Local weekly paper covering regional news and events gets an interview with artist Porkchop. by Tara Collins AKA Twisted T

I’ve known Porkchop for many years now starting from when I owned a punk rock store a few doors up from the Parlor Gallery. I’ve always admired his hustle, he’s always busy working on something, one cool project after another. It’s hard enough for a full-time artist to be able to support themselves no less three children! The man doesn’t sit still for long, so I was happy to sit down with him one night at the Parlor Gallery to talk about some international attention he’s been getting the last few months. We spoke about the controversial “Giving Tree” over the holidays, the exciting news about his solo exhibition at the Erarta Museum of Contemporary Art in St. Petersburg, Russia and an in-depth conversation about the story behind his work of art called, “Elucidation”.

Were you surprised at all the attention that The Giving Tree received over the holidays?

Yeah, that was wild. I have friends out in Colorado that saw it and my sister in Oakland, California. While in Miami for Art Basel, I saw something in the Australia and Argentina News. At last count, 44 different news agencies picked it up. Next Christmas, I may need to open up a little “Santa’s Workshop” making cardboard Christmas trees! (“The Giving Tree” merchandise including t-shirts, sweatshirts, ornaments and puzzles are still available at the two FUN HOUSE locations on Cookman Avenue and in Convention Hall.)

Tell me about your show at the Erarta Museum.

I met them a few years ago at Art Basel. They bought a few of my statues. This show was three years in the making. Erarta is a large museum with five floors. It’s the largest private contemporary art museum in Russia. Part of it is a permanent collection which they bought and added two of my pieces to. The other floors are galleries where you can purchase the art. That’s where my 25 pieces are. The exhibition is called, “La Catedral”. I was planning on attending the opening of the show, but with everything that’s going on there with the current situation with Ukraine and Russia, that couldn’t happen. The museum is having a virtual opening instead.

Can you explain the story behind your body of work called, “Elucidation” .

I started painting over mannequins in 2013 and creating these skull-like figures with the idea of how religion evolves and how it borrows and steals from other religions. My installations are similar to an altar so people get the religious aspect. I also create small figurines and busts that I upcycle. I find, fix, build up and paint over them. They get a new lease on life like the full-length figures. They are the equivalent to a reliquary. So, again, there will be some confusing familiarity, “It looks like Beethoven, but…?”

I like text, so I wanted to incorporate text, but if a person does not connect with that word or doesn’t like that word, then they disconnect from it altogether. At first, I said I’d use different languages, but then decided to make up my own. The language is made up, BUT it looks very familiar, like Yiddish or Sanskrit.