Sunday, July 20, 2008



Written & Illustrated by Justin “Scrappers” Morrison

Published by Grass Hut Books (their first book published)

My name’s Justin, but most folks call me Scrappers. This is my first book, so I don’t know what the rules are about describing it. Is it illegal for the author to describe his own book, I don’t know? So that’s why I can do it.
I gave an advanced copy to my boss Dan Wieden (I work at an ad agency) and after reading half of the book he told me that it was “Mythic”. I thought, “Fuck you Dan.” Later in the week I read a little something about myth. People like Joseph Campbell think myth isn’t just a collection of lies strung together to tell an entertaining story, rather it’s pure condensed truth arraigned in a way that we can see ourselves better with. In sort, we are myth. Maybe it’s a little confusing, but hear me out.
All the characters in CAMP are real people; I didn’t even change their names. Mostly all of them are friends I wish I had more time to spend with. When I sat down to write this book (in just three days) I thought I would write it about my friends to show them how much I love them even though I don’t show it. The book started out with Sally crawling out of a creek, I haven’t seen her in years, but we used to live the good life together as house mates in Arcata, CA. Arcata is in the Redwoods and that’s why this story takes place there too.
The twins are real too. Matt and Josh grew up with me in Burbank, CA. We rode our bikes in the foothills, skateboarded all the schoolyards and had a lot of fun together. Years after I moved away Josh hung him self. He does so in this book too, but the beauty of myth allows me to give his death the true meaning, as I understand it, he died trying to protect his innocence.
Greg, the lead character, is also real. He is my big brother. Although I grew up as an only-child, the two boys my dad had with his previous wife were never far. You see my parents moved to Canada and build a house from scratch right before I was born. The boys, Greg and Donald, grew up there in the woods. They climbed trees, dug snake pits, caught wild animals and had the time of their lives living wild and free. Shortly after I was born my parents split and I ended up in Burbank. Growing up with the stories of these two mythical brothers running wild in the woods I always felt a little cheated and eventually grew to romanticize the Pacific Northwest as a sort of Holy land, the mythical place of my creation. I longed to return and live life to my full potential wild and free like my brothers. Right before I moved to Portland, Oregon my brother Greg grew a brain tumor and died. He was the biggest toughest guy who ever lived, and if you ever met him you he would make you pretty uncomfortable for he was truly wild. Once he made me ride a wild horse bareback and when it kicked me off he was mad at me for not holding on. I was mad at him for making me do crazy shit like that. Little did I know how much he would continue to inspire me to do crazy shit for the rest of my life and how much I love him for it.
Anyways, myth: it allows us to tell the truth without being retarded by facts. This book is “mythic” and it tells the truth about “me” by using all the people around me. Maybe you do that to, like in real life. All the friends and family you keep near and tell stories about are the ones that represent who you are. Maybe when you die you will live on because of all those people. Maybe you should let them know how much they mean to you?
-Justin “Scrappers” Morrison

Grass Hut only made 100 of these books, so if you have one consider your self very lucky. Maybe someday a second edition will be made and all the typos will be fixed and more people will have a chance to read this book, but until then live it up.

Friday, October 26, 2007

American Spirit

American Spirit
New artwork by Scrappers

Smoking does make ladies prettier and it does make men look tougher. Why are there always ads pathetically begging you not to smoke? Smoking makes you cooler then non-smokers. It’s true! Look at James Dean, Clint Eastwood and every waitress standing out back of some crappy restaurant.
Everyone knows the dirty history of tobacco: Native American massacres, slavery, addiction, cancer and gnarly consumer trickery. However, we continue to smoke. Smoking is a middle finger pointed at the world.
In defiance of natural and cultural laws we smoke in the spirit of ancient rebellion. Americans are rebels, our culture is founded on rebellion, our history, our wars and our consumer habits all reflect this. We champion the underdog, cheer the comeback kid, support the challenger brand, fly the flag of the black cowboy, scream for the scavenger eagle attacked by seagulls and will kill for anything else pushing against retarding limitation.
We lack a visual language to speak on behalf of this American Spirit. A language that says, “Fuck you, I’m American. I can do whatever I want”. So it became clear to me a while ago that our Native Americans and smoking make a beautiful statement together. Sure, this might have occurred to a certain cigarette company owned the second largest tobacco maker in the us R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, but the material is so rich for an art show that I had to move ahead with the idea despite copy write laws.
I see enough material on this subject to spend the rest of my life on this smooth and full-flavored subject.

My name is Justin “Scrappers” Morrison, can I bum a cigarette from you?

Friday, August 10, 2007

Willamette River Rat opens tonight!!!
An art installation by Scrappers
Room 232, 6-9pm
It will also be open 8-5pm on weekdays

You know the expression “go with the flow”, it's usually how hippies like me handle failure. I'll admit in these first words, the day the Willamette River Rat installation opens to the public, that I went with the flow. Maybe my intentions were to big for my britches, maybe I didn't really have a plan, or maybe I had too many plans and not enough time. Maybe the lesson here is to let go and go with the flow.
Originally I wanted a big solo project to work on this summer. I heard that this river themed art-fest was going on and thought that it would be a good chance for me to buddy up with Portland's recognized art scene and maybe touch some new hearts with my work.
The River Rat idea started as a secret illegal artist's retreat on Ross Island (in the middle of the Willamette River), but due to poison oak, millions of bloodsucking bugs and loud wake-boarders with their boom box boats, my plans changed. I then tried to find a space close to the river where I could build a show made of all the treasures I've found along the river's edge. I even have a nice collection of driftwood I was going to paint scenes of kids catching their first fish, rope swings, styro-foam beer coolers floating lazy down the river from a capsized canoe, jean cut-off shorts with the pockets hanging lower then the shorts, and portraits of all the wonderful critters that live along the river (even hobos), but I only finished a painting of the shorts. Another idea was to display the show by canoe, so I could physically get more people into the river.
I thought since my wife Amy works for the Willamette Riverkeepers and we have paddled from Eugene to Portland in an event called Paddle Oregon that I would have many personal little stories about my relationship with the river. Stories that would make you laugh and warm your heart enough to trick you into visiting the river more often, or maybe volunteering to help battle urban run-off and stuff But the only story I keep thinking of is kind of sad and maybe I shouldn't share it with you.
When the brain tumor finally destroyed my invincable brother Greg, I had just moved to Portland. When I got the news I instantly grabed my fishing pole and headed towards the Willamette River. Under the Saint John's bridge I lost about six or seven fishing lures on rusted metal and submerged shopping carts before I just sat in the muddy sand and watched the water flow by. That day Greg, the River and I build a very strong connection.
I think we all reconnect with our innocents though nature. For me it's the water that keeps my mind young, for you it might me the snow, I don't know. I'm at a point in my life where I can't seem to find a good job (a paycheck) no matter how hard I work. I'm in constant battle with adulthood and mantaining an innocent relationship with the world. It's a constant pain with squirts of pure joy. Maybe going with the flow means waiting out the pain until the good times pop up?
“Going with the flow” seems like a wimpy answer to life's harder problems. I prefer to work harder and smarter to find creative solutions. Maybe it's a combination of both, work and flow.
So in the end the Willamette River Rat installation has become a sort of monument to the lesson I learned from the river, go with the flow.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

The Oregonian Gentleman

The first Oregonian Gentlemen I ever met were my swim coach, my dad and my mom's friend Randy. They were all bearded and balding. To have a beard and a bald spot implies a lot about a man. For example, he probably cries at the movies, is good with dogs, can change a tire, goes fishing and can split a cord of wood.
These guys inspired me to be the man I am today. In their honor I have had an art show titled The Oregonian Gentleman's Club, written a manifesto for how to be like them and am releasing a line of patches and toys next month. I did all this to remind you that we can be better people.

Available at the San Diego Comic Con
in booth booth #5036
along with the Grass Hut crew
(Bwana Spoons, Martin Ontiveros, Le Merde and maybe some Apak)
After the convention check my Etsy account to get ahold of one.

The Oregonian
Gentleman's Club

The Oregonian Gentleman speaks loudest through his actions. He tips street musicians. He offers bubble gum and tobacco to strangers. He picks up your jacket when it falls off the chair. He jumps into freezing rivers to save injured animals. He handwrites letters to friends and family. Even his presence on the downtown bus causes you to tingle with comfort, glad that he is there.

The Oregonian Gentleman is sensitive. Of course he cries at movies like the rest of us, but his version of sensitivity is more like a hunter’s sixth sense. He stays alert, wide-eyed, ear to the tree and hand on the ground. He is sensitive to every breath and branch snap. Like a good naturalist or artist, the Oregonian Gentleman stays in touch and digs his roots deeper with every consideration.

The Oregonian Gentleman is kind. His generosity knows no limit, often letting others take credit for his good deeds by signing their names into the work he crafted by tooth and nail. It is a unique sort of selflessness that allows the man to give and forgive without any hope of an exchange.

The Oregonian Gentleman is resourceful. Living closer to the environment than most of us, he knows that resources are limited. To live within nature's obvious boundaries he salvages all that he can and reuses it. Often he resembles a beaver or a squirrel due to his so-called “junk collection”. To this he only shakes his head, smiles and say’s “I can’t believe they threw this away”.

The Oregonian Gentleman is strong. If he has muscle it’s only because he commutes by bicycle, turns wrenches, or swings an axe. His willpower gives him the strength to move mountains, dam rivers, build homes and repair things with duct tape.

The Oregonian Gentleman is not hungry. He is content, satisfied with his own life, balanced and humble. The Gentleman never begs, but he is courteous enough to say “please pass the butter”.

The Oregonian Gentleman's Club happened at Renowned Gallery.
Check it out!

Mural in the Ace Hotel, Portland.Get one!

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Let's Go Campin

Is there a greater joy in life? Campin has come to mean much more then marshmallows, baiting hooks, chopping logs and burying poop. These days I see Campin as a gesture, as a yoga position of sorts, in the way that the motion symbolizes a greater meaning. Campin means leaving the human-made system behind. Campin means living by natural laws. Campin means living a life within reach and within nature's limits.
Campin is not a product or service you can buy. It's a brave call to action, it's the most heroic lifestyle and it is the deepest meaning of freedom you could physically participate in. To camp is to know what words and pictures fail to express.