It’s easy for me to say why Derek DeYoung is the perfect lead for Angler’s Artist Series, a limited run of coffee bags that, under an artist’s creative hand, become works of art.
The color palette he uses is electrifying—reminds me of a bright beam of sunlight striking the water and sending rainbows dancing. Just as coffee awakens us to the day’s possibilities, DeYoung’s rich dirt reds, algae greens, and brilliant golds spark our imagination of the next great fishing trip. Even if that’s just to the local river or lake, each time is beautiful and magical.
His appreciation of fish goes beyond the physical. In fact, he’s purposefully turned away from the traditional photo-realist fish-painting style; by taking liberties with what the eye sees, he captures the spirit of each fish. As he says, “I find fish to be intriguing, not just as a fisherman, but as an artist. When painting fish, I try to capture all the intricacies they possess… When chest deep in a river, I’m not just chasing fish, I’m searching for a magical experience or vision that will inspire me, and raise my paintings to a higher level.”
And when he’s not in his studio, standing in the water is where you’ll often find DeYoung. That’s another reason we wanted him to kick off our Artist Series. He loves fly fishing as much as painting (and as much as we do). He was born on a bayou in western Michigan. There, he says, “We fished constantly. Being a good fisherman in our family was pretty important.” Though he’d like to head to New Zealand to experience world-class technical fly fishing for giant trout, his current fisher heart belongs to the Yellowstone River. When he first fished there, he says, “I thought I’d died and gone to heaven… The experiences I have fly fishing in Montana keep me so inspired there’s not enough years in my life to complete all the paintings that place puts in my mind.”
Though his love of fly fishing brown trout is forever, tarpon have become a new favorite, since he first fished the flats of the Florida Keys. They capture his fisher’s imagination as well as his artist’s eye: “I find myself lying in bed at 4:00 a.m. thinking about what area I’m going to look for them first. That same fascination stays with me as I sit in my studio, sketchbook in hand, brainstorming the next scene I will paint.”
Finally, Angler’s and DeYoung share a focus on supporting causes that promote healthy fish habitats and connecting humans with nature. From creating one-of-a-kind art for Project Healing Waters (offering rehabilitation through fly fishing for disabled military service personnel and veterans) and Bonefish and Tarpon Trust (conserving and preserving the fish and their habitat), to donating use of well-loved images to specialty license plates for Washington’s steelhead and Montana’s trout, among many other incredible causes, DeYoung’s commitment to supporting and improving our fly fishing community is inspiring.
And why did DeYoung want to collaborate with Angler’s? Well, that answer is just as clear. He said, “Here at DeYoung Studio, we start every day with the same process: crawl out of bed and make a strong pot of coffee.” Like so many of us, DeYoung learned to drink coffee—strong—from his dad as they pushed away from the shore before first light. “Coffee is an extremely important tradition in my life and family,” he said, “so I was thrilled to work with such a great coffee company as Angler’s Coffee!”
We chose two special coffees to match DeYoung's striking artwork; The Brown Trout is slightly darker in roast from Ethiopia, and the Cutthroat is a medium roast from Mexico.
Our coffee for the Cutthroat comes from one of the world’s most diverse forest reserves. El Triunfo is a rare and valuable sanctuary which requires continued protection. All the coffee produced is shade-grown, and biological corridors are created in order to facilitate bird and animal migration. This coffee is super balanced and easy to drink!
Our coffee for the Brown Trout comes from the Kayon Mountain Coffee Farm, which has been owned and operated by Ismael Hassen Aredo and his family since 2012. Ismael oversees a staff of 25 permanent full-time and 300 seasonal employees, paying higher wages than neighboring villages, and the farm management offers free transportation services as well as financial support for building schools and administration buildings for the community. Kayon Mountain farm has a nursery on-site and utilizes shade to protect the coffee as well as for creating compost to fertilize naturally. Ismael is meticulous about not only the structure and management of the farm itself but also the harvesting and processing.
$1 from the purchase of every bag of our Artist Series coffees goes to support Casting for Recovery, whose mission is to enhance the lives of women with breast cancer by connecting them to each other and nature through the therapeutic sport of fly fishing.
I know you’ll feel the inspiration in DeYoung's artwork on our coffee bags—and take it with you, from pre-dawn’s first cup through to the day’s last cast.