Name & Age: Matthew Wayne Johnson & 43
Hometown: Chagrin Falls, Ohio
Current Neighborhood: Markham
How do you pay the rent and what is your slash? I own and operate Arutai Studios, a web design firm based in SW. My official title is “principal”. But I serve alternately as a consultant, lead creative, art director, designer, information architect, content strategist, project manager, copy editor and research fiend. My slashes are teacher, mentor, volunteer, art collector, handyman, reader, word geek, martial artist, husband, and father of four. I’m also a registered minister.
What do you create? I create engaging websites for individual artists, companies, agencies, non-profits, and movements.
How did you land in Portland? My wife Erin and I met married in Seattle. We moved to Portland in 1999 when we were expecting our first kid. We wanted to raise our family in a house and real estate is cheaper in Portland. Plus Erin grew up in Portland. Being close to family was, and is, very important to us.
What is the last book you read? Mobile First by Luke Wroblewski, published by A Book Apart. It offers “data-driven strategies and battle-tested techniques to help make you a master of mobile—and improve your non-mobile design, too.” I like to take a dip in the geek pool every once in a while.
Name your favorite tattoo. The sparrow on my right forearm carrying a ribbon with my wife’s name on it and the date I first told her I loved her.
What was the last thing you ate at a food cart? I pick up a Schnitzelwich from the Tábor (Authentic Czech Cuisine) food cart on 5th & Stark whenever I can. They’re indulgent, delicious, and I absolutely love the name.
Oregonian, Willamette Week, or Mercury? I never read a full newspaper. When we had a subscription to the Oregonian, I completed the daily crossword and Sudoku puzzle. If I’m stuck at the airport or waiting at a coffee shop, I’ll read whatever is available. I prefer the overall design of WW.
What is your favorite bridge and why? The St. Johns Bridge for its elegance and height. I rarely get to cross the bridge, so it’s always a treat.
Stumptown Coffee or _________? I can drink truck-stop coffee and hardly ever order anything other than a standard drip. So I’m probably not the one to ask. I am a pragmatist when it comes to coffee drinking. If there is a choice, I’ll choose the better coffee. If not, I’ll take whatever is available. We brew Starbucks French Roast at home.
Coast or Mountains? Coast. The beach is always a hit with the kids. My in-laws and family have a tradition of spending Thanksgiving on the coast.
Only in Portland moment? The first time I found all of the Portland bridges were closed for the Bridge Pedal was a bit shocking. But I love the concept. The Bridge Pedal allows us a new perspective and rightly highlights the marvels of engineering we all travel across daily.
A favorite local business? My whole family loves the Golden Touch Family Restaurant on SW Barbur Boulevard & 19th. It’s a greasy spoon with old booths in desperate need of repair. The food is nothing to write home about. But, the service is absolutely top notch and attitude/irony free. “The Touch” is a low-key place to meet with friends, family, clients, and contractors. In fact, my father-in-law and I have a standing lunch date there whenever our schedules allow it.
Are you a car person or a bike person? With two employed adults and four kids, we are, by necessity, car people. We would walk more if our area of SW had sidewalks.
If you could change one thing about Portland, what would it be? I’d require neighborhoods to have sidewalks. When we lived in SE, we walked everywhere and knew our local merchants by name. In SW, we don’t have sidewalks and have to drive to most everything. A walking space encourages community and helps keep us active. Sidewalks are on my list of things to accomplish when I win the lottery.
And finally, where can we find you on the web? www.arutai.com