Design by Nature


Photo by Ankur Dholakia

Our lives are journeys. Often times we are not fully aware of our surroundings and how they alter and influence our physical and spiritual beings, but we naturally take the journey. Many of us are fortunate to have the lifestyle to get outdoors and explore a variety of recreational activities. It’s easy to take this part of our journey for granted and see the sport as one of pursuit not realizing what is right in front of us. Then again, there is also a handful of people who do not have the lifestyle to do such a thing. For me, getting outdoors has become not only a journey but a pursuit of opportunity waiting to be discovered and even challenged. I take this journey every chance I get when I go to the river to fish. I appreciate what is around me and in the water of what I may be chasing at that time; fishing simply becomes the by-product. The vehicle of scientific exploration leads me to a self-discovery of “change” which is my transformation, my balance, and my church. Whether I’m chasing trout or steelhead, wadding through the river with fellow anglers scanning the pockets and feeding lines or eddies on the river, I am metamorphosing as a pupil of what Mother Nature is revealing and how I am being shaped.

Soul River was given life as I was standing waist deep, filling my lungs with the  pure fresh air,  being humbly embraced by Mother Nature’s theater, and ultimately fighting my PTSD from my years serving in the U.S. Navy. Throughout the development of Soul River, a connection of art and design between the outdoor world and the urban world was inspired from the art of fly fishing. The intention is to fold both worlds into a creative, urban, outdoor fashion apparel brand beacon young and old bridging from urban to outdoors. The brand of Soul River represents an embodiment of  nature inter-playing between fashion art and design and the beauty of our environment with legs in the community cultivating young minds  and veterans connecting to the outdoors raising the mental state of awareness to an ambassador of the outdoors.


Photo by Ankur Dholakia

The brand is the soul of nature that is a reflection of ourselves, where we are at in that exact moment in time. It speaks to your individual lifestyle, no matter who you are, where you are, or what your passion is. Soul River represents everyone’s experiences that are interpreted like a unique thumbprint. The brand is viewed differently to each individual who embraces it because each person has their own adventure. Each experience on the water, on the trail, or in the city streets is different based on what is seen or breathed. My Soul River is different from your Soul River with diverse perspectives and experiences. My reality is the healing that water brings to the soul, the medicine to the mental, physical, and the spiritual world. At the end of the day we all stand on a common ground of interest and respect for Mother Nature, whether she’s seen in the urban world or the natural world. The brand welcomes the uniqueness and  individuality, as Soul River is unconventional in its approach to the consumers just as Mother Nature is unconventional in Her approach in the outdoors.


Photo by Ankur Dholakia

The voice of the brand also advocates our opportunity to stand and fight for the injustices that younger generations face, with intention to inspire exploring the outdoors, becoming ambassadors for tomorrow, understanding that nature is freaking cool and hip. It’s the journey of all groups, including age, race, and socio-economic status, which we take as a universal reminder that we are inherently connected. Part of the brand also gives back to veterans fighting PTSD, in pursuit to provides rich opportunities such as classes & expeditions that are one day to one week outings led by Soul River and partners with US Fish and Wildlife and Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge  and other partners coining the term “Iron Sharpening Iron.” Ultimately, one “iron” is U.S. veterans transitioning into society post-war in hopes that they will find peace and comfort in the healing waters. The other “iron” is community youth transitioning from a troubled past seeking alternative methods of healing by embarking into the outdoors, joining conservation efforts, and gaining a new respect for Mother Nature. Both veterans and youth have similar trials – whether it’s a literal war or a war of his/her own, struggling with street life, drugs, and gangs. By merging these two groups together, they’ll have the opportunity to mentor, learn from one another, and teach through their challenges. Soul River Runs Deep!


Photo by Ankur Dholakia



Tight Lines,




Celebration Wild Steelhead Onward and Forward

The Celebration of Wild Steelhead was an amazing success this past Sunday. Mainly because of all the generous help we received from the local community to make it happen; local businesses, US Fish and Wildlife, and all the dedicated anglers who came out to share their skills. Everyone’s hard work ensured a high level engagement by both youth organizations that planned to attend and curious neighbors who passed through and ended up picking up a flyrod kit, hat and shirt and some info for our future clinics. We are confident that every kid who participated walked away with new skills, and understanding of fly fishing and the wild steelhead, and in most cases hooked enough to continue their exploration of the sport or just becoming an ambassador of the outdoors. The difference of understanding the youth had before and after the event was remarkable; some had no idea what fly fishing was, some had never heard of it, and some had come up with their own creative idea of what it meant to fly fish. Walking away from the event, everyone should feel proud of their involvement and the accomplishments we had that day introducing more youth in the community to the outdoors.


.Celebration of Wild Steehead


We want to thank all our volunteers, soul river ambassadors and our partners US Fish & Wildlife, Tualatin River Refuge, The Intertwine, Native Fish Society, LOOP, SpeyHeads, ZAP Team Oregon Zoo, Fly Fishing Collaborative, Jim Teeny & Donny Teeny, OPST, Scientific Anglers, Rising Buffalo Tribe, Oregon Department Fish Wildlife, Donny Adir, Stone fly Society and all the participating youth organizations; Momentum Alliance, PPS Title VII Indian Education, City of Vancouver Parks and Recreation, and Boy Scouts of America. Everyone who came out and did their part behind the scenes made all this possible! Moving onward and upward, we will be holding five clinics, once a month, open to all youth who came out to learn this past weekend to continue their education as an angler and outdoor ambassador. They will be held at various locations throughout Portland. Stay tuned for more specifics. We could talk for days about what a success the event was and how our hard work paid off but instead we’ll let the pictures do the talking…


Thank you to Ben Paull from OPST awesome photography from the event below!

photo 3-1 photo 3-2 photo 3 photo 4-1 photo 4 photo 5-1 photo 5


Tight lines,

Chad Brown



Terry Edelmann – Fly tying from Idaho into the PDX @ Soul River


A man who is emotionally and spiritually tied to the waters he was baptized in, Edelmann states, “fly fishing has always been the touchstone that helped me find reason.” He focuses his energy on helping others find positive paths in life, as well as sharing knowledge and instilling passion about resources we sometimes take for granted, such as steelhead. Edelmann travels to incredible locations (from Mexico to regions of the U.S. such as Texas and the Pacific Northwest) being mindful of the rivers and the precious steelhead.

Edelmann will be sharing his talent and skill in tying flies during the Celebration of Wild Steelhead this Sunday, September 7th.  He will be doing a sneak peak Saturday, September 6th at the Soul River retail space from 11am to 3pm. You won’t want to miss this, so make the time to come and visit! Not only is Terry entertaining to watch tie, he is full of conversation and stories and I am very much looking forward to being in his presence. It has been years!


Terry Edelmann and his wife Angela


Some of Terry’s Flies


Check out Terry sites &

Tight lines,
Chad B.

SR/NCO “New Current Outdoors” Anglers Quest Olympic National Forest

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Learn and experience fly fishing on the Hoh River.  This event is open for inner city youth and veterans.

Event Date
May 30th – June 1st, 2014

Event Location
Olympic Peninsula National Rain Forest, Washington
Hoh Rainforest Visitor Center Camp Ground

14 (inner city youth and veterans)
[limited space available – RSVP to by May 15th]

Fly Fishing 101
Outdoor Leadership
Base Camping
Community Building
Fly Tying

Jason Small – South Puget Sound River Steward, Native Fish Society
J. Michelle Swope – Fly Fishing Instructor
Jeff Nelson – Fly Fishing Instructor
Chad Brown – Fly Fishing Instructor, Soul River Runs Deep/Team NCO
John Hicks – Fly Fishing Instructor and Guide, Sea Run Pursuits
Jeffery Gottfried – Tenkara Instructor, Environmental Recreational Activities
Mark Roberts – Fly Fishing Instructer

Screen shot 2014-05-24 at 4.42.51 PM

Our Partners in Current: U.S. Fish and Wild Life Service , Native Fish Society, Urban Wild life Refugee, Echo Rods, Hoh Humm Flyshop, Tualatin River Wild Life Refuge, Sea Run Pursuits  , ERA Educational Recreational Adventures  EvolTwin Printing    LOOP USA  SCIENTIFIC ANGLERS   CITY OF VANCOUVER   COSTA





The word “tattoo” is derived from two languages – the Polynesian word ‘ta’, meaning to strike something and the Tahitian word ‘tatau’ meaning to mark something


The history of tattoo art began over 5000 years ago and is as diverse as the people who wear them. The first tattoo is rumored to have been an accident which took place when someone had a small wound and rubbed it with soot and ash from a fire pit for relief and healing. Once the wound had healed, they noticed a permanent mark. Despite the society’s growing fascination and immense popularity of tattoo art, the art and practice doesn’t hold much of an historical record. According to the historical records we do have, tattoo art spans from the ages (Bronze Age and Edo Period) to different cultural influences (Pazyryk culture, Celts, Vikings, and Polynesian) to different regions and countries (Egypt, Japan, Indonesia, New Zealand, Thailand, Africa, England, South America, and North America.)

Today, tattoo art is still an unwritten language which encompasses our personal interests yet is a personal sanctuary of memories we hold close to ourselves illustrating life’s experiences or showing something we identify as what inspires us, drives our passion, or demonstrates the things or people we love. Today, tattoo art is created by inserting colored materials beneath the surface. And where you think you may not find it or may not expect to see it even in the fly fishing world. Personally, fly fishing just happened to be a passion. The sport is full of conservative ideals yet has an under layer culture of people who walk a different walk or have a different background, a depth to the sport, a unique story or blanket of uniqueness of what introduced them into the sport and lifestyle of fly fishing. And yet we are all anglers pursuing that one moment of contentment and happiness on the water – but once the shirt is rolled up or the shirt has been taken off on a hot day, that is when a layer of individualistic spirit is revealed by marks, symbols and illustrations presenting honor, memoir, death or a personal sacred of something about themselves revealing the depth of another person’s DNA code, a road map, a journey to which that soul has experienced. Regardless in how you may feel against this ancient artisan language of coded symbols of tattoo art, of self expression that goes back historically before you and I were conceived, holding rich practice in various societies and cultures which is the fabric of community and growth to adulthood around the world. The art is real, the nature of this person is still just as equal and unique as you are, and it is here to stay even in the fly fishing world.


I recently was approached with an awesome opportunity to design a tattoo for a fellow angler and U.S. Army veteran that tied back to where he served (in Oahu) and where he met his wife. It was an honor to have this opportunity do some design work for someone who was not just a fan of Soul River, but respectfully dug my style as a designer to the point of where he commissioned me to create an artistic tattoo for his back. Awesome! I always welcome the opportunity to do custom design work for companies and individuals today, whether it is to help develop and solve a communication design problem, branding/rebranding, or designing new images. This was an opportunity to work with an Army veteran and his wife by developing a tattoo design that embodied the elements of what they both love, the place where they met, mixed with an Polynesian-style, infused with the sport and life that they love in fly fishing! Having the opportunity to design for a wonderful couple, I was honored to learn their story of encounter, love, and history and then bring everything full-circle by giving a commitment to capture the essence of what they cherished most.

Behind the walls of Soul River I still find myself doing contract commission work for individuals, returning past clients and businesses seeking to build or develop their brand. Before I started Soul River I was blessed to study art and communication design traditionally within the walls of the highly esteemed Pratt Institute in New York City. I learned the art of visual communication design and had the opportunity to study under some of the most respected professors including Mr. Tony Dispinga, a master and expert who has made such an impact in the area of design not only in American history but throughout the world. Neville Brody, Milton Glacier, Saul Bass, Paul Rand, David Carlson, Barbara Kruger, and Stefan Sagmeister, to respectfully name a few world-renowned creative professionals happen also to be on my list of favorite designers who heavily influence me as I study their writings and designs. These creative souls are known mavericks in the history of design.


Most of my past work has been developing company brand images, spearheading creative teams, developing campaigns and creating editorial stories through film/video and product/fashion photography shoots around the world. My favorite mediums of design are through fashion, symbolism, and iconography building and developing ideas around ancient symbols and hieroglyphics from our Egyptian, Native American, and Edo Period pasts. It is interesting in how a mark is formed from a deeper meaning into a brand we see today which was once tribal and acted as a mark of survival or spiritual interpretation of telling a story of a particular clan or time. Today, this moves into the fundamentals of design and how we perceive or read into the underlying message of what is being presented whether it is a brand or specific advertisement. Another interest dwells in indigenous culture which is layered by rich history, deep meaning of life, and spiritual realms where nothing is taken for granted and details translate into a different meaning once the layers are pulled back to reveal symbolic design. This concept intrigues me on so many levels and flourishes deeper human connections. This also translates into fashion and textiles, print design we see today in our silk screen or patterns in our shirts and not knowing or realizing how a symbol can be depicted and translated back to a Greek cross or a Chinese monk.


As a designer, creative director, entrepreneur, and founder of Soul River Runs Deep, LLC, I conceptualize, develop, design, and practice out of my humble Soul River office studio in Northwest Portland. I am also a lead photographer and internationally-recognized designer in Asia, having been commissioned numerous times by long standing clients established in Hong Kong, Vietnam and Bangladesh. A most memorable venture was when I worked alongside the government of Bangladesh to design and develop campaign poster advertisements for the Bangladesh Independence Day campaign celebration holiday. Design is meant to live simply, derived from chaotic thoughts and wild fire ideas while channeling back to a simple flow or form of communication which all can respond through emotion, understanding, and appreciation. As a creative professional and anthropologist through design, my passion is to connect your idea to your goal in order to create a meaningful and tangible communication design piece. If you (personally or professionally) are interested in collaborating on projects that you may have, feel free to contact me as I am always willing to find time to connect with new clients.

Tight Lines!











Conservation – Consciousness Runs Deep – Online Release

Conservation – Consciousness Runs Deep from Soul River on Vimeo.

Film Synopsis:  Soul River challenges traditional media by embracing the unconventional with their production of Conservation – Consciousness Runs Deep. Created and written by creative director Chad Brown, Conservation captures modern urban mythology with the message of consciousness and awareness of responsibility we have as urban dwellers and environmental protectors.

This short film mixes art, mythology, music, and poetry to provide a fresh perspective through the personal lens of environmental justice and the outdoors. In this film, a young man goes through his life in the city and morphs with his consciousness by the guidance of a Naiad. Conservation provides a breath of fresh air from a young, urban, and hip approach and inspires our consciousness to run deep and become ambassadors of the outdoors.