I hope I’m not alone when I say that I only came across John Pork—or JP, as his creator lovingly calls him—recently. While the pig-inspired 3D character has existed on the internet for some time now, it wasn’t until a few weeks ago that I first laid eyes on him. And now that I know who he is, I think it’s fair to say that my life has been forever changed.
This is, of course, primarily because it’s not every day that you spend an inordinate amount of time reading Instagram captions that’ve been written by a fictional farmyard animal avatar who has a snout and wears Hawaiian shirts.
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Anyways, if you’re not familiar with the legendary John Pork, you’re in massive luck, because I, having now become quite literally obsessed with all things JP-related, reached out to the artist and found out everything there is to know about this particularly unique meme.
So, John Pork, in his most basic form, is a computer-generated AI half-pig half-human hybrid. According to John’s creator—who, by the way, insisted on keeping his true identity a secret and so will be referred to as ‘the creator’ to maximise mystery—he started working on the design back in 2017.
“I loved the idea of bringing a 3D character to life using social media, a place where he could evolve and adapt over time, keeping up with the world’s changes. I shared JP’s first photo in 2018, and since then, the journey has been full of exciting surprises.”
I think part of JP’s charm and popularity online, is the sheer bizarre nature of the whole thing—if you came across an animated pig man posing for selfies on his Instagram and DJing entire disco sets, you’d a million per cent be curious. I mean, I know it’s not a Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce meme, but JP is inherently interesting.
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The creator shared: “The bond between John and the audience is amazing. Building a connection with fans was a gradual process, marked by diverse reactions in the first years. These responses were eye-opening, guiding the development of John’s character and revealing the numerous directions he could explore. It’s a journey of exploration, with the audience playing a pivotal role in shaping John’s online persona, making the experience of mutual influence.”
Let’s not forget about JP’s partner in crime, Lola Pork—or LP for short. I was of course thrilled to see that JP had a sister to share the spotlight with. And it doesn’t seem as though she’ll be going anywhere anytime soon. The creator told me: “[Lola] came into existence spontaneously, and I felt an instant desire to share her with the fans. Her debut exceeded all expectations, so much so that I’m now planning a bright future for her as well.”
Ok, before you say anything, I had the journalistic duty to ask the animated half-pig half-man if he was seeing anyone. And, thankfully, he is not yet off the market. According to JP’s creator, “John Pork is still single and loving every moment of it.”
One of the biggest meme trends associated with JP was an internet craze that involved people getting so-called calls from Pork himself. As JP’s creator recalled, “the original ‘JP is Calling’ meme trend was both fantastic and amusing. It started with several TikTok profiles claiming they received a call from John Pork. Answering this call often led to mysterious outcomes, sparking fans’ creativity in various ways.”
In many ways, the ‘John Pork is calling’ meme is representative of some of the best the internet had to offer, a simple starting baseline that then prompted some seriously inventive online moments.
“It was truly remarkable to witness how a single piece of content could inspire such a diverse range of creations. The TikTok hashtag #johnpork even reached an incredible 900 million views. Soon after, many people started asking about the identity of John Pork, discovering the intriguing backstory and the incredible community that had formed around him,” the creator shared.
Someone loved the meme so much that he literally created a Pork-specific ring tone track for JP. I wish someone loved me that much.
Back in March 2023, a rumour began circulating that John Pork had been fatally shot and killed—rough way to go out. However, as revealed by the meme’s creator, it was all just a massive ruse: “That was another funny trend linked to the ‘John Pork is calling’ meme, as many people thought John was calling for help. I love how the project can take on different shapes in the hands of fans, no matter how absurd or crazy they may seem. Of course, I am still alive and thrilled to see what the future holds.”
Personally, I’m relieved to know that JP lives on. Although of course I’m sure that we’ll witness at least one or two more potential death hoaxes.
Considering JP promotes himself as a man of the music, I couldn’t resist asking the creator about some of his favourite music. I was informed that the playlist would be called “Pop Pork Party?” with the creator going on to note: “I love various kinds of music, and lately, I’ve found a lot of freedom in experimenting with EDM music as I feel it can reach many directions. One of my favourite all-time tracks is ‘Follow’ by Martin Garrix and Zedd.”
Last but not least, I had the opportunity to find out from the creator what exactly is in store for JP and his future endeavours: “I am working on exciting new plans that will propel the project in new directions. Recently, I completed my DJ setup rig, which is an exciting mix of motion capture, real-time graphics, and music. I’ll soon be starting live streams and hosting some cool DJ sessions.”
The internet’s got a lot to offer. And while you might be tempted to nestle in and stick solely to the world of girl maths and girl dinner, there’s a world out there—one that literally allows you to get endorphins from an animated pig man. I’m obsessed.