PORNO!

Melbourne is known worldwide for its graffiti, and has many crews with a number of big names. One of these names is PORNO. Having recently dropped his very first print, we thought it best to catch the man from his lair at Everfresh Studio to get the low down.

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Damo: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Porno: Sure. I write Porno… ISO, CDF, LED, STD, 321, ADC, INN, WS4, WSO, ID.

I’ve been writing graff for 22 years. I started painting in 1994. My painting was originally influenced directly through hip-hop, older friends, older brothers and the people I hung out with as a hyperactive kid.

I pretty much started DJing, B-Boying, trying to MC and was part of the start a crew called “ISO” which was a hip-hop crew. Many years later that I was only really interested in painting graff. I ended up working in signage and doing a design degree. From there on I decided I wanted to get into my own signage biz because it was the most relevant thing to painting at the time for me. I had worked for numerous signage companies, became a production manager, and became really interested in production, manufacturing and technology which changed a lot of my perception of my art and my processes.

Painting is how I first I started to intertwine with people of the culture. At one point I stepped away from painting all together for a couple of years (around 2006 or 2007). I got back into it around 2008-2009 when I decided I would set up my own signage business. I met with all the guys from ‘Per Square Metre’ and got back into graffiti painting with more positive people and a fresh outlook. I ended up setting up another separate studio after ‘Per Square Metre’ ended called ‘Safe House Studio’ where it was a similar sort of vein; a heap of graffiti artists and artists who ran their own businesses from there and worked together on numerous creative projects, murals etc. The studio got its title from a police raid which occurred within the first month of opening. One of the transit police officers claimed it was a graffiti safe house!

Eventually that closed down and I moved in at the Everfresh Studio, still running my signage business. Here, I’m surrounded by all these amazing paintings and people who are proactive enough to do what they want to do. It’s invigorating and essentially it’s really motivating.

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photo: p1xels


Damo: How did you find the scene had change between 1994 to when you came back around 2009?

Porno: When I first started painting the scene was a lot different because it was a rougher era and people sort of aspired to graffiti that was a lot rougher as well, more crime influenced than art at that time. Graffiti wasn’t cool then to the every day punter as it is now and was well more underground than today. To me, back then, graffiti was sort of a romantic story of discovering places, things, meeting new like minded people and building your own tales to tell whilst getting your name up and building your title. Hearing stories or Chinese whispers or finding the real people behind the story, finding places and giving them purpose… that was always my first interest in writing.

Crews used to rule with more with an ‘iron fist’ approach when I first started. You couldn’t step on toes and you had to really pay respect to people if you wanted respect. However, I’m not some bitter old writer that’s going to rant on as though the next generations are trying to do what they want to do and they should be proud of it, everyone has their own opinion. When I had a break from graff it was for similar reasons of over opinions. When I was younger I had a beef with a fair few people on my line so I grew up being a bit of a lone rider with painting and kept with it to also stick it to a few people that I had beef with or disliked. I did paint with a few close people then, but not till it was about 19 or 20 did I really sort of have a proper crew of such.

When I was 16-18 I was first inspired by ADC and GD crews and they were the first people I started to hang out with and used to write with, my mentors as such. My first tag ever was ‘Fear’ and then it turned to ‘Pane’ and then it turned to ‘Porno’ in 1997 (and a few other aliases!).

I was first obsessed with bombing and the idea of getting up, not for the public but for writers to appreciate.. in the same vein of the staunch mentality of what graffiti was seen as by the public and even the writers at the time. Porno was a different sort of take on a more shock value sort of word… now I sort of perceive it as a bit more… relatable to the public and current art, its a word that was meant as a shock value word but today a lot less shocking really.. a word that can pigeonhole me or actually push me in a different context, depends how I play it I guess!

I think my perception of the scene changed a lot when I exited for a couple of years and when I started getting back in and hanging out again with people that were positive minded and I was inspired again. I guess in an era when I stopped painting was an era when a lot of people, my mates who I was painting a lot with were sort of exiting; having kids, settling down or the complete opposite, so sort of a shift of a big group of people I was hanging out with at the time.

The guys at ‘Per Square Metre’, especially Dvate.. when that opportunity came up there was this space and I saw something really creative happening I jumped on it. They were proactive in doing all out productions and doing things and that really sparked my love for graff again. These people were just working in a positive means and that sort of brought me back to that hip hop mentality of we’re all doing this shit together, all in it together for whatever, you know?

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Damo: Why Porno??.
Porno: I kept thinking I needed something that’s like a shock value word. I kept seeing the tag “Dildo” everywhere and it used to be written in a classic public CW (Crime Wave) style that was just in your face, really big, public and rude. It was like a fucking big cock on the wall and people would just laugh at it. I thought i need something ‘porn’ and I thought that’s it… Porn… PORNO!

Damo: Your career has been quite long, what’s your biggest accomplishment or your favorite piece and why?

Porno: I think probably one of the best experiences was when I went overseas a few years ago to Roskilde Festival in Denmark and Step in the arena in Holland… not Amsterdam but in Eindhoven just right near the Belgium border. It was just really cool meeting a lot of the painters there. In Belgium there was spot we painted right at the entrance of Antwerp station. I was just feeling bliss being in this location with all these painted trains passing within a metre behind me in broad daylight. All the writers had their own fluoros with their names on the back of it. I was just spun out at how well organized it was. At both events I painted with painters that are renowned around the world, a lot of various types of artists that are all inspiring.. it was quite bizarre almost like being in a dream sequence hanging out and painting with people I have looked up to for many many years.

Damo: Do you have a preference of what you paint, like walls, trains, whatever you can get? I notice a few train sketches around the studio…

Porno: Train.. yeah I guess the train stuff is more reminiscent of in the early 2000s when it was about doing plenty of insides, run-ups, bombings and that sort of stuff on Hitachis. I do still love to do that part of graff, if the opportunity comes up, however I love it all and not obsessed with proving anything… I love to paint walls, I love to do things that are really detailed and spend time but at the same time I love doing quick stuff, sort of premeditated vandalism (Laughing). It’s the sort of a rawness of graffiti I love as well.

That’s why I think opinions in graffiti can be too much as everyone has their own. There is room for everything and nothing lasts so it doesn’t really matter you know? Creation goes hand in hand with destruction depending on your outlook.

Damo: So you just released a print. What’s the story behind the print?

Porno: The PORNtachi train print although a homage to the classic Melbourne Hitachi train carriage and a misspent youth is also in relation to some of the 3 dimensional stuff I’ve been doing which is a bit more signage based. It’s more like fabricated signage, like 3 dimensional signage, because it’s used with graffiti lettering based on a 3D structure. It relates to a lot of the work which I’ve been doing recently. A lot of mechanical sort of graffiti pieces. A lot of my work is very symmetrical and while working on a sketch of a hitachi train I thought ‘I could make this more into a piece than a train’. I’m working on another one for a truck on the moment as well as some other ones. There’s a lot of different material textures going on in the train and Dangerfork who screen printed them for me did a great job…

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Damo: Who inspires you artistically or just in general?

Porno: I think technology is definitely part of that. It’s really hard nowadays I’m unfortunately pretty addicted to Instagram like a lot of people. Especially when I follow so many amazing artists… I constantly discover new people I don’t know even know it’s like what the fuck, so many amazing artists to take in!

At the same time it’s hard; I try not to take distinct things from other people’s styles. A lot of stuff I’m influenced by is still I think a lot of old Melbourne sort of style I think it may be more in the structure of letters, serifs and things like that. The people I grew up looking up to like SADAM, FUTILE, SARTAE, TOTEM, CASLE, GALOR, RELIK, SABETH, INDEKS, CULPRIT and many more, whilst I also guess the classics PUZLE, TAME, NEW2, PRONTO, SICK, BREAK, AKUZE… Melbourne legendary graffiti artists… there are just too many to list really!

The sort of people I grew up with involved in the start of my painting days are definitely an inspiration as they have been there from the get go for me, like old crew of mine and my friends Jumps who is a DJ… he is one of my old crew mates that introduced me to hip hop and graffiti when I was around 13-14.

Obviously I’m influenced by friends and people I mainly paint with nowadays like DVATE, SIGS, LING, PHIBS and many more. It is pretty obvious in graffiti nowadays whether it be a sort of an effect, an arrow or whatever… Everyone is picking up on tricks/styles and using it in their own way and trying to do that and out make something your own is the appeal of it to me.

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Damo: Is there anyone you think we should look out for?

Porno: Yes going back to sort of influences I think there is definitely… like another main influence to me has always been crew members of mine from CDF which is another crew that reinvigorated my painting.. CDF is ‘Cook Drink Fuck’ originally a crew made by chefs and general scallywags. The initiation to join the crew was that you had to take a roast for the rest of the crew which was.. different, pretty down to earth, just fun mates down for good times whether it be painting, eating a good meal or drinking on a bench.

The main guy to watch out for from CDF is SIGS, I met him in a bush waiting at a run up spot around 2000 and he exposed me a lot to his dedication and motivation to paint and he is a huge influence and I think he’s definitely someone to always be looking for. I think he hasn’t been exposed as much as he should be and he’s an animal with style coming out of his ass. Then you know of course DVATE, SABS, LING and AKUZE who are absolute kings of lettering and always changing things up. PHIBS and I have been painting together a bit recently as well and he’s really motivating because he’s such a quick and clean painter. I just like to hang out with people who push me like that, he’s a way better painter than me and he paints so quickly that it pushes me to perform or try to keep up and learn.

Another big influence is one of my old mentors SADAM. He pretty much taught me when I was a young cat how to do my first pieces. He’s kicking it back in the game and fucking killing it. He really motivated me to get off my ass and try to get out there and do shit, makes me think more about the roots of where I came from in graffiti, hip hop and what I aspire to do.

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Damo: What do you want to be remembered for?

Porno: That’s a tough one… I think… probably for just… probably for being consistent but also as someone who is constantly evolving, trying new styles, changing styles and not being locked in on one style. Constantly evolving I guess and humble.

The PORNtachi train print can be purchased here, in one of three colourways. Two editions are numbered to only 10, and another of 30, all hand finished. Be very quick though, as they are selling like proverbial hotcakes.

www.pornograffixxx.bigcartel.com

@pornograffixxx