animals but not ones that you typically get to see in nature.  What sparked your interest in big cats and safari type animals?

I’ve always been interested in the mammals and large predators of the world. In my time as an undergraduate I received a unique opportunity to perform work on pumas, and then after a study abroad trip to South Africa several years ago, I began to respect the nature around us and understand how little I knew of the world. As a zoologist, I respect cats in general due to their incredible adaptability and amazing diversity among habitats, and felt that pieces with cats as my subjects would command attention and help others understand a little more about them.

Beyond cats, there are amazing animals out there, large and small, predator and prey, whose populations are declining due to human-wildlife conflict. As I started selling my pieces, I realized I could use my art to call attention to these issues, provide resources to educate, and try to give back where I could to the animals whose likeness I was profiting from. I make sure to donate a portion of my profits from pieces to conservation organizations that do incredible work to combat the factors that are forcing these species into a corner.

The cheetah figures in “In Motion” were created with spray paint.  Did you create a stencil for each one or airbrush them on?

I’m actually a pretty big fan of stencils! “In Motion” was one of my favorite pieces because it was as accurate as possible to the actual motion of a running cheetah, and turned out looking fantastic. I used freezer paper to draw on a stencil, cut out the areas to be painted, and ironed it onto the canvas, which creates nice sharp lines when it’s time to spraypaint. Then smaller detailed areas were filled in with pen to bring it all together. In progress photo can be seen on Dominique’s instagram.

Other than being an artist, we know you’re a CSU student.  What are you currently studying and what do you hope to do when you graduate?

I received my bachelor’s in Zoology from Colorado State University in 2014, and am currently on a PhD track in Zoology at Colorado State University again! So it’s really nice to return and bring some projects to fruition that have been on hold for a few years. I perform research in a physiology lab, and would like to concentrate on comparative and exercise physiology in large animals, as well as animal locomotion. The dream is to work with the cats of the world and understand their physiology and morphology across species. In addition to research I’d like to continue my educational projects and perform outreach using my artistry. There is so much we as researchers and people can learn from the world around us, and respecting that world and the systems we may not even fully comprehend yet is absolutely integral to our own growth and survival. To be able to use my knowledge and talents to contribute to such an understanding would be an incredible accomplishment.

You work with a lot of different mediums, including woodworking.  What is your favorite type of art to create?

I really do love it all! I’m still getting into more mediums every day, but the ones that stand out most to me are charcoal work and more recently, watercolors. Both mediums can be messy, but on one hand charcoals offer great contrast work, along with relatively easy shading to be done with smudges. Watercolors I love because it can add a fantastic element of surrealism by putting in different colors where they shouldn’t normally be. While I try to adhere to realism where I can in a piece due to my educational background, art is still art, and sometimes you just need to throw some blues and greens on a piece to really make it pop!

What is your favorite piece of art you’ve every done? (if you could also send me a picture or Instagram link to use in the blog, that would be awesome).

Ooh that’s a tough one. It’s tough getting attached to a piece because I never want to let it go! My favorites currently are probably “Tyger, Tyger,”  “Native,” or “Ursidae.” “Tyger, Tyger” was an idea borne from a poem, and some of the techniques I tried out looked so fantastic in the end product that I don’t know if I’ll ever replicate that again. “Native” is one of my favorites due to my love of pumas, and was one of the first projects where I blended inks and watercolors to create contrast and fur detail, and the end product was better than expected, which is hard to get. “Ursidae” is a charcoal piece, one of my first larger ones that ended up just looking incredible. I’m very critical of my works, and it was just one of those rare pieces that I couldn’t find any criticism for.

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The Tyger Tyger piece which one of the limited edition prints this month was based on has a cool ‘duality’ type composition.  We saw this in some of your other work as well.  Is there a message there?

Actually, one of my first pieces was called “Duality!” I previously did a piece called “Two Kings” which was similar to “Tyger, Tyger,” which featured two lions, one roaring and one just looking on. That idea of duality in nature, of fear and respect, regality and aggression, was just appealing to me; and cats were the perfect subject for it. There is a poem called “The Tyger,” by William Blake, which speaks of the dangers and beauty of nature, juxtaposing the innocence and frailty of a lamb with the power and fear that a tiger can impose. The piece was adapted from the first stanza, which reads:

“Tyger tyger burning bright

In the forests of the night

What immortal hand or eye

Could frame thy fearful symmetry?”

I have always loved that poem and the message it suggests, and after I did “Two Kings” knew I wanted to adapt ‘The Tyger” in a similar fashion. The message is similar to the poem: there is beauty in nature, and there is just as much power. It’s not always to be feared, because we can learn so much, but it is absolutely to be respected. The tigers in the piece, one roaring and one looking on, reflects nature and its duality. Most of these animals in the world around us are not to be controlled, but respected for the ferocity and poise they can hold.

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Dominique’s limited edition artist tees are only available during the month of September, so shop them now before you miss out. The 2 prints available are a line drawing version of her tiger design, Tyger Tyger and the geometric panther.  Come by the store to see the original artwork and other pieces by Dominique.

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Finding my Wings : Gabriella Auer

At the beginning of this year we started sponsoring the Squatch team who has been training for their first Ironman! They related to our Find Your Wings motto and we love supporting people who are out there making life happen.  Gabriella Auer is a team member and this is her story of how she ‘found her wings’.

Last winter I signed up to swim, bike, and run for a total of 70.3 miles at the end of June this summer. WHY? WHY? someone might ask? Well, to completely answer that question we need to rewind some years.

You should have seen me my freshman year of high school. I remember running the mile and it was SO. HARD. As I lay in the grass after I ran 4 laps around our track I remember someone saying then it wasn’t good to lay down after running the mile. I don’t think I cared. Fast forward 15 years and here I am, an Ironman 70.3 finisher. What? How did I come this far? Am I the same person? Whether you run 10 miles every day or walk for 10 minutes every day, I hope I can inspire and encourage you with my own story.

A few years ago a friend asked me if I would consider running a Half Marathon in San Jose, CA, where I was living at the time. Initially I said no (Why would I run 13.1 miles? And pay to do it?)… but after thinking about it I knew it would be a good challenge for me. So I agreed to do it. After training (and grabbing a lot of free gel packets during the race) I finished it! (And it wasn’t too bad!)

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After that race, I ran a full and another half as well. It was hard work training but it was incredible to see what I could accomplish when I was determined! When my boa-clad Dad joined me in the race, someone snapped a shot and we were in the news! (How happy do I look in that picture?!?!) Upon moving to Fort Collins my friend Alex asked me if I would do a triathlon with him in Boulder. Again, my first response was no (because: swimming) but after my friend AJ encouraged me to challenge myself I signed up. I completed my first tri!! After our tri last summer AJ talked about how we were going to do a Half Ironman. My response: who is “we”? I was unsure at first, but after having decided to do it, I am so thankful! It’s been incredible to train, race, and encourage my 7 teammates and friends- the Squatch Team… named after Dr. Squatch Soap! We all completed our first Ironman 70.3 in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho this summer!

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We are so thankful for Akinz supporting our team! Akinz is all about finding your wings- what is it that makes you want to go faster, farther, and harder?

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For me, mountain biking is another area of outdoor activity where I have really found my wings! It all started on Kesl Run at 18 Road in Fruita, Colorado. I went with friends and borrowed a mountain bike and was HOOKED. Holy cow it was so much fun! Kesl Run makes you feel like you are riding a roller coaster- but on your bike! I could not keep quiet- happy/loud sounds kept coming from my mouth and BOY was I excited. I knew I gotta get into this sport. I purchased my first mountain bike- a Juliana Juno. It’s a full suspension limey green bike that I have had so much fun on. I have ridden in Crested Butte, Fruita, Grand Junction, Fort Collins, and hopefully many more places! On my Juliana I have done an XTerra, short track races, and XC races. It has been such a joy finding my wings.

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Now, I’m off to mountain bike race at the Laramie Mountain Bike Series in Laramie, Wyoming!

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