Kevin Rau Designer and Musician
Music man: UW Oshkosh art instructor Kevin Rau as the lead singer and guitarist of the Kevin Fayte Rock 'n' Roll Trio. Photo courtesy of Kevin Rau.
by Noell Dickmann
student multimedia reporter
The Artist Cuts Loose
To his art students at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, Kevin Rau may look like the mild-mannered graphic design instructor, but under that academic veneer beats the heart of a rock ‘n’ rolling musician.
Guitar in hand, Rau turns into Kevin Fayte, the lead singer and guitarist of the Kevin Fayte Rock ‘n’ Roll Trio, a rockabilly band that performs regularly in Wisconsin. Their next gig will be at the Paper City Pub in Neenah on Dec. 3. The band’s first self-produced album “Friday Night at Joe’s Garage” was released in spring 2011 and has already gained fans stateside and overseas.
Friday Night at Joe's Garage: the first self-produced album by the Kevin Fayte Rock 'n' Roll Trio. Album cover designed by Kevin Rau
Rau earned his Bachelor of Science in Art and Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Wisconsin Madison. He has been in the graphic design industry since 1979 and has been an adjunct instructor for the University since 2004. His design work has appeared in the New York Times, and his clients include Sony and Make-A-Wish Foundation. He also served as principal designer for the book Unimark International: The Design of Business and the Business of Design (Lars Müller Publishers, 2009).
As an established graphic designer Rau also expresses himself through another creative outlet - music, especially rockabilly music.
“Rockabilly is a hybrid of country western and rhythm and blues,” says Rau, whose love for music began at age 8 when he first heard Elvis. “I like to describe it as bluegrass music with an attitude,” he says.
Since then, Rau has managed keep music an integral part of his life. “It’s good to let people know that there’s more than one dimension to the personality, and that it’s okay to be a good professional and go out and have some fun too.”
Rockin' the HouseIn the photo to the right, a young Kevin Rau is fronting the band Kevin Fayte & Rocket 8, an earlier band of his that produced an LP in 1986. Photo by Charles Behnke.
To hear a couple tracks from the current CD, please visit the Kevin Fayte MySpace page.
In this audio-only podcast, Rau sits with student reporter Noell Dickmann to discuss his love of design and music and how he was able to balance the two passions.