Women have long influenced male artists. One of Pablo Picasso's most iconic images, "Portrait of Dora Maar," was inspired by the artist and poet who was his lover for almost a decade.

Similarly, Ned Porter, whose pen, ink and spray-paint piece "Bodysnatcher" is on this week's cover, finds inspiration from powerful females, though maybe not in the same manner as Picasso.

"All the girls' faces in my art are from nightmares," he says.

Even so the 24-year-old, who cut his teeth as a graffiti artist in Pittsburgh, can't get enough of the ladies. In fact, he has an entire section on his website, titled "My Girls," dedicated to his muses.

"I'm addicted to women. I love drawing women, and I love drawing naked women. But [for this piece] I felt like I needed to cover something up," Porter explains. "The hands going toward her, with the eyes, kind of represents a beautiful girl and everyone just trying to get her and bring her down. But she's staying strong. She's above it all."

Though women play a large role in Porter's art, he prefers the life of bachelorhood. Being in a relationship is "dangerous" for him because he becomes less productive.

Living in Encinitas, with its mellow beach vibe, has also helped him stay focused on his art. He moved to North County from Pennsylvania five years ago, after running into trouble with the law.

"I just really needed to get out of Pittsburgh," he says. "It was like a black hole. I kept getting arrested for graffiti. I've been a good boy since I've been here. I first moved here, and I was the crazy, rambunctious city kid in the beach town, so everyone was kind of standoffish towards me. It's really helped me relax and calm down a lot. It's a little too mellow for me, but it helps me get a lot of art done. I go home, get in my garage and get busy painting."

Still, residing in a complex with his best friends can have its distractions.

"I'll be in my garage or my room trying to do art, and someone will knock on my door with two 40s and ask if I want to come drink one with them and play four square in the yard," he says with a laugh.

Porter's working on a space-travel series inspired by the television show Quantum Leap and looking for venues where he can exhibit.

Write to alexz@sdcitybeat.com. You can also bug her on Twitter.


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