From Naval Service to Creative Canvas: BRCC Veteran Artist Josh Raulerson

October 2, 2023Lauren Warner
BRCC Limited Edition Josh Raulerson Blackbeard Skull Shirt

Josh Raulerson is a senior graphic artist at Black Rifle Coffee and is behind many of their iconic coffee bag and merch designs. Now, he's made an exclusive, limited edition BRCC Shirt Club release. Coffee or Die sat down with the artist to get the BTS on this awesome new Blackbeard-inspired (yes, the pirate) long-sleeve T-shirt.

Josh Raulerson, like many aspiring artists, discovered his creative passion at a young age. His artistic journey began during childhood and continued to evolve as he became an adult. He says this lifelong commitment to nurturing his creative talents has played a significant role in shaping his identity as an artist.

“I’ve been an artist my whole life,” he told
Coffee or Die. “Ever since I could hold a pencil, I’ve always wanted to do something with art, but I wasn’t sure of my path. So at the end of high school, with not being able to afford college I decided to pave the way myself by joining the military to serve my country while I figured out what that path might be."

A lot of people have a dream of doing something artistic for a living, but Raulerson managed to hang onto his dream through a military career, became a graphic designer, and is now one of the many veterans working behind the scenes for the best coffee brand in the world, Black Rifle Coffee Company, helping to create the brand’s unique look and vibe as a senior member of the art department. 

This month, an
exclusive, limited-edition BRCC long-sleeve featuring an original pirate skull design from Raulerson is dropping for BRCC Shirt Club members.

The artwork Raulerson creates at BRCC is frequently a clash of Navy culture, mythology, and pirate lore — and this killer new Shirt Club collab is no different. 

“Travel the world, make money, and do epic shit. Ironically, I’ve always felt like a pirate…but Uncle Sam would never let me look like one,” he said. 

Get this awesome shirt while you can — and you’ll be able to see plenty more of Raulerson’s art on upcoming coffee bags and merch from Black Rifle Coffee Co.

The limited-run shirt is incredibly badass, so we thought we’d catch up with one of Black Rifle’s top artists behind some of the company’s coolest coffee bags, apparel, and stickers to get his story. 

Behind the Design

Raulerson has been a senior graphic designer for BRCC for nearly a year and with the company for almost three. He says the inspiration for this month’s limited edition Shirt Club design comes from how he personally views Black Rifle. 

"I've always had this perception of BRCC as a pirate ship," he said. "While many companies stick to sailing on calm and smooth waters, we aren't afraid to navigate through rough seas and wild storms. Sometimes, to be a true pirate, you have to do pirate shit."

The crossed swords beneath the skull are based on Blackbeard’s actual “Sword of Triton.” In Greek mythology, Triton was a demigod of the sea and the son of Poseidon.

Raulerson said he likes the idea of being a modern pirate, and it fits with his heritage, having lived in coastal locations his whole life. He has a strong connection to the sea and a deep appreciation for the pirate lifestyle. His background and experiences, including his time in the Navy, have certainly shaped his perspective and interests.

In The Navy

Raulerson’s older brother, Ryan, joined the U.S. Navy first, influencing both of his younger brothers, Josh and Aaron, to choose the Navy over other service options.

When Raulerson enlisted, his rating was an aviation structural mechanic (AM), and he was responsible for working aircraft maintenance for the MH-60 Sierra model. This included main and auxiliary hydraulic power systems, actuating subsystems and landing gear. Anything associated with fixed and moveable surfaces and flight controls.

"During my nine-month deployment, I had the incredible opportunity to explore 10 different countries in a matter of months,” Raulerson recalled.

josh raulerson

Josh Raulerson (right) receiving his Enlisted Aviation Warfare Qualification (EAWS) certificate. 

His art career took off after the military, making epic designs for tons of top brands around the country until he eventually landed at BRCC.

“The military was very black and white, by the book — creativity was definitely hindered. But when I made the decision to get out, I knew the next step had to be something artistic,” he said.

“College is expensive,” he added with a laugh. “Transitioning back to civilian life, I was grateful to be able to use the GI Bill I earned to go to school full time and pursue my passion.” 

Raulerson realized that, in this modern digital world, there wasn’t much long-term future in a traditional art medium, so he focused on graphic design and web design in school.

“When I had to choose between the two majors, graphic design was it,” he said. And he got out there and started doing it, creating designs for a variety of clients.

Finding Black Rifle Coffee Company

In 2020, Black Rifle Coffee Co. founder and CEO Evan Hafer reached out to Raulerson after seeing some beer labels that he designed for Young Veterans Brewing Company and asked him to create a coffee bag design for BRCC.

The following year, a spot opened on the design team for the company’s ready-to-drink canned coffee, and Raulerson officially joined BRCC. Ever since, he’s been involved in the art design for many of the company’s coffee bags, apparel, and stickers. 

Most recently, he designed the bag art for ECS (Exclusive Coffee Club) coffee releases, Space Bear 3.0 and Anunnaki Gold. He’s also responsible for Medusa’s Madness, Roast Warrior, Halls of Lotzabeanza, Psychedelic Cyclops, Ridin’ Poseidon, and many other bag designs.

"My creative abilities are a source of support for the veteran community,” Raulerson said. “Being a veteran myself, I deeply appreciate the opportunity to apply my talents and expertise to assist individuals within the same community I once served in."

As he approaches his three-year anniversary with Black Rifle, this shirt collaboration comes at a special time for Raulerson and his family, which includes his wife Isabel, their daughter River, and their two dogs, Remi and Kula. He’s also grateful for the connections he’s made with great people at other great companies through BRCC, like SOFLETE, Grizzly Forge, and Montana Knife Company

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Lauren Warner
Lauren Warner

Lauren Warner is the managing editor of the BRCC Blog. She's only slightly connected to the military community, growing up as an Army brat before serving in the Army herself as a public affairs specialist, then becoming an Army spouse and caregiver. With degrees in English, journalism, and a master's in marketing, to say that she enjoys reading and writing might be an understatement. She spends her free time drinking too much coffee and going on adventures with her husband and three dogs (yes, they're all rescues).

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