What does Lava Lands Visitor Center have in common with the four of hearts? The same thing Pilot Butte has in common with the six of clubs!
Confused? You won’t be if you get your hands on a deck of custom illustrated Bend playing cards created by artist Aaron Trotter. Each of the 52 cards features a sketch of a unique Bend landmark, ranging from breweries to rivers to shops to historic landmarks.
Visit Bend invited Trotter to town in February, and he spent four days sketching Bend sites. “In order to capture the composition, my method is to stand or sit and sketch on location without the aid of a photograph,” he explained. “I draw with a ballpoint pen in my sketchbook. Over the next week (back in Portland) I inked the drawings with my grandfather’s quill pen.”
Trotter also uses a fountain pen his aunt purchased in Paris in 1910. “It’s nice to have that connection to my people.”
Though Trotter has created cards for Portland, Astoria, Seattle, Vancouver BC and San Francisco, the Bend playing cards were his first custom deck. “Bend has a lot of great natural settings, with a lot of pine and juniper,” he noted. “Sketching that contrast between architecture and nature was an enjoyable challenge.” The Bend edition marked the sixth set in Trotter’s series with Paris, France to follow.
“We’re very pleased with the way they turned out,” says Lynnette Braillard, Visit Bend’s Marketing Director. “Not only do they represent a broad collection of Bend’s most celebrated landmarks and attractions, they’re also functional and a wonderful keepsake of a memorable vacation in Bend. You can use them to play games, or admire them as art, since each set of cards is numbered and hand-signed by the artist. Either way, seeing Bend landmarks through the eyes of a talented artist is a unique experience.”
Choosing the cover for the box was also a unique experience, Braillard noted. “With 52 great images to pick from, we had a tough time deciding,” she said. “Ultimately, we chose Aaron’s sketch of Mt. Bachelor, since it’s one of the most recognizable Bend landmarks that conjures up images of fun and scenic beauty.”
The Bend cards are for sale at the Bend Visitor Center and at VisitBend.com for $20 per deck. They’re also sold at the Portland Saturday Market. Central Oregon businesses wishing to carry the cards for sale can contact Valerie Warren at Visit Bend to learn about wholesale pricing.