by Kitty Drake in March 2020
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Art & design

Joon — which has been six years in the making — is a dedication to Portland, its city of origin. The dust-flap is emblazoned, “YOU ARE HOLDING A BUTTERFLY”, and the whole magazine throbs with colour. The first piece in the issue is about the abundance of flowers at the Portland Memorial Home, and later, the experimental florist Manu Torres is featured. Bouquets are luxurious technicolour, displayed across double spreads with the accompanying Q&A dotted around the outskirts of the pages, to make way for more pictures. Unusually gorgeous itself, gorgeousness is important to this magazine. “Life is replete with beauty”, writes Abby Morgan of the flowers in the funeral home, “and [it] can stay that way long after you or your loved one has passed on”.

Editor Bijan Berahimi is a founder at Fisk studio, and these pages play with design conventions. A piece about Lever Architecture, a firm in the city famous for working with timber, is illustrated by a page spiked with little holes, to look like felled trunks. There’s even an index at the back cataloguing all the many different types of paper that have been used. Another feature, about Maak Lab, the perfumier behind a recent scent commissioned for Post Malone, combining “tattoo ink, Camel Crush, Bud Light and tour bus” has a hypnotic, 3-D sheen on the title pages. The accompanying photographs are multi-textural; still lives disguised as collage.


This is not a straight-forward, or straightforwardly uncritical portrait of the city of Portland. The rapper Dodgr puts it bluntly: “Historically, Oregon wasn’t meant for people who look like us”. Financial and racial inequality are themes returned to across the issue. An interview with Kiauna Nelson, who runs the food truck sensation Kee’s #Loaded Kitchen, talks about gentrification, and the decision to move out of her old neighbourhood: “Everyone says they love the ‘hood, but you don’t want to have your door kicked in at night.”

Kee is famous for massive plates of food — the way she describes these plates is a thing of joy:

“I always smoked a lot of weed and I always ate a lot of food. But the thing I’d get mad about was I’d have to buy my drink separate, I’d have to buy my dessert separate, I’d have to ask for extra meat, I’d have to do all this stuff to be happy. So I invented a plate I would be happy about which is a giant, loaded plate. I always like to have fresh baked bread with my food, I love to have a drink, and I absolutely love to have dessert. If I can get all that for one price, just say give me the #Loaded plate, let’s do it, you know? Who doesn’t want it?”


On the back of the magazine, one line stands out: YOU ARE A BUTTERFLY. Printed by anyone else this would come off cheesy, but Joon is so unpretentious, and so absolutely flooded with beauty, the line feels like one more delight. Read this magazine. You will probably feel a bit like a butterfly after you have finished it.

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