I keep thinking of how to reflect on 2018 and the longer I wait, the less I have to say. I don’t know if it’s capitalism or comparison (or both) but somehow I’ve come out of another hectic year feeling like I haven’t accomplished anything.

This isn’t true, of course. I had more range in assignments than I’ve ever had. And as a photographer that hasn’t committed to one specific genre, it’s made me reflect on the privilege I have to even bear witness to these stories. From reporting on food insecurity in rural Oregon to shooting an entire cookbook filled with delicious (and sometimes expensive) seafood galore, flying last minute across the world to covering poverty in my new home state, how do I balance this spectrum of stories?

I hope I can always tell them with an honest lens.

I felt frantic most of this year, but the wake of what’s happened still feels right. I see it as a year having already found my voice, then learning what else it could do (forever striving for Mariah octaves figuratively and literally tbh).

My spirits soared in the most unexpected moments (BBC! Obama Foundation! cookbooks!), but my heart broke in a way that still devastates me.

I’ve grown to fear less when speaking up, or I’ve become numb to it. Advocacy will never not be exhausting, but it will always be necessary. I’ll continue to say no to unpaid labor, and speak up even though the system was made to silence us. And I’ll keep going, because I can’t bear the idea that it might never get better.

I spent a lot of this year angry. Which, to be fair, isn’t unusual for me (there is a lot to be angry about!), but the anger itself was from something new. I thought about all the time marginalized artists spend needing to be extra careful, extra good, extra everything to perform extra labor. To have the difficult conversations, and navigate a society and industry that was built by excluding them. But still creating, and still persisting. Because we can’t not, and these conversations are critical to both our art and our being.

And then I tried to imagine a world where the extra wasn’t needed. Where we could put our full hearts and equally distributed resources toward what we care about the most. Thinking outside any need to fight or contextualize oppression, and just create. Just be.


The Los Angeles Arboretum.


Outside Bonnie Slotnick’s.


My first ever solo exhibit at UNA Gallery, featuring Portland in Color. By Vy Hong Pham.


Making a home, and our first snow together.


Marshall Johnson sitting for a tattoo by Alice Kendall for the Audobon Society.


Da Vinci middle schoolers protest during March for Our Lives, a nationwide student-organized protest calling for gun reform.


Part of the Racist Sandwich team at the La Cocina Conference in San Francisco, California.


DeRay McKesson for Street Roots.


Abdulah Polovina, imam of a mosque at the Bosniaks Educational and Cultural Organization in Portland, Oregon for Street Roots.


Young girls in low income housing in Ontario, Oregon as reported for part of the Housing Rural Oregon series for Street Roots.


DJ and activist Cay Horiuchi for Portland in Color.


Michelle and Alex along the California coast in their van, Bobby.


Food writer and host of A Hungry Society, Korsha Wilson.


Angela Flying Eagle at First Christian Church food pantry in Ontario, Oregon; on assignment for Street Roots.


Molly Woodstock, host of Gender Reval podcast, photographed for Portland in Color.


Leaving Orcas Island.


Halawa Valley, Molokai.


The sand bar, Oahu.


Penny Rawlins Martin, the first and youngest woman to sail between Tahiti and Hawai'i on the inaugural Hokulea voyage, for Misadventures Magazine.


A poke picnic on Oahu.


Across the Outer Hebrides, off the west coast of Scotland. We started in Barra and made our way north to Harris and Lewis.


Behind the scenes for Yana Gilbuena's upcoming book, No Forks Given, due out September 2019.


Morning in San Jose del Cabo.


Summer in Portland and Stockholm.


The oyster beds at Chelsea Farms in Olympia, Washington for the upcoming book Pacific Northwest Seafood by Naomi Tomky.


Scenes from Calabria— Chianalea, Scilla, Tropea, and Civita— on assignment for Airbnb.


Mama's first time in France, Villefranche-sur-Mer.


Paris with my sisters, on film.


Ma enjoying a moment on a tiny balcony in Nice— not only the highlight of my year but a forever highlight in my heart.

My days have blurred together, but I’m trudging forward, hoping that every little bit is adding up somewhere. Hoping that someone is keeping count.

Here’s to another year of doing our best.

In light and solidarity,

portland in color | 016: the chiu family


Today we have a very special edition of Portland in Color— our first family feature! Making space for creativity in the home can be both a challenge and a privilege. As daunting as creative careers might be, pursuing them while also providing for a family feels tenfold.

I often think of how my upbringing helped shape the artist I am today. I don't have memories of arts and crafts with my mother because as a single parent in a low income household, she was usually working. But she saved every single piece of art I brought home. Sometimes I would dig through boxes and find drawings I thought I'd thrown away. She told me she didn't get to keep anything from when she was young, so she holds onto everything she can now and I think this is why I'm a photographer. We might not have had a creative home in the traditional sense, but creativity was born from it nonetheless.

I'm so excited for our guests today because not only are they making and organizing art that benefits the community (think: massive murals and zines galore), but they also welcome us to see how creativity flourishes in their home in the shape of the CUTEST cooking show ever. Somehow, I overcame my starstruck wonder to spend a morning with the delightful and hilarious Chius, making popcorn à la The Mazzy Show, drawing three-eyed Mazzys, and eating books. 

Seeing families like theirs is a breath of hurricane popcorn air, and the future feels so bright.


Name:  Alex, A’misa and Mazzy Chiu

Pronouns: He/Him, She/Her, “I’m a Mazzy” 


Alex: I’m second generation Chinese American. My parents emigrated from Hong Kong to California in the 70’s. I grew up in Irvine. I moved to San Diego in 2003 to study Visual Arts at UCSD and got a degree in Media Studies. I am currently a professional illustrator, arts educator, and stay at home dad here in Portland.

A’misa: II’m a yonsei Nikkei, which means I’m a fourth generation Japanese American. I was born in Oakland, raised in Gardena/Torrance in Los Angeles, CA, within a very large Asian American community. I met Alex while studying art history/architecture in San Diego more than a decade ago. We’ve been partners (in art and in life) for many years. We’ve lived in Portland for 6 years now. I miss the food of LA and my family as the years tick on; I just wish it was more open to weirdo artists in the way that Portland embraces us.

Mazzy: Mazzy is 3, likes slime, persimmons and is way more well known than either of her parents (which they are cool with). 


Medium of choice: 

Alex: I consider myself to be a cartoonist. I tend to draw and paint. I currently have the ambition to paint murals. I also have the ambitions to create stop motion animations.

A’misa: I’m a zinester and illustrator, who makes zines on my personal experiences. I’m most proud of the zine that I did on my abortion experience when I was 21. It took me 10 years to write, it has been a long healing process. I also am a college research librarian and I organize a lot of zine and art fests.

Mazzy: The Mazzy show on Youtube.

Astrological signs: 

Alex: Libra
A’misa: Aries
Mazzy: Libra


Karaoke jam: 

Alex: “Basketcase” by Green Day

A’misa: “Killing Me Softly” by the Fugees and “Gold Lion” by Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Mazzy: Johnny Johnny Song

Tell us about one of your favorite Portland memories: 

Alex: My friend Wally and I collaborated on a project that involved paper mache monster costumes. The night we finished painting them, we walked over to Domino’s pizza and ordered a pizza in our monster outfits. We also did a little dance in the parking lot. The workers were pretty excited about it.

A’misa: One of the most powerful times I’ve had in Portland was at the APANO Organizing Retreat. It reminded me of church camps that I used to attend as a kid, but instead of a religious focus, it was a 2 day training on how to be better community organizers. It was more than just a learning experience. In sharing our families migration stories, I realized that while my family was being incarcerated in concentration camps by the US government for being of Japanese descent, the Japanese from Japan were occupying many of the Micronesian Islands, such as Palau. These conversations made me realize that my history stems in oppression, both as the oppressed and the oppressor. I wish I had a chance to learn these histories when I was younger, and further encourages me to tell my own kids true history. I also am thankful for being able to help out with Intersect Fest and Tender Table


Please share a time it was difficult living in Portland: 

Alex: Moving to Portland was a big deal for A’misa and I. We were moving into a new city and pretty much started from scratch with only what we could fit into our Toyota hatchback. I worked my ass off for the first two years working odd jobs in retail, coffee, and teaching. At one point, I was the only one making money while Ann was in school for library science. There were a few times when I couldn’t keep up with our bills and our debit card was overdrawn. The feeling was desperate and terrifying. It was difficult to ask my parents for money to keep us in the city. I am extremely thankful for our current situation. Things are easier now.

A’misa: Personally, I struggled a lot in the first 2 years of living here. Many of the people that we initially met through the comics and art world were white, and while everyone was pretty nice and inclusive of us, I still had trouble feeling connected. I never really felt that I could be myself. Sometimes I still have those feelings. Portland can be very unlike how I grew up, and I miss the very connectedness of Asian community: you know where everyone is your auntie and cousin, and the hospitality is so warm. Though, I don’t miss the obligation and shame that also comes with that connectedness either. Alex and I worked a lot of odd jobs in the first few years, and life didn’t seem to slow down, it still hasn’t. I was also in school to become a librarian and faced quite a few microaggressions from professors and classmates. This made me start seeking out other students of color, and other artists of color. 


How do you stay inspired in Portland? 

Alex: In all honesty, Portland has been a very positive place for my creative growth. Being an artist in Los Angeles was far more difficult for me. Since I moved here, I joined a small drawing group with a group of people that I respect and enjoy very much. I’ve been given opportunities to teach, perform at comics reading events, hang my work on walls, and paint murals. After having a kid, it is more of a challenge to stay motivated to create new work. The main reason that I started The Mazzy Show was to have a creative outlet while also being a parent.

A’misa: I am very thankful for Intersect Fest, Tender Table, Women of Color Zine Collective and the zine and comics community. The creatives of color that work so hard to keep our little artistic communities running have my deepest respect, admiration, and appreciation. I wouldn’t have stayed here as long as I have without this community. Zinesters by far, have my heart, and I will never stop making zines. For me, it is a very pure art form that is highly accessible and affordable to both make and to consume. Also I’m thankful for my POC librarians networks. They keep me fueled up and ready to tackle all of the information and literacy issues this country is facing. Librarians are such bad-asses. 


How can Portland support you and/or your community? 

Alex: Being a parent has been a very significant life change for me. I feel very disconnected from people. On occasions, A’misa lets me slip out to an art show or go draw with some buddies of mine. Those moments seem more significant to me than they had before. If we do manage to table at an event or perform, please come out and join us. These moments are special to us. 

A’misa: Please keep coming out to the zine/art/comics/poetry/performance events. Especially when these art communities in Portland can be overwhelmingly white, your presence and support is everything. It truly is. Buying some zines is always appreciated too! 

Keep up with the Chius by following their work on Instagram (Alex, A'misa, Mazzy) and their websites and See Mazzy in all of her adorable glory on Facebook and Youtube!

Portland in Color will be taking a holiday break! We'll be back in the new year with new features and are grateful for donations to keep the series going.


portland in color | 015: emilly prado


If you read about Portland in Color in Street Roots earlier this fall, you can thank our guest today for writing the feature. Her work spans music, culture, and art, with intersectional activism and community at the the heart of her pieces. 

Not only does Emilly's work highlight people and issues of marginalized communities, it asks the larger community to act. It's natural to feel helpless and overwhelmed by the state of society and the greater world, but reading her pieces are grounding because they emphasize how can change begin with our own actions, right in our local communities. If you aren't familiar already, her From Slacktivism to Activism column is an incredible resource for locals to educate themselves on current events and get involved. It's a reminder that we can look to ourselves and our communities to move forward.


Name: Emilly Prado

Pronouns: She/her

Background: Chicana by way of California and Michoacán, Mexico

Medium of choice: Writing but also photography, zine making, & dabbling in digital illustration


Astrological signs: cancer sun, gemini rising, sag moon

Karaoke jam: “Your Good Girl’s Gonna Go Bad” by Tammy Wynette, “The Jump Off” by Lil Kim, and “Como La Flor” by Selena

Tell us about one of your favorite Portland memories: Because I can’t pick just one, I’ll share two.

Even though I’ve lived in Portland for eight years, two standout memories happened this past year. In early March, I was super lucky to attend a beautifully intimate Helado Negro show at the Doug Fir. I actually wrote a live review for the Portland Mercury detailing just how blown away I was, but the entire evening was magic. My friend Daniela Karina set the mood with a killer DJ set and shortly after, my cousin and incredibly talented musician, Luz Elena Mendoza of Y La Bamba, played a set accompanied by nearly all femme musicians. Anis Mojgani, an award-winning slam poet, performed before Helado Negro went on and I cried. I had never experienced a lineup that included a poet, but more shows should! Finally, Helado Negro went on. It was my first time seeing him live and his music came alive for me. Soft glowing bulbs lit up every time he sang into the mic and the tinsel mammals added another shimmery element of sound. My favorite moment came when he played “Young, Latin, and Proud” and the entire front row (nearly all Latinx) linked arms and we gently swayed and sang along.

And another favorite memory occurred in October after I partnered with NXT LVL to throw a benefit for Puerto Rico and Mexico relief called #LaFuerzaPDX. So many wonderful musicians, artists, and community members came together to collectively raise over $2300!


Please share a time it was difficult living in Portland: 2012 was an incredibly tough year for me. I was feeling really isolated and lost after several major life changes occurred within weeks of each other. In a nut shell, I expected my life to be very different from where I was at and wasn’t prepared for the changes that had come. I didn’t have as strong of a network of friends as I do now and my mental health had tanked. I almost left Portland but decided to stay after I had my first tarot reading and she totally accurately warned I was running away from my problems but had to work on myself. It was true! Instead of leaving, I took a long solo trip, and five years later, I’m really happy to have made that choice.


How do you stay inspired in Portland? There is so much in this city to be inspired by. Connecting with the amazingly powerful and growing POC communities in Portland keeps me going. When dealing with the stress and alienation that can come with being Brown and living here, I hibernate or escape by traveling when I can. Spending extended periods of time alone can help reinvigorate inspiration, especially when it comes to my own (not for journalism) writing. And while I dig getting close to all the beautiful nature around Portland when decompressing, I prefer my outdoor adventures to be comprised of yurt glamping and hot springs.


How can Portland support you? People can support me and my work by donating to my meals-out-while-working-fund (aka venmo @emillyprado or cashapp $emillyprado), buying my zines, and attending and/or donating to the events/fundraisers I share whether through my From Slacktivism to Activism column or through social media.

To stay up to date on Emilly's writing and events, follow her on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. See more of her work on her website

Portland in Color is a self-funded project. If you enjoyed this feature, please consider donating to keep the series going.


portland in color | 014: ev'yan whitney


Feeling alone because of your skin is one thing, but not knowing how to love the body you're in is another world. It can be difficult to separate these two ideas when they feel so inextricably linked, especially when we live in a society that can be so narrow-minded about what is beautiful.

But the conversation is changing. The people who have been excluded are seizing this narrative for themselves— a celebration of black and brown, of queer, of fat, of everything they told us not to love.

Our guest today takes this celebration to a simple but radical level: stepping outside of shame to embrace and understand our sexuality. Her work is an ongoing conversation about what it means to be queer, black, and femme today. From The Sexually Liberated Woman podcast to her workshop on erotic self portraiture, Ev'Yan is empowering femmes to find radical self love through their sexuality.


Name: Ev'Yan Whitney

Pronouns: She/hers + Boss Ass Bitch

Background: Black american from the African Diaspora with German and Native American ancestry (my great-great-grandmother was Choctaw)

Medium of Choice: I've been writing about women's sexuality and sensuality for almost eight years and I've created a private practice where I help others heal and actualize themselves as sexual beings on their own terms. And up until recently, those were my only mediums, with writing being the most used. Lately, though, my work has expanded in such ways where I am using my actual voice rather than just writing (I podcast); my physical body (I use erotic self-portraiture as a political act; I also perform occasionally); and my spirituality (I use my intuition and connection with my ancestors to guide me when I'm in session with my clients) as methods to create, heal, and take up space.


Astrological signs: Virgo sun, Cancer moon, Sagittarius rising. I'd also like to mention that my Venus AND Mars are in Virgo, which speaks very accurately to the way I am in my relationships (much to my dismay).

Karaoke jam: "Paranoid Android" by Radiohead. Also, "Formation" by Beyoncé.

Tell us about one of your favorite Portland memories: I'm originally from Southern California and for 23 years I had never lived anywhere else in the world but that area; the parched desert was all I knew. So when I made the decision to move up here, one of the first memories I have of Portland was going into Forest Park and being enchanted by the landscape. I remember putting my hands on the trunks of these giant trees and petting thick tufts of moss and feeling so held and supported by everything around me. It literally felt like I was in another world and I remember leaving the forest that day feeling really high and being unsure if it was because I had spent the last hour frolicking in this magical forest or if I just wasn't used to breathing clean, highly oxygenated air - ha!


Please share a time it was difficult living in Portland: I lived in the Beaverton area for the first year that I moved here and it really gave me a false impression of what the rest of Portland was like. My neighborhood was super diverse—I was one of a handful of POC on my block—and I was naive enough to think that the rest of Portland would be like that. When I finally moved to Portland proper (SE Buckman), I was confused—where were all the brown people? Was I the only non-white person on my street? (I was for a time.) It was such a rarity for me to see POC and black people in my neighborhood back then that I whenever I did see them I felt relieved, like I could breathe a little easier. Which was nice in the moment, but because of the lack of people of color in my area, it meant that I wasn't breathing easy often. To feel that isolation, that depth of otherness, was really new for me and during those times, I had a bit of an emotional breakdown. And then I stumbled upon Portland's racist history by way of Walidah Imarisha's work and I hit an existential crisis. I felt myself shutting myself away from the world and when I did leave the house, I made myself small and took up as little space as possible. I didn't feel safe in my skin, I didn't feel wanted or welcome here. I didn't feel seen. I felt the weight of my race and the color of my skin in such a visceral and inescapable way, which made me really insecure. I went through a huge and painful identity crisis, which, on the brighter side, resulted in me becoming radicalized in my Blackness and grounded me into my culture in a way I had never been before. But it was a very hard, very rocky process and I almost left Portland because of it. Finding the POC and Black community here saved me.


How do you stay inspired in Portland? Being around my people inspires me. When I can code switch and use my body and voice to unapologetically take up space, relief/release floods my body. Like, "Finally, there is a space where I can let my guard down and just be my very Black ass self"—that feels so, so good. That feeling of relief/release inspires me. It grounds me back into my body, into the truth of who I am on a cellular level and in that grounding, I am able to access myself in more authentic ways—which inspires me to take up space and create important work and it helps me serve my clients better. It also helps me get out of the funk I sometimes land in that can make me isolate myself. And when I don't have those spaces—like, when I can't make it to the potluck or when the weather is so atrocious that it makes me even more of a homebody—communing with and staying connected to my ancestors inspires me. Remembering that they've been here before, that they dealt with far greater tribulations, and that their strength, wisdom, tenacity, and stubbornness lives within me. . . that's something that keeps me grounded. I think that's why I've continued to stay here in Portland, because I feel my ancestors with me and telling me constantly, "This space is yours. You deserve to be here. You belong here, too. Don't let nobody keep you from your home."


How can Portland support you and your community? Love me like you love my culture. And not just love me, but respect me, hear me, see me, believe me.

To see more of Ev'Yan's work, visit and follow her on Instagram

Portland in Color is a self-funded project. If you enjoyed this feature, please consider donating to keep the series going.


portland in color | 013: sashiko yuen


Living in Portland can feel like living in a homogenous bubble: another coffee shop with white tile and minimalist decor, another magazine spread featuring only white women, another new business marketing luxury and convenience instead of accessibility. When we normalize these patterns, we continue to overlook the people and art that exist outside of these parameters.

As we move into the season of buying, please consider where your money is going. Who are you supporting? As activism and social consciousness become more "fashionable," understand that buying "feminist" branded merchandise from a boutique is not the same as giving your money to queer POC artists.

Sashi is a burst of color in a whitewashed town— an example of artists we should actively be seeking to support. As a queer, chronically ill POC, the battle to exist in a capitalist-driven market is exponentially more challenging. If you can't give your money to these artists, sharing their work is free. The more visibility they have in the media, the more likely they can survive with their art (and their art can survive, too). 


Name: Sashiko Yuen aka Wishcandy

Pronouns: They/ Them, Space Bae, Cuddleboi, prince (lower p, not to be confused w/ the great Prince)

Background: Black/ Asian/ Latinx, Queer, Non-binary, Ex-East Coaster

Astrological sign: Liiibraa sun, Libra rising, Aries moon ;)


Medium of choice: Watercolor and crushed souls

Karaoke jam: Dang, only one? Spiderwebs by No Doubt

Tell us about one of your favorite Portland memories: My favorite memory is having a Maryland friend come visit, and taking off to travel Oregon in a camper van for a week. Hiking, exploring caves, ocean, volcanoes, lakes, fresh air, petting horses, but also driving past the forest on fire near Crater Lake. I had no idea all of these things were all in one state. Was really refreshing to clear my head and stay offline. 

Then be excited to come home, eat a real meal, and see more friends. I know this memory isn't centered in Portland, but the best thing about the town is leaving it. Then being excited to come back and spend time with my loved ones here.


Please share a time it was difficult living in Portland:  This past summer has been one of the most difficult times here. My dizziness and exhaustion was at its worst. I was sleeping around 16 hours a day. And when I was awake, I was barely able to sit up for more than a few minutes at a time. 

I kept getting invited to the beach or to go dancing but I didn't have the health to do any of that. We talk about how important self care is, but we don't talk about how self care for the chronically ill leads to isolation. My mental health wasn't so great either, while trying to find sources and solutions. My doctors are still confused by it all too.

How do you stay inspired in Portland?  This city isn't personally an inspiring place for me. I feel creatively starved here. That's hard to admit. The art scene is lacking diversity in representation and who is actually creating. Of course diverse creators exist but it doesn't seem like they're being supported in this town. If you have a certain style and can adapt to a monoculture you'll do well here. 

If it weren't for my QPOC community I would have left shortly after I arrived. They bring warmth to my life and helping create the community I'm in has been nourishing on a personal level. But these exact ppl remind me I need to go live my life.


How can Portland support you and/or your community? Honestly? Buy things from us, come to our shows, invite us to participate in events, advocate for us to be paid. Share our work with your friend circles, especially those who wouldn't normally be exposed to our work. Amplify our voices on social media by sharing/ regram/ retweet. Did I mention, pay us? 

See more of Sashi's work on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and their website

Portland in Color is a self-funded project. If you enjoyed this feature, please consider donating to keep the series going.