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.
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