It's called the City That Works. But anyone who's lived in Portland long enough knows we're really the city that creates.

Even when it seems nothing is getting done at City Hall, stuff is still getting made everywhere else. Maybe not cars or computers or the other signposts that mark a capital of industry, but the things that truly lend a place its character—whether it's fashion or furniture, tattoos or guitars, music videos or mirrors shaped like music icons.

Through all the change, and all the tumult, Portland remains a magnet for creative minds. Agencies like Wieden + Kennedy and Kamp Grizzly, of course, have made sure of that. But for every person with the résumé to get a design gig at Nike, there are hundreds more toiling independently in basements and studios, or starting agencies of their own.

We think it's time you met some of them.

In this issue, we introduce 15 of the most exciting Portland creators you've never heard of. We're defining "creators" broadly—it runs from the 20-something fashion designers whose brand is blowing up on the streetwear scene to the 57-year-old airbrush artist who's made customized pieces for Drake and Katy Perry. Some make objects you can hold in your hand—boob-shaped necklaces or weed pipes that look like geodes—others trade more in concepts, images and anti-fascist balloon art.

All of them, though, are helping make this place a cooler, crazier and more stylish place to live. Portland may not always work, but you can make it work for you. All it takes is a little creativity.

— Matthew Singer, Arts & Culture Editor