Portdaddia’s early work is often compared with that of his teacher, proto-symbolist blogger Señor Crusty Pants. A fervent admirer of the old masters, Mr. Pants influenced his student’s subject matter (mythological and religious themes), compositional elements, and treatment of color. After refusing repeated invitations from Melvin in Beaverton, who considered Mr. Pants one of “the three greatest masters of the internet,” Mr. Pants instead urged Portdaddia to forget about fine arts.