A Painter of Paintings and Objects

May 21, 2012

my new website is now online at:  www.aarontrotter.com

Painting Live at the Karpeles Manuscript Museum

Painting Performance at the

Karpeles Manuscript Museum: Tacoma, WA 2003

Mime Performance at the Alberta Art Hop

Painting Performance at the SOAK Art Festival: Oregon 2005

Painting Performance at JOAT Studios: Portland, OR 2009

Miming at the Seattle Art Museum

Video thumbnail. Click to play

Making Trash Art at Pigeon Park

The Artist At Work in Cambodia

At work in Cambodia: 2000

My Napoleon Hat

July 19, 2011

As an entrepreneur in business for myself, I have increasingly realized the importance of wearing a Napoleon Hat in order to properly and efficiently conduct marketing warfare in a strategic fashion.  The particular battlefield I am most interested in conquering is Retail on the Local Level.  But that is just one Front.  What other obstacles must be vanquished in order for a fledgling Art Empire to succeed? What does it take to get people’s attention?  It can’t just be a good idea.  It has to be a full-force attack: the package must be bold, the delivery must be head-on.  The whole guerrilla attack strategy must be implemented, a hit and run technique.  A brochure to promote and sample, to present to the staff/buyer/manager/owner of a featured business.  And on that note, each of the businesses featured in my deck of cards (that’s 104 Portland Places, y’all) is going to be invited to represent themselves at my November 12th Double Deck Card Deck Birthday party.  That date will mark the 1 year anniversary of my Idea.

Nervelessly Knocking on Doors

July 15, 2011

I’ve hired myself as Marketing Director of Illustrated Playing Cards, LLC, the company that was created in April to manufacture and distribute my cards.  Since I’m the President and Founder, it was a short interview.  I realized that the best man for the job of promoting and outreach can only be me.  I can’t really count on anyone else breaking through the eggshell of Retail Land, or drumming up the level of  support and interest that I need in order to accomplish my goal of a World Series of Illustrated Cards.No one else has been walking around town for the last year carrying a suitcase full of card decks and making cold-calls at retail consignment shops.    Who else can say they’ve single-handedly collated 37,000 cards into full decks (that’s 5,400 {100 x 54} x 5 batches at 100 decks.  It wasn’t until the 7th printing that I started getting the decks cut perfectly to register, round-cornered, and shrinkwrapped by my allies at City Graphics (222 Southwest 4th Avenue).  In the early days (4 months ago) I couldn’t afford to have the printer round corners so I would receive them uncollated AND the corners uncut, square and sharp.  I have clipped more corners than I can count really, but just consider that each corner must be cut singly with a little clipper {snipsnip} like a fingernail. Imagine 100 decks round cornered by one man, late at night in his studio…

Just like the old American Salesman, the Original Entrepeneur, who made his bread and butter by nervelessly knocking on doors across small-town America.  Which leads me to something else.  That whole Guerrilla Marketing angle.  Has anyone ever knocked on your door trying to sell Art?  What if I carpeted a neighborhood with flyers about my playing cards?  What if I introduce myself to every single business featured in my illustrations? (260 drawings to date)  This whole Adventure in Art as Business (and Life) was born about 1 year ago with my fire in the mind idea to make Playing Cards.  By October I had launched a Kickstarter campaign online to jumpstart the cards.  Willamette Week said : “52 Reasons to Love PDX!!” and I hit my goal of $500 in a week, and the pledges of support brought the total funds raised to $725.

In November I printed the first 100 proto-decks, awkwardly made at Kinko’s late at night and released them at Backspace Cafe on during First Thursday Artwalk in Old Town.

To be Continued….

Reviving the Revival

July 14, 2011

It’s been a labour of love and a printer-delayed limbo land for the past month. So far the Illustrated Playing Card Empire has covered Portland, Astoria, Seattle, and Vancouver, BC.  After endless waiting for out-of-state printers to produce samples, I’ve decided to print locally at higher cost in order to serve the desires of the community and allow my own life to progress.  

100 decks are on the way: 80 Portland 2 and 20 Seattle decks will be released next Friday July 22nd within the confines of my Castle of Art, the Gallery Illustrato, base of operations for a card campaign that will one day be the envy of Napoleon.  I admit to worldly aspirations on the level of Ghenghis Khan or Alexander; but I only want to Conquer In Art.

In the last 6 months I’ve printed 900 decks at local printer City Graphics in downtown Portland.  Each deck has been packaged in a hand-decorated box,signed, numbered, and limited to 100.

I am continuing the tradition with my latest printing, that of embracing the tedious, time-consuming process of hand-made work.  This is what I hope to do: Revive the Revival.  By that statement, I refer to the Gothic/Medieval Revival of the Arts and Crafts Movement, the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood of the late 1800s, and most especially to that Great Hero of mine,

William Morris

who secured the advancement of Printing Beautiful and Useful Things for the Home, including Furniture, Wallpaper, Tapestries, and most lovingly, BOOKS.  It is his influence that I would claim ultimate tribute and honour of inspiration for my designs of the Illustrated Card Deck Series, which I hope will one day truly be a World Series.   To make something that is not only Useful but Beautiful, is my Goal.  I very well know and realize that in order to hit the jackpot, the end product will have to be diluted and homogenized for the Mob, those who couldn’t care less about ‘limited edition’ anything, no matter the potential future value of such an object.  In an ideal world, one that might possibly be the one we live in, there can be both kinds of Art, that which serves the needs of the Few and the Many.  I can only continue upon this path I carved, this trail in the wilderness.