Browse the shelves at Rae Lang’s store, Woosah Outfitters, and you’ll see how the multi-talented shop proprietor and woodcut artist (she/her) draws inspiration from many sources. Whether you’re looking digitally or you’re present at the brick and mortar location in Grand Rapids, Michigan, you’ll notice common themes. There’s the natural world, evident in everything from native fish prints to wildflower-bedecked notebooks to T-shirts with mountains on them—or environmental issues, as in the wave made from a collage of plastic trash in her “Save Our Waters” shirt. And with the new graphic she designed for Public Lands to celebrate Pride Month this June, Lang draws directly from her personal journey.
We caught up with Lang to hear the story behind the design—available on apparel, stickers, and prints exclusively through Public Lands—as well as the video (below) about her coming-out story and the importance of representation, support, and belonging for the LGBTQ community.
PUBLIC LANDS: Tell us about your new Pride design.
RAE LANG: The graphic is happy, and it feels tropical to me. It makes me smile. It’s very bright, with a rainbow, flowers in the front; tree, mountains, raindrops. It represents how nature itself is most beautiful when it’s diverse.
We had a call together, and I was talking to [Public Lands] about how my coming-out story is actually pretty heavy. I wanted to focus more on the happy side of it: the triumph, getting through it. Through the conversation was where the raindrops came into play. I thought it was nice to represent that you do have to go through tough times to enjoy the rainbow, to get the sunshine, and for the flowers to bloom. Nature can show the triumphs we experience as human beings.
What does it mean to you that a business like Public Lands is supporting your work?
Doing just this—hiring queer artists, uplifting queer voices, having representation in the public eye—I think it’s how it should be. It’s inspiring to see a company that’s so large and corporate not be afraid to take a stance and share my story. To put it out there that they believe in this, they believe in public lands for all. I wish everybody would be more outspoken about it. This is when we need people to come together and show support for our community.