Artist Perry Porter Talks Art, Hip-Hop

by Gui Jean-Paul Chevalier

A man a many sorts. Performing Artist, Painter educator among others.

After getting a personal tour of his new Pioneer Square Art studio, I sat down with artist Perry Porter at a bar on First Avenue to discuss his art, vision, process and future plans.

The 29-year-old creative hails from Tacoma and is formerly of the trap duo. Sleep Steady he invites art lovers in for a complete and thoroughly defined experience of the arts, both visual and auditory.

Perry got his artistic start working with percussion instruments and producing music. That later would turn into rapping and writing. As his aesthetic began to build around Perry Porter the Rapper, he sought to accompany the hip-hop persona — and moreover the history and culture —through a visual means.

In 2012, Perry would begin his work as a visual artist, painting originally with water colors and eventually expanding into acrylic styles.

During the tour of his studio, he showed me his “revolving” mural wall where he sharpens his already immaculate brush skills. He reinvents his art after renewing murals one after another. He displays his process on Instagram through time-photography, for the “sake of the craft,” he said.

Perry said the expression of painting is a “Reflection of Hip Hop through the contemporary lens,” a sort of re-conceptualization of hip-hop.

Perry Porter talks candidly about being a participant in these two spheres — rap and visual art — and his process to merging the two. He considers himself a creative , rather than either a painter or of the rapper.

Part of this merging stems from experiencing two different responses depending on what skill Perry Porter mentions first, and to whom. If he is in a contemporary art gallery, the conversation is about visual art and his identity as a contemporary painter seems to more easily feed to their intrigue. But if he, the same man, speaks first making and preserving hip-hop, he has seen a more reserved. They are taken back and silent, communicating distance, as if he does not belong with them, mingling in the raised-pinky gallery.

But the reality speaks the opposites. Perry Porter who just wrapped up a month-long exhibit with an impressive visual showcase at Moksha Clothing Boutique in the city’s International District. Each painting he mentioned is a process of about 6 to 7 hours of time.

As a fellow black man we both shared our related experiences for the oppression we’ve faced and walk through everyday.

“I’m used to being dark, but it’s also like experiencing it all over again,” he said of being known as a rapper in some of these largely non-minority contemporary art spaces.

In more Hip Hop centered environments, Perry talks of more of a surprised-intrigue from fellow community members to find out that he is a contemporary painter as well as a performing artist. He experiences more of process to understand the heart and mind that creates in this way, the premise stands more on positive curiosity and respect rather than an arbitrary categorizing. He sees this as an opportunity and to help inspire the next generation of artist of what it means to be an artist and what all one can do, and to dispel the invisible lines of title and who can attain such, of what.

As Porter moves forward with merging his concert hall to gallery-ready skills as a multifaceted creative, he plans to host painting classes at his Pioneer Square Studio, detailing some of the skills behind his mesmerizing work, and keep an eye out for his soon-to-come monthly subscription bundles exclusively available at Perrypaints.com. For music, Perry Porter is working on the follow up LP to 2018’s “Chanel Surfing” with a plan to release it in the summer.


Featured Image: Perry Porter (Courtesy Photo)

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