Meet your artist
Steve Porter lives in rural Wiltshire with his wife and children. He might look like a gargoyle that's been chiseled off a church, but he does his best.
Here is a picture...
Before all this, before the clocks went to work on him, he went to Southampton for a few years and was given a certificate.
Here he is putting up his degree show in 1995.
The masterpiece is over to the left, just out of shot...
Before all that, he was a boy who played with paints and things.
Here he is in 1973-ish.
Nothing appears to have changed, except that he usually holds a brush with one hand these days.
Your Artist's Statement
Begins with a question...
Okay, thank you. That will do.
For about 20 years Steve has been making large-scale murals and interior sculptures for community spaces around the UK, operating outside what might be descibed as "The Art World".
He has participated in a few exhibitions, undertaken some commissions and illustrated a couple of books. He as made public artworks and installations, with and without permission. For a while, he even curated a successful (though highly unusual) contemporary art gallery.
His current painting "style" employs a stark monochrome aesthetic as a vehicle for exploring abstract ideas.
The SIGNED99 artwork continues to explore this direction...
The SIGNED99 Backstory
In the July of 1991, Steve went on a summer road-trip to Brighton, on the UK's south coast with his cousin, travelling in style by brown Ford Fiesta with a seemingly nuclear-powered tape deck.
They were probably planning to get up to no good of some kind.
Hopefully, they succeeded.
On the ancient pier that climbs out from Brighton beach there was an arcade and in the arcade there was a machine... A machine which promised to read your character from your signature...
Here is (a scan) of what the machine assessed.
Steve's signature. Not too different from now in shape and line...
And here is what the machine said, having gurgled and hissed and beeped...
The idea of using signatures as portraits stuck around until 2018, when Steve decided to paint his own name.
It felt very powerful to have his signature shown on this scale.
After hanging the painting around his house for a couple of years, Steve began to think about other people finding it a powerful feeling to have their signatures made on this scale, as a way of commissioning a portrait.
Instead of creating unconnected, singular items, Steve has designed SIGNED99 as an artwork in itself.
Welcome to the SIGNED99 artwork.