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  • Writer's pictureThis Is Rutherford

Coloring Rutherford

Updated: Nov 3, 2023

By Jennifer Ersalesi

Photo by Dan Meredith

Recently, a young couple from Rutherford announced that they had created a special coloring book unique to Rutherford. The coloring book, Coloring Rutherford, is filled with pages of recognizable Rutherford locations, including the train station, Lincoln Park, and so many more. This is Rutherford interviewed Hannah Porro about the book that she and her husband Justin Porro created and recently published.

TIR: You and your husband are lifelong Rutherford residents. What do you love and appreciate about this town? Hannah Porro: Yes! We are both lifelong residents of Rutherford, having grown up as neighbors on Chestnut Street. We have so many childhood memories built around this town and its traditions. From walking in parades, playing softball at Memorial Field, trick or treating, selling Girl Scouts cookies door to door, riding bikes, or catching candy canes from Santa on a firetruck- the experiences are endless! This town was perfect to grow up in in every way and we are excited to share those same traditions with our daughter. We also appreciate this town for so many reasons today. It is so beautifully maintained, the houses are charming and it has always felt like a family community. Plus, where else can you be less than an hour from the city, beach and mountains?

TIR: You recently completed a Coloring Rutherford coloring book, which includes 18 original illustrations. Where did this idea come from? What inspired you? HP: The concept was actually Justin’s! He is always brimming with creative ideas, and I just put the wheels in motion. He thought it would be fun to create a coloring book of the town for our daughter. We only welcomed her in January, so it was very much a “one-day” idea, but I felt we should bring it to life sooner.

We spent the first several months of the year on family leave, and when we weren’t endlessly changing diapers, we would spend time working on the scenes. It was a fun way to be creative together during our time off- a passion project. TIR: Is art a hobby and/or profession for both you and your husband? HP: It is a hobby and a profession for both of us! Justin is a Graphic Design graduate of the Art Institute in Philadelphia and currently works as a Packaging Designer in the Home Industry in NYC. He enjoys graphic design, multi-media painting and, for the past several years, has been woodworking. I am a Marketing and Entrepreneurship Grad of the Fashion Institute of Technology, having worked in event and display design for several years. I now work for a non-profit as a graphic and web designer. We both come from very creative families and fun fact, we attended grammar school together, where we were both voted most artistic. We have a very embarrassing yearbook photo to prove it.

TIR: What are some of your favorite illustrations in the book? This book was a creative challenge for so many reasons! First, we wanted to capture so many places in town but had to narrow it down to a select few we knew everyone would recognize and appreciate. We were very tempted to include more. Second, a lot of editing went into each spread to include the details of each specific location. Although it seems like the scenes were taken from a single snap, many hours of collaging, editing perspective, and scaling photographs went into each spread before becoming an illustration. For example, the most challenging was Lincoln Park, where we knew we had to include the memorial, the gazebo, and the bandshell, but it was a lot of manipulating to get all three elements into one photograph. Also, this town has a lot of trees, so we had to do some pruning of our own! Our personal favorites are the multidimensional scenes that incorporate people, like the ice cream cone, the postman, and the farmers market. The first draft of this book was much more architectural, featuring just the buildings and landmarks. We quickly realized we needed to add more of everyday Rutherford life to make it more relatable and, honestly, fun to color! We also added some hidden easter eggs in the book, like our nephew featured smiling under the crossing guard. TIR: What do you hope people will enjoy about this book? HP: We hope people look at this book and feel connected to the town and to each other. Not just because they are familiar with the locations but because it captures where they feel at home. I sometimes think about how many of us go about our busy lives here, commuting to work, dropping our kids off at school, or running errands- all on auto-pilot. Even if many of us don’t know each other, all of our paths do cross and it’s these locations that we all share, appreciate, and care for.

To order Coloring Rutherford, click here.

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