by Lauren Festa
“In the world through which I travel, I am endlessly creating myself.” – Frantz Fanon
ADC Travels is a series where we virtually tag along with our favorite creatives as they travel for work and pleasure. Peep photo diaries and get a sense of how a creative brain works. We just finished drinking Zingo’s in Norway, and now we are grabbing our umbrella-ella-ella’s as Rich Tu takes us to Portland, OR. ADC Young Guns winner (YG8) and illustrator ex·tra·or·di·naire, Rich was recently plucked from New York’s finest by – none other than – Nike to work on the design team. (p.s. they are SO lucky) We miss him a lot, but we are glad that he’s making new, uh, webbed-footed friends. Get a taste of PDX through Rich Tu’s POV in the gallery above (with captions!)
“Before meeting with Nike, I had actually never been to Portland, OR. I was walking around Chinatown (which I had been told to avoid because it was ‘sketch’, and found it to be very NOT ‘sketch’…#alarmist). I stumbled upon the Lan Su Chinese Garden. It was super pretty and made me feel like I was in an ever greener place than Portland already is. So green in fact that when you fly into PDX and look down from the plane window, you’re amazed by how green it is. It’s like a rainy little biosphere. Sometimes, I’ll take the long way to work and appreciate the little things that make this place SO different from New York.
On the Nike Campus, there are often some graphics that catch my eye, promoting on-campus events. When I see stuff like that I think “Wait, am I missing out on something? #FOMO!” But then I look it up and it’s like a race…I’m a grown man. I don’t need to “race” at work. At Nike, you are constantly confronted by past success and feel the need to carve out a piece of that legacy. The Jordan building is great if you want to look at awesome work that makes you feel like you haven’t accomplished anything with your life. (speaking of which…) Steve Prefontaine was a long distance runner in the 60s and 70s and is considered one of the original architects of Nike (along with Phil Knight and Bill Bowerman.) He was the rebel spirit that helped launch the brand, and he’s immortalized with a building dedicated to him. It’s where I had my orientation. It was very appropriate and inspiring.
Nike’s campus surrounds a massive man-made lake It’s incredibly beautiful in the morning. On foggy days, you can’t see the other side. It’s quite a sight. On those days, I don’t ride a bike on campus because I am afraid I will accidentally fall in the lake. If this happened I would die immediately because I can’t swim. (But for those who do want to swim and for sunny days) the Nike campus is littered with for-employee-use bikes as alternative transit. They’ve saved me in a pinch, but I’ve also wiped out on them. Twice in one week actually. It was like Bicycle Skynet came to life and sought my destruction. Or maybe it was wet leaves? One of the two…
Given the rainy climate, Oregon has tons of slippery roads and also….ducks. And geese. #GoDucks. They came out to greet me on my first day of work at Nike. Be careful not to step in the duck poop. It was raining when I took a photo of them. Well actually, most of the photos I take in Portland have rain in them. #Wet. Just like the big blue liquid, it gives me great pleasure to bring my Jordan 1 Royal Blue retros from 2001 back home. By the way, I am a size 11 in case you’re curious. Compared to Jordan, I’m still small. #Jordan.
I miss NYC, but something that relaxes me is being surrounded by toys and comics. When I was a kid, my dad collected cards, and we used to spend hours at the local hobby shop. I immediately found Billy Galaxy (a vintage toy shop) here in Portland, and it made me feel better about moving to a new city.”
– As told by Rich Tu.