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A Tribute to the Trail Blazers “PhotoStotts” Series

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Paul Navarre is hanging up the brush on the popular series. Here’s how it started and some of the best examples, as chosen by Blazer’s Edge staff.

Blazer’s Edge has given me the chance to meet and work with an amazing number of quality people, but among the tops is Paul “Photostotts” Navarre. You probably know Paul from his artwork, depicting Portland Trail Blazers Head Coach Terry Stotts as any number of figures from pop culture using mad Photoshop skills and a keen wit. If you just browse the Photostotts series for the laughs, you’re only getting half the story. Somehow, in some weird and magical way, each tribute to Stotts ends up exuding reverence and respect for the subject. It’d be so easy to let a project like this drift into satire, morphing tribute into self-aggrandizement, making the picture selection primary at the expense of the coach. This becomes doubly true when your work gets recognized as Paul’s has and there’s pressure to produce. Yet somehow, under Paul’s skilled hands, every Photostotts picture ended up making Terry look better. Whether the Blazers won or lost on a given night, somehow you ended up thinking, “Damn! Stotts does belong in a 1930’s muscle man movie! He’s the greatest!”

“He’s the greatest” doesn’t only apply to Terry Stotts, as it turns out. Paul’s ability to uplift his subject and keep him central comes from the way he sees the world. Every time I’ve talked to Paul, I’ve left with the sense that the universe is full of possibility, and with enough kindness and energy poured into it, a lot of amazing possibilities can come true.

Paul not only sees the world as good, he makes the world around him good. Photostotts is simply the most public example...an example so charming that Terry Stotts himself became the #1 Fan. But Stotts isn’t the only one.

When Paul announced three days ago that he was hanging up the Photostotts brush with these words, it made us a little sad:

We all scrambled to our computers. “Paul, you’re still going to be at Blazer’s Edge, right?!?!?” We breathed a sigh of relief when he told us he was. He’ll still write and curate Facebook, plus whatever other mischief he can get into. (We’ll get him into more now that he’s not Photostottsing.) For this we are grateful.

We also acknowledge that there’s no love like your first love, and we’ll always remember Paul as the guy who got Blazers Nation into the groovy-cool vibe you’ll experience below. Thanks go out to Paul for all the work he’s put into this project over the years. Greatness comes in many forms, but the best is when an old friend helps you see a seemingly-mundane world with new eyes.

Ladies and Gentlemen...Paul Navarre.

—-

It started as just a frivolous discussion after a game against the Cavs on November 11, 2014. Who does Terry Stotts looks like? It turned into a three and a half year marathon.

A new Photoshopped image of a movie scene or a musician or old ad with Terry Stotts face on it appeared after almost every game, win or lose. They were so well received — and doing them amused me so much — that I just kept doing them.

It wasn’t long before the Trail Blazers organization noticed. The Blazers sent a camera man to my home office and filmed a story that aired before a game. They also invited me and my kids down to Moda for a game, and best of all I got to meet the man himself in his office during warmups! I’ll never get more dad points than I got in that moment.

I’ve enjoyed doing each an every one of them, but all good things have to come to an end. I’m so appreciative of all of the recs and positive feedback I’ve received over the years. It’s been a fantastic ride.

Everybody has their favorite, so we polled the staff for the ones that stood out for them. The runaway winner is Rod Serling from the Twilight Zone:

Here are other suggestions from Blazer’s Edge staff.

Isaiah De los Santos: Dustin Henderson

Dan Marang: Jack Burton

Kody Tarbell: Rambo

Adrian Bernecich: Truman Burbank

Eric Griffith: The Wizard of Oz

Miles Custis: The Rock

Ryne Buchanan: Rose DeWitt Bukater with a Neil Olshey cameo as Jack Dawson

Tara Bowen-Biggs: Barry Manilow

Timmay!: John “Hannibal” Smith

Dave Deckard: Vladimir Putin or Vito Corleone (since he’s the boss he gets two)