Oliver Pohorille

Cape Town, South Africa

Tech Innovators

The digital artist exploring his identity as a Jewish trans man.
Oliver Pohorille

While the virtual world can often seem like a strange and nebulous environment to navigate, for digital artist Oliver Pohorille, AKA Scum Boy, it has become a safe-space to practise self-expression and explore his identity as a Jewish trans man. Pohorille, who grew up in South Africa, was inspired to teach himself 3D rendering techniques after discovering digital art on Instagram. His first pieces, understandably, weren’t pristine or overly polished, and these imperfections would later come to characterise Pohorille’s bold aesthetic.

With titles like Pop 4 BENZOS and call an ambulance and Eat the toast or I’ll tell your mum about the Concerta, you’d be right in thinking that Pohorille’s personal work doesn’t take itself too seriously. It’s funny, brazen and sometimes unsettling – think tattooed baby dancing to a Papa Roach song or woman with Simpson’s characters coming out of her nose. This sense of play, however, gives Pohorille full agency to disconnect from the physical self and thrive in a new space outside of reality. It’s a process which has helped with feelings of displacement and gender dysphoria.

Pohorille’s collaborations have included an enchanting advert for Paco Rabanne, as well as CGI commissions for Crocs and Adidas. The artist was also the subject of the documentary Scum Boy by Allison Swank, which premiered on the online platform 4:3 Boiler Room in January 2021.

Text Morna Fraser