Illustrated Playing Cards by Aaron Trotter

Illustrated Playing Cards, Aaron-TRooter

Illustrated Playing Cards, Aaron-Trotter

Illustrated Playing Cards thoughtfully sketched and artfully detailed by Aaron Trotter

Gin Rummy, marquees, The Eiffel Tower, taps, bridges, monuments and more can be found in these “Galleries in a box.”

1.) You’re the artist and creator of Illustrated Playing Cards ( IPC). What exactly are IPC and when did you develop this clever idea?

My card decks feature 52 drawings of landmarks and neighborhood places, with an index that lists each place and its address.  I grew up in Portland and have seen the city change quite a lot.  I was making drawings in my 8×10″ sketchbook of city landmarks to be made into postcards, calendars,, t-shirts, and other gift shop products, and eventually I had over 100 drawings.  I was trying lots of different avenues for my artwork and the playing cards just took hold.

2.) We both sell our work at Local Discoveries on NE Alberta Street and Julie just adores you. I heard Local Discoveries was one of your first stores to carry your “gallery in a box.” Tell me more about the “first-run” series of these now, very well-known, art cards.

My first rough draft decks were printed and collaged, and the boxes were first duct-taped cardboard, then evolved to painted packing boxes.  I had a successful Kickstarter fundraising effort where I secured a buzz within my local community.

3.) I heard you used to hand trim the rounded corners of each deck! With 54 cards per deck, how ever did you manage to create enough product to sell? How bad were the papercuts?

I guess I was just determined.  After collating each deck, I could round one deck of cards in about 30 minutes.  Corner rounders are relatively safe.

4.) Tell me how your production has evolved from those early days?

The cards are now digital prints, and I order hundreds of decks at a time from my printer.  I still fold, sign and number each box, but the boxes are also digitally printed and die-cut.

5.) You have IPC decks that illustrate cities all over the world, such as Chicago, Manhattan, Rome and Paris. Do you work from photos and internet images of these locations?

I have personally visited and sketched all the locations on-site that are featured in my cards.

Illustrated Playing Cards

Illustrated Playing Cards

6.) Do you have a deck that stands out to you, maybe it’s due to the location or images or your experience while drafting the deck?

The original Portland deck is still #1 for me.  But if I had to choose another, Paris is still the one I am most proud of.

7.) My book:The Best Places To Pee: A Guide To The Funky & Fabulous Bathrooms Of Portland highlights 51 bathrooms throughout Portland—it could be your next theme! I mean, who wouldn’t want to lay down a Royal Flush with an artfully illustrated toilet adorned deck of cards! We could have something very moving here Aaron! What do you think?

I would consider it… and thanks for your interest – Aaron

All of his illustrated decks can be found at Local Discoveries on Alberta Street in Portland and on Aaron’s website.

Portland Artist: Ursula Barton

Portland embraces art and has an eclectic style. Creative types feel inspired by Portland. A native and creative, Ursula Barton captures two of Portland’s most iconic descriptors, bridges and rain, in her watercolor series entitled: Rainy City. Ursula, her story and her art represent Portland beyond a city known for it’s bridges and rain.  Ursula represents the moxie of Portland, the boldness and courage to create a livelihood doing what you love.


St. Johns Bridge


Ursula Barton

A  joint venture with a photographer took her to all 50 states and solidified her notion that travel, observing people, painting and using art as a language was how she wanted to spend the rest of her days. Her website has the detailed images she painted documenting her travels and their colorful back-stories. The paintings and back-stories take you on a lively journey well worth a hour or two of you day.

An artists residence in New York City supplied her and her followers with beautiful new bridges and cityscapes to ogle at. People of  Interest is a category on her website comprised of a collection of mixed media caricature portraits of people in the public eye. Her  greeting card line, postcards and prints are available in boutiques throughout the city and through her Etsy shop. If you’re in Portland, Ursula’s murals can be seen at the Daily Cafe in the The Pearl, Racion downtown, The Rose Lounge in Old Town and inside The Goldsmith Building, visible from Couch St between 5th & 6th Ave.

Queensboro Bridge

Queensboro Bridge




A big thank you goes out to Ursula for allowing me to use her cityscape entitled: Fremont Bridge as a part of my website imagery. The Fremont Bridge holds a sweet spot for me, this bridge could be seen from the roof of my first apartment in Portland and as a “girl on the go” I’ve traveled across that bridge often. I couldn’t be more smitten that this depiction of The Fremont Bridge is now a part of my creative endeavors!


Fremont Bridge


Be sure to peruse all of Ursula’s work on her website. Some of my favorites are:

Miami, Florida 

West Virginia  

Tonopah, Nevada


Tonopah, Nevada








Umbrella and Coat in June

Omaha, Nebraska



I Am Not A Poet. Street Roots Releases Their First Book

I Am Not a PoetSo many times after leaving Powell’s or while deciding on lunch over at the food carts, I am asked, “Would you like to buy a copy of Street Roots?” My standard reply of “No thanks” flies from my mouth without any thought and I walk on carrying my bag of newly purchased books or hot lunch. 

I am ashamed to say I have been completely ignorant and presumptuous about these vendors. I am happy to say, I no longer am. Street Roots is a bi-weekly newspaper that creates income opportunities for people experiencing homelessness and poverty. On February 27, 2014 they will  be launching their first published book! I Am Not A Poet: 15 Years of Street Roots Poetry and Art is a curated collection of previously published poetry and art from the bi-weekly newspaper. The poetry explores themes related to the human experience, concepts of love, lust, addiction and recovery, street life, survival, hope and humanity.

Many of the vendors are regular contributors to Street Roots content, as columnists, artists and poets. Israel Bayer, Executive Director of Street Roots, says, “Poetry anchored early issues of Street Roots. Today— fifteen years later—poetry in Street Roots continues to be a medium to impact social change.” Bayer goes on to explain the publication is rooted in community. “From the vendor/poet who exercises his experiences through written word, to the person who reads these words, expanding his sense of the human experience— the result is a new dimension of compassion and understanding.”  [Read more…]

Honey Of The Hood

Bee Local Honey

Honey, how sweet it is… How sweet, how thick, how sugary, how blackberry, how fireweed…?

I had no idea, being more of a honey bear type of gal (it’s nostalgic for me, he’s so adorable)—I had no clue that honey could taste like anything more than that sweet, great accompaniment to a peanut butter sandwich, sticky, yum-yum honey!

Well it can, and honey “comb-oisseurs” are raving about the terroir-based honey varietals that Bee Local, a Portland based company, is jarring up. Much like a vineyard whose grapes absorb flavors from their soil, geographical location and climate, terroir-based honey hives produced honey with distinct characteristics that reflect their environment. Richard Grunert sums it up this way:

Honey is bee vomit. The little buzzers suck up nectar from various plants and spit it into honeycomb to ripen. And, like vomit, the look and taste of a batch depends entirely on what the bees eat.

Bee Local harvests honey from 11 Portland neighborhoods, each jar hand-labeled with it’s location and production number. You can choose from honey that embodies Portland’s Farmland with deep blue and blackberry notes and a lovely floral finish; or the Willamette Valley, harvested from Northern Oregon’s most fertile valley bordered by hops, vineyards and berry farms; or Mt Hood honey, cultivated by the laid back mountain bees who only took the job so they could be closer to the mountain spending their free time on the wicked slopes. These little buzzers produce a honey with flavors such as lupine, alpine, pipeline ( ha, I added that one but it fits so perfectly) and fireweed.

Just as the price differs tremendously for wine out of a box and wine out of a bottle, this honeys price tag is a bit pricer than that his adorable honey bear cousin—an 8.6-ounce jar costs $15. A recent blind tasting of 6 Oregon honeys showed that Bee Local is Queen Bee, as well as lowly worker bee, coming in both first and last place.

Check out Bee Local for stores, on-line ordering, as well as other bee related services offered.


Legendary long distance runner from Coos Bay, OR. Mural is located on NW Park & Everette.

Legendary long distance runner from Coos Bay, OR. Mural is located on NW Park & Everette.

[box] Some people create with words or with music or with a brush and paints. I like to make something beautiful when I run. I like to make people stop and say, ‘I’ve never seen anyone run like that before.’ It’s more than just a race, it’s a style. It’s doing something better than anyone else. It’s being creative. ~ Steve Prefontaine [/box]












Exposed: Art in the Bathroom

The Best Places To Pee: A Guide To The Funky & Fabulous Bathrooms of Portland

is a collection of 51 bathrooms that are humorous, inventive and artistic.

The men’s room at Rontom’s on East Burnside falls within the artistic slot

of this book. Colorful, local, vibrant art, with a touch of whimsy,

adorns the interior walls of this bar while a darker, deeper vibe

courses it way into the men’s restroom. Kris Hargis is the artist

who created these images which leave so much room for interpretation.

I’ve always felt a place, an object and people become all the more fascinating

when you know a little bit about how they came to be who or what you see today.

Willamette Week did an art review of Kris Hargis and gives us some insight

into this Portland artist. A little food for thought as you create your own interpretation

of these sketches found in the men’s room at Rontoms.

Willamette Week Feb.13, 2013 By: Richard Speer

Art Review: Kris Hargis, Vale la Pena

Inside, outside, inside…


One of the basic questions artists face is whether to focus on social, political and spiritual concerns or the narrower purview of their own inner worlds. From antiquity to the Romantic period, artists often deployed human figures as stand-ins for mythological or religious conceits. In more recent times, painters such as Salvador Dalí, Frida Kahlo and Francis Bacon honed their focuses relentlessly inward, leading viewers on often harrowing tours of their own neuroses and psychosexual bugaboos.

[Read more…]

Zoobomb: Portland!


Bike Pyle on SW 13th & Burnside

Portland is known for being a city that is full of bike-enthusiasts, being bike-friendly, as well as bike-centric. It’s also known as a city that invents, embraces and exalts both the legitimate and quirky. Here’s one of those quirky, yet legitimate, thrills you can only experience here in Portland: Zoobomb.

Walking past the intersection at SW 13th and West Burnside you can’t help but notice the pastel colored, trike-sized and banana boat seat rigged bikes that are piled and chained to a vertical pole topped with a gold-leafed bicycle figure. A visitor might even think: Wow, I never realized what total body strength cycling creates, even the children here in Portland are power-houses, they’re able to hoist their bikes up over their heads and secure them onto this pole? But why?

Although these bikes may be mini-sized they are used for big size fun, fondly known as Zoobomb. Every Sunday night a group of thrill-seeking, bike-enthusiasts unchain these bikes, pump up the tires, do a safety, check perform minor tune-ups, then head to Portland’s light rail system, the MAX, and ride the line up to the Zoo. Once all the Zoobombers have gathered together at the top, they prepare to zoom down the careening hill en masses on this eclectic collection of bikes. Portland is the only place Zoobombing exists. The ride is often repeated several times in an evening. The city has sanctioned this event, the Mayor has even participated in this event. A medic trails along at the back of the pack and is there to assist if need be, the surrounding neighbors have no issue with this weekly event and the Zoobombers make it a point to leave no trace behind. Participants say it’s a rush like no other and it’s a thrilling way to end the weekend.

Suzanne Jauchius – Author & Psychic

Deja vu is derived from the French and literally means “already seen.” It’s a strong feeling that whatever you are currently experiencing or seeing has been seen or experienced in the past. Science has attributed this feeling to a person been given a brief glimpse of an object or sliver of a situation and then it’s removed before the brain has had a chance to completely construct a  full conscious perception of the experience which results in an anomaly of memory, giving the false impression that an experience is being “recalled.”

This is not intended to be a Wikipedia submission but I know for myself, I have had many experiences with the feeling of deja vu and wondered: hmm gosh why does this seem so familiar to me; or even had been thinking about a person and then they call or text or you run into them. I do believe if you are open to the universe and the possibility that everything can’t be explained by science you can be guided to some pretty amazing discoveries and lead to some paramount connections that have a positive impact on you.

Through some of these such connections I befriended  a very talented women who started a publishing and distribution company called Bree Noa. She gave me a copy of one of the titles they printed, it also just so happens that the author is her business partner, and I read an amazing story about a Portland women who wrote a very candid account of her life and her path to recovery and self fulfillment. The book is called: You Know Your Way Home and the author Suzanne Jauchius is a psychic. Suzanne shares her story because she believes true healing occurs when stories are shared and passed on. With dozens of glowing reviews on amazon and positive feedback from readers on her facebook page you need not only take my word that this story is a must read.

More to the point of this blog post, which is not a book review, Suzanne is a gifted psychic and has been helping people see with clarity what attributes they are strongest at, where their true passion guides them and empowers them to take strides towards being their authentic self. So many times we choose a path that seems safe or responsible or one that will make others so proud and happy -we forget to listen to our inner authentic self when choosing the path that would best suit our strengths and fulfill our passions.

This past December I schedule a reading with Suzanne, I had never had a reading before and I really wasn’t sure what to expect but I did feel like after reading her book and knowing a little bit more about her through my friend and colleague -she was the real deal.I won’t go into what was revealed at my reading but I will tell you what you can expect of this experience. Suzanne sees images which she translates into words for you. You are asked to bring a personal item, specific to you only, for her to hold during the reading. I gave her my wedding ring to hold. She starts off the reading with a few quiet minutes focusing on connecting with your personal object. Images appear to her and she relays them to you. These images which she translates into words describe you, your core, what makes you tick, what you are good at, your natural talents. She doesn’t ask any questions of you until those images start to slow down then she asks for your feedback about what she saw. From there forward, the conversation naturally unfolds and as you ask a certain question Suzanne receives more images that begin to speak to your question. It can be quite an eye opening and or an affirming experience. Suzanne can also communicate with those who have passed on, for me it was peaceful and heart-warming, my father passed away nearly 4 years ago and messages were shared with me that couldn’t and weren’t expressed between the two of us before he passed away because of our physical distance as well as the anxiety and sadness that filled the hearts and heads of the people who were present. It was a very comforting and lovely few minutes that felt like taking back a memorable hour with my Dad.

Another aspect that I thought was intriguing, insightful and enjoyable was looking at the personalities of my children. As a parent you feel like you see your children for all their strengths and weaknesses but as they get older we sometimes project what those characteristics are instead of really observing them as constantly evolving and changing individuals. It was fun, interesting and even soothing to hear the images that presented themselves for each of my children.

I enjoyed my reading 100% and if you have ever contemplated having one done I would highly suggest you contact this naturally gifted women. Oh and I almost forgot, Suzanne tapes your reading for you and you are welcome to audio record it via your smart phone or ipad. Listening to your reading a second or third time over, you’d be amazed what you missed because you’re head was going 100 miles an hour processing and digesting.

Suzanne Jauchius lives in West Linn, Oregon and you can schedule a reading with her easily through her website Suzanne can also be heard every first Monday on The Buzz 105.1 from 4:30-5:30 with Daria, Mitch & Ted

Don’t forget to look into her book as well. It’s a hard to put down memoir of her awkward childhood and her careening adult life and coming to terms with her gift and overcoming her weaknesses. You Know Your Way Home




I was happily invited by a good friend, Alex Steininger  from Portland based music label and Music PR Firm: In Music We Trust, to attend a private debut concert of  a two man band, Aina Haina. Dylan Magierek and Mike Ailes met eons ago while attending school in Hawaii and learned they had a common passion for music, not Hawaiian music – 80’s rock !  After graduating, these two men set off on musical career paths. Dylan started Badman Records, a Portland label that produced albums for local artists such as Starfucker and The Builders and Butchers as well as a group out of Louisville, KY – you might have heard of them before-  My Morning Jacket. Mike continued to belt out the lyrics and play guitar, making a mark for himself in the states as well as in Japan, with 2 albums.

Both Dylan and Mike are accomplished musicians with energetic and gregarious personalities. It was a pleasure speaking with them, tossing back a shot with them and rockin’ out to their sounds. Continuing to live the dream,  Aina Haina’s CD will be released February 2013 and then the boys will be hitting the road and going on tour.

Music and  mingling mixed at this event and I became acquainted with a a young, passionate music blogger, Colin Hudson. Colin writes for the blog  Bridgetown Sound – because he loves it, not for the money. Admittedly, he states, the perks are pretty awesome too.

Below read Colin’s review of Aina Haina as posted on Bridgetown Sound.    

Artist Spotlight: Aina Haina Written by: Colin Hudson

In case you were getting worried that real rock n roll, the kind that thrives on grunge, garage, and blues was flocking away from Portland, then next year has a big suprise for you. A local supergroup consisting of two awesome and accomplished musicians, Dylan Magierek and Mike Ailes will be releasing an album in February and touring during 2013. These longtime companions crossed musical paths one more time to form a power-duo that focuses on distorted guitar riffs and simple, thriving rhythms to get their point across. And their point is to rock.

Aina Haina‘s sound stems from 80s rock with a lot of influence from the garage rock revival of the early 2000’s. There are hints of the Black Keys, Van Halen, and even Neil Young throughout one of their sets. Dylan, a former bassist, lays it down on the drum set while Mike plays the guitar rhythm and lead. Impressively, they both do vocals with Mike being the primary singer and Dylan coming in with back up and harmonies.

  Both are well accomplished musicians and Dylan Magierek is best known as the founder and owner of Bad Man Records. A popular Portland label that produced albums for local greats such as Starfucker and The Builders and the Butchers. He worked, produced and did some engineering work on many of the albums on the Bad Man label. Bad Man Records also produced albums for a little band out of Louisville, KY, My Morning Jacket. That being said, Aina Haina are no rookies to the industry, they know that things need to rock in order to work.

And not only do they play thrashing, party music but they also bring a party. Both guys love to connect with the audience throughout their show. I was lucky enough to attend an exclusive show at Devil’s Point last Thursday to see a set of their performance and get a preview of what was to come of Aina Haina. Before the concert they walked around, bought everyone drinks and food, and shot the shit with all the attendedees. And during the middle of their set, Mike claimed that they like to do a shot with everyone at their shows. So we all walked back to the bar where there was about 30 shots lined up and we all threw one back for this amazing band.

The show featured all the sounds i mentioned above, but was even more impressive to hear live. The timing and transitions were right in line and you could feel the energy of the songs shift from riff to riff. It’s also sweet to see two guys pack the same amount of punch as if they were a five piece. Dylan and Mike claim that they just didn’t want to work with someone else’s schedule. It just so happens that performing as a duo works really, really well.

Their album is set to release in February 2013 so do not miss out on hearing and seeing one of Portland’s premier bands.


Sea Dogs Love The Blues

The English had John Hawkins, Sir Francis Drake and Walter Raleigh. Portland has Finger and 10 or so, lesser well-known, Partial Pirates. Blimey!

Portland has “Partial Pirates?” Ok, as I read the article it didn’t really have the same allure and romanticism that Johnny Depp brings to mind but I am a girl who is fascinated by pirates, so I’m intrigued. Finger may have the tendencies to be a carouser, he is a pirate after all, but many boat owners who moor along the Willamette also state he is a stand up guy and the first to step up and help out anyone in need.

The Waterfront Blues Festival starts July 4th and this is the event Finger, and the rest of the partial pirates, have set down anchor for. He has also built two floating pirate viewing docks and crafted 1 raft, in the likeness of Huckleberry Finn’s, that will be used to ferry people over to the pirate docks! Finger seems to be a Pirate/party planner and he plans to “…have the best fucking seats in the house.” for this year’s 25th Anniversary Waterfront Blues Festival.

To read more about Finger check out this article, originally printed June 14, 2012 in the Willamette Week, written by JOHN LOCANTHI 

 Hobo Pirates of the North Willamette Yo, ho, ho and a can of PBR.

img_0049Finger the Partial Pirate paddles from his home to shore. – John Locanthi
The morning sun slips through gaps in the patchwork drapes of the captain’s quarters, landing an unwelcome blow on Finger’s sleeping face.

The hungover pirate rises from his untidy bed, grabbing a can of PBR as he walks past his drum set in the pilot’s cabin.
Finger hops from his boat onto his makeshift, free-floating dock near Tom McCall Waterfront Park. Five anchors hold his dock in place, leaving it just loose enough to give it a perpetual sway. Two Jolly Rogers face the shore, fluttering in the gentle wind. One is a traditional skull and cross bones, the other a hand flipping the bird.Crumpled beer cans litter his ship’s deck. Greasy pots and pans sit on the grill. A beat up blue dinghy is tied to a skateboard plank at the aft end. It’s the only way on and off the deck (for now).Looking at the chromatic collection of cheap beer cans in his tip bucket, Finger spits and bellows a hearty laugh.”It was a group effort messing up this dock,” he says, wiping a dreadlock from his tanned, leathery face. “I’m cleanin’ up shit until the others help out.”He pops open his PBR. Time for his morning “coffee.”

Finger has been living as a “Partial Pirate” on the river for three years now. Three winters, to be precise. That’s how Finger and his ilk measure time out here, as the brutal cold tests the mettle of even the scurviest of sea dogs. Some load up on propane tanks for heating, some just bundle up under a mountain of flannel and blankets. It’s a rough season regardless for the 10 or so Partial Pirates who live on the Willamette.

But it’s summer now. The sun is out, flocks of Canada geese and their goslings are covering the waterfront parks with a healthy layer of shit, and Bluesfest is on the horizon.

Finger and his tribe move from place to place throughout the year. Sometimes by their own choice, others when the river patrol tells them they’ve been in one spot too long. But they come back to this spot to make port every July. The festival along the waterfront caters to maritime music fans. The public docks at the nearby marina even allow people to be tied up for a free week.

Finger and fellow Partial Pirate Chris are not tied up at the marina. Finger’s boat wouldn’t fit—not that he wanted to anyway.

“We got the best fucking seats in the house,” Finger says.

His floating docks are equidistant between the two stages opening on Independence Day. Not too far from shore, either.

More Partial Pirates are on the way. Finger recently helped procure a sailboat for a friend in St. Helens who should be down shortly. A few are already tied up at the marina. All part of the big plans for the festival.

The wooden planks and large blocks of styrofoam on Finger’s dock are the beginnings of a large raft. Modeled after old illustrations from Huckleberry Finn, it’s going to be used to ferry larger crowds over to the pirate deck. The Huck Finn Raft is going to transform the waterfront festival into a party on the water—at least that’s the hope.

“We’re gonna wear straw hats and shit,” says Chris, taking a sip from his pounder of Rolling Rock.

A stripper pole is on the way for Bluesfest as well.

But living in a boat on the river is not an endless party. Keeping his boat in working condition is a full-time job for Chris, who says he’ll soon go to Portland Community College to study manufacturing. The nearest public pumpout is broken and locked up, though the Partial Pirates feel this is a passive-aggressive gesture to get them to leave, forcing Chris and the others to carry barrels of their shit to portable toilets and other places to dispose of it.

“I just paddle over to shore and sprint over to Starbucks or something,” Finger says. “This isn’t going to get in the way o’ Bluesfest.”

After the festival’s over, the pirate will return to his normal life, or as close to normal as that gets: repairing motors, drumming, drinking, and anchoring wherever he pleases. He makes between $30 and $50 a night playing his djembe outside Voodoo Doughnut on the weekends.

“My van was towed while I was sleeping in it,” Finger says. “I got that thing paid off, got in this boat, and never looked back. I can do what I want out here.”

The Partial Pirate tosses aside his empty beer can, picks up a coffee mug, adds in some coffee powder, and jumps in his little blue dinghy. Free hot water can be found ashore.

“Time for my real coffee,” says Finger as he paddles over to the waterfront.

06.15.2012 at 01:00
I have been an avid sailor in the Portland area for several years and have know “Finger” for a long time. He is a great and fun loving guy. Although his lifestyle may seem strange to others he is a truly happy individual and is living his life on his own terms. More power to him…

Anyway, looking forward to Bluesfest!!! PASSION PIRATES unite!:”) ~~_/)_~~

06.15.2012 at 04:23


Ahhh Finger.  Know him well, and I would trust him more than just about anybody to help out if someone was in trouble.  Stand up guy.