Saturday, January 19, 2008

The Infamous Porkroll Baby

It is peculiar that I have not mentioned this previously, as it is one of my most fun ideas। It is something devised by my sometimes “off the wall” mind and something which surprisingly has had much success। It is the creation of the cute & loveable Porkroll Baby!

For those of you outside the Jersey area who don’t know what pork roll is: It is a type of sausage-like pork product made from coarsely ground pork shoulder, developed by John Taylor of Trenton, New Jersey late in the 19th century। It is called pork roll due to the "roll" or tube-like sack in which it is traditionally packaged। It is also called Taylor Ham. (Paraphrased definition from Wikipedia).

It is very delicious as many will tell you। So delicious that I thought that a character just had to be made from it। Although actual pork roll is pink, Porkroll Baby is colored dark red and wears a diaper. He is depicted in many ways: You may see him as a little angel, or a little devil, wearing an egg on his head as a hat, or even dressed up as Marilyn Monroe, visiting the circus or being tossed around with lottery balls.

I was very free with the character and there are limitless possibilities of which I am still discovering। I have had soft sculptures and hard sculptures made, coloring books, painted cutting boards and many small paintings. In 2005 I had a showing in Philadelphia called the Completely Porkroll Show at Zonk Arts Gallery. It was the most successful show I ever had in terms of pieces sold. It was a night of fun and laughter with pork roll appetizers and cheese. My friends even made me a pork roll princess to go with the baby! (It might be a bit crazy, but we have fun with it). There was some of my other art there too as you can see in the pic with me in it, but it was primarily the delectible breakfast meat.

I’ve since written Porkroll Baby’s back-story, created a supporting cast of characters and have the beginnings of another comic। I’m seeing how far I can take him।

I have posted pictures of Porkroll Baby in different versions: paintings, sculptures, drawings and photos of the pork roll vernisage. More coming soon. Hope you enjoy.

1 comment:

Kelly Lynn said...

Hey Thom, Did you know that pork roll/Taylor Ham is not available in many states? My cousins husband is from Mississippi and she and her family live in Maryland. Her husband and several of her girlfriends request that she bring them pork roll back whenever she visits Trenton. WOW!!! There is so much to be proud of and appreciate in this city.