Get Naked, Stay Wild
Photo by Robbie Augspurger

Photo by Robbie Augspurger

Justin “Scrappers” Morrison is a bit of a polymath in the Portland design scene. He “make[s] art, ads, and designs for myself and the best clients in the world,” including The Portland Mercury, HUMP! [nsfw], Think Indian, Scout Books, Travel Oregon, Nike, MTV, and, most recently, Stay Wild Magazine.

Welp. He’s gonna be speaking at Union/Pine on Friday, May 16. So I asked him a few questions. Here’s your primer:

What was your first design gig? And what’s your main gig now?

A booby trap I set up to nail my mom in the face with a water balloon when she got home from work late. It didn’t pop when it hit her, but it got the point across: don’t leave me alone in the apartment for too long.

My main gig now is cranking editorial designs out for The Portland Mercury and Stay Wild Magazine, plus freelance creative work on advertising campaigns, illustration work, and being the best daddy I can be to my son Camper.


Was creativity part of your childhood, and how did you decide to ride your current trajectory? Has there been a point when you’ve decided to take a big risk to move forward?

Sure, I drew pictures of mountains covered with animals as a kid, but I would say it was NOT part of a master plan. Shit, I had the job title “Art Director” for a couple years before I even understood what it meant. I took the leap from coffee shop artist/zinester to professional creative worker like most folks take the leap into a new body of water. I didn’t know how brisk the water would be until I hit it.

What is an “aha!” moment you’ve had, or any other moments when you knew what you wanted to do?

When I saw the difference between people who want to be and people who want to do something. Probably hit me while getting my BA in History at PSU. The folks who made the best things historically didn’t do it for job titles.

You just finished a successful Kickstarter campaign. Congrats! Can you talk a little bit about Stay Wild Magazine—how was the idea hatched? why a physical magazine? what goals do you have for the project?

I’ve been working my whole life up to this point. Wild people, in wild places, making wild shit; it’s what I live for! All the random jobs I’ve had from gutting salmon in Alaska to rolling sushi in Humboldt county to writing crappy art reviews have all informed this work. All the friends I’ve made in the past 35 years are all doing work that needs a place to live. This magazine is for them!

I’ve worked the past 10 years in advertising and print media, so I’ve seen “the death of print media” mostly only happen in lecture series by burnt out old journalist and advertising assholes. Print is more than alive as long as you use the awesome tools that enhance it (social media, digital copies of the print edition, video, etc…). My goal is to make the magazine that brings outdoor lifestyle + action sports + creative work together since they all taste so good in the same place!

How does where you live affect your creativity or work?

Great question! I can only work the way I do because I live in Portland, Oregon. Our richest natural resource here is talent and the drive to make something culturally significant. I’m sure this sounds cheesy, but our creative community is the only reason I don’t work at a hippy burrito joint any longer.

What are your passions and interests outside of design?

Design is in everything we do. It’s in the very core of how we live. It’s in the act of finding new swimming holes, surf spots, and illegal campgrounds. It’s not just in computer crap like new apps or Adobe updates. When you decide to make work part of your lifestyle like riding a bike to the office your passions and your work becoime one. There is not clocking out because there is no clocking in!

Scrapper founded the Grass Hut Gallery, attended the WK12, painted a mural at the ACE, and knows how to take a lunch break. Which is exactly why you should come out to see him in the flesh.


Stay Wild – Justin “Scrappers” Morrison

Fri, May 16, 2014

6:30 pm–8:00 pm
Union Pine
525 SE Pine
Portland, OR 97214



Bonus: Illustration Age has a great 2011 Escape from Illustration Island podcast interview with Scrappers that you should check out.

By Michael Buchino
Published May 7, 2014
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