Deanna Passmore is a self taught artist and screen printer currently living on traditional Hupacasath land, also known as Port Alberni. Heavily inspired by bootleg Grateful Dead merchandise and 90’s cartoons, as well as protest art and posters from across the eras, she chops-and-screws ideas and concepts together to make cohesive-ish pieces of wearable art under the name Porkchop Prophecy.
Although initially captivated by her silly brand name, Passmore’s aesthetic, references, work ethic and attitude truly inspired us to track down the artist and maker to pick her brain about Porkchop Prophecy and life as an artist on the Island…
First of all, I can hardly resist asking about the name Porkchop Prophecy – what’s the story there?
So, I’ll tell you what I tell everyone I meet at markets: there isn’t really a story, I just love alliteration. One day, I was watching The Simpsons and realized that Homer’s favourite food is porkchops. I thought the word “Porkchop” went great with my last name, Passmore, so I made my personal Instagram account @porkchopassmore. Later, when I made my brand I just looked through the dictionary for a word that went well with “Porkchop”, and the rest is history! Also, a friend gave me the idea of creating a zine about fictional Porkchop lore and I think I might try and make that some day…
“Established in 2019 in my boss’s garage.” Please tell me more…What’s your background and how did you end up doing what you’re doing now?
Though, my official Porkchop beginnings did start in my boss Dave McConnell’s garage, technically, I started printing in 2017 with a speedball printing kit that my dad bought me for Christmas – but that doesn’t sound quite as punk rock. Dave was my boss at the Tofino Brewing Company and is basically the coolest, most generous dude ever. He let me take over his garage in exchange for some free Porkchop merch. I started getting serious about producing and selling my clothes after everything shut down during the pandemic, so I guess I should be thankful to the quarantine for that small victory.
What’s your side gig (if you have one)? (Aka how do you pay the bills?)
I try to do as much printing as possible for local businesses and artists, but since that can be a bit unpredictable I’ve been relying on serving beer and coffee for a number of years to support my artistic inclinations.
Describe your studio to me in ten words or less.
Hodgepodge, not photogenic, and impossible without my partner’s help.
Clearly the 70s and 90s have had a big influence on your brand’s aesthetic. Why do these eras in particular speak to you?
I was born in 1994, so the 90s are a wholesomely sugar-filled, cartoony time in my memory, which I think is why I love them so much. I’m an only child, so I spent a lot of time in front of the TV watching cartoons, and I think that really inspires my work now. From The Simpsons, to Rugrats, Stickin’ Around, Britney Spears and The Spice Girls – these are definitely some of the things about the 90s that are worth being nostalgic about for me.
Though I’m glad to be born in the time I was, I do love the 70s for strictly artistic and aesthetic purposes. I’m especially inspired by protest art and music posters from that era.
Last year my partner and I were also lucky enough to buy a home in Port Alberni that was built in 1968, that I don’t think it’s been renovated ever since. Being surrounded by beautiful wood panelled walls, shag rugs and a spiral staircase has given me extra artistic appreciation for the cozy, warm-toned pallet and many-textured vibes of the 70s, and I try my best to bring that warmth into my work.
Music is another influence, I’ve surmised. What tunes get you in the creating/creative mood lately?
That’s a big question for me. My comfort music is 90s pop punk (early Green Day and Blink 182) and 90s/early 2000s indie rock (a la Bright Eyes and Pavement). Lately, though, I’ve been finding myself feeling very empowered by female singers like Dolly Parton and the Australian band Amyl and the Sniffers. I’m also a sucker for any trending TikTok song, so recently I’ve rekindled my love for Kate Bush and I’ve become a die-hard Rosalía fan. I think everyone should do themselves a favour and take a run/walk/energized sit while listening to “Chicken Teriyaki” by Rosalía and follow that up with “Suspended in Gaffa” by Kate Bush.
What weird, unexpected and/or random thing is currently on your brain?
I’ve been thinking a lot about the cartoon Doug and weirdly enough the movie Stuart Little, even though I probably haven’t watched either in at least 10 years. Stay tuned for a future potential Porkchop design with the most unlikely crossover you could possibly have imagined.
Small town, small (one-woman?) business… What’s the best thing about setting up shop in Port Alberni? What small town thing drives you up the wall?
I am just a one-woman situation! (With a LOT of help from my partner, Zach.) I only moved from Tofino to Port Alberni under a year ago, so there’s still SO much for me to learn. One thing that I do love is the huge potential for artistic growth and possibility that I’ve found here. There are so many young people that seem to be itching for something to do and somewhere to do it, and I hope to be a part of that burgeoning scene. I lived in Tofino for close to eight years, and most of my 20s, so I would say the most difficult part of that was knowing everyone’s personal business (and them in turn knowing mine) and the tragically small dating pool.
“You may want everything to be perfect and beautiful, but sometimes the best parts of creating are the mistakes and imperfections, and people who really understand you and your art will get that.”
There’s obviously a lot of love involved in Porkchop Prophecy – for the environment, the artistic community, and the art process. But I imagine there’s a ton of hard work that goes into it too. What inspires you to continue to get your hands dirty, be creative, put yourself out there and hustle?
I have such an insanely cool and talented group of friends who are constantly creating, challenging and impressing me, and I feel like that is a huge inspiration for me and my work. If you’re so inclined, check out @boardsbymick – one of my best buddies who is creating the most beautiful and unique surfboards out of his small homemade shaping bay. I also listen to a lot of Beyoncé and I feel like that speaks for itself!
Any words of wisdom/advice that you can offer for fellow artists looking to set a project in motion or take it to the next level?
It’s so cheesy, but if you want to do something, just start doing it. I began Porkchop Prophecy with little-to-no disposable income and my passion for creating and sharing my art. The hardest part for me was not being too precious about every little design and every single Instagram post. You may want everything to be perfect and beautiful, but sometimes the best parts of creating are the mistakes and imperfections, and people who really understand you and your art will get that.
Collaboration also seems to be an important part of Porkchop Prophecy – in particular you seem to still have strong ties with the Tofino community. Who are you excited to collaborate with next?
I lived in Tofino for a number of years and that really helped me to get my name out there to the local businesses. I will forever be so grateful to all of the friends who have supported, and continue to support, me around that town.
I have a few little plans in the works that I’m really stoked on, but the most recent one is probably my collaboration with Daylight Cannabis, the coolest little pot shop located in Tofino. I’m super excited about the prints and designs I’ve cooked up with them!
Keep up to date on Porkchop Prophecy’s market schedule, releases, collabs and other cool developments by following @porkchopprophecy on Instagram.