Conversations with Creatives: Will Porter

LAST FALL, I HAD THE CHANCE TO CATCH UP WITH WILL "CANVASKILLER" PORTER. WE REVISITED A FEW TOPICS WE BRIEFLY COVERED DURING OUR FIRST ENCOUNTER, AND HE SHARES MORE ABOUT HIS CRAFT.


 

How did you discover your passion for art?

Art and any other type of expression (writing, drawing, poetry, etc.) came really easy for me so I’ve enjoyed it ever since I was a kid. I became fascinated with blending colors in about the 9th grade; that’s when I picked up on painting.

You once shared a really powerful video on Instagram proclaiming that you had just found out who you are and what your purpose is. What led to that moment of enlightenment? 

For a while I’d been told how special my talent is and how impactful I am. However, since art comes so naturally for me, I never considered the idea that it doesn’t necessarily work that way for everyone else. I always assumed that if I could do something artistically, others could too—which just isn’t true. That day, it just so happened that I came to the sudden realization of how truly different I am, and I soon came to discover and acknowledge my individuality within my craft.

I often ask this question to every person that I meet: What would you say is your ultimate goal as an artist and human being?

To leave my essence behind through art so that my passing won’t leave people feeling as though my ideas have passed with me. I remember reading somewhere, and I’m paraphrasing, that “if those being led can’t maintain progression without their leader, then they have a terrible leader.” Meaning that a leader should build up more leaders, not dependants. So my art is symbolic of my leadership. The totality of my art and my physical presence are interchangeable, so once I’m gone physically, those that I lead will still have the essence of my leadership to learn from/aspire to. 

What are you constantly attempting to convey through your craft? 

I’m constantly working through fears and sharpening my psyche when I create. I’m a visual learner, so I’m always attempting to convey my absolute truth so that I can see it tangibly, analyze it, internalize it and own it.

How does your experience in New York City differ from that in Flint, MI.?

New York will either kill your spirit or make you want to kill someone else lol. I kill canvas to keep me from prison. I’ve definitely experienced a cutthroat culture elsewhere, it’s just more prominent in NYC. So you have to be TOTALLY invested in your goals and don’t compromise, because there will be a lot of people and experiences attempting to chip away at your grind.

In the next five years, what does progress look like to you? 

Progress to me in the next 5 years is mastering myself completely & restoring balance within myself. Mainly through something as simple as using my recessive side more (i.e. writing, doing more things with my left hand, & increasing activity in my left brain.)

What was the defining moment that made you realize that  art was your calling?

I tried to join the Navy in 2012 but was turned away because of a health condition. I was discouraged because that was my last attempt at creating a career/future for myself and it blew up in my face. That’s when I decided I was going to pursue my art and nothing else.

Are there any other channels through which you express yourself?

I express myself through poetry and music in conjunction with art. I’ve always loved writing since I was a kid simply because I love how words sound. Frequent participation in open mics put more confidence to my words because I got to express them sonically and not just on paper. The confidence I gained from performing, in addition to a couple hints from family that I had a voice for making music, led me to begin recording.


 

Will Porter

Interviewed and photographed in Greenwich Village, New York City (September 2016)

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