Mark Bulks better known as "Bulk Styles" has been involved with graffiti for a long time now. However, he didn't begin looking at things from a serious business perspective until 2016. The south Florida street artist now has a packed schedule and is currently creating multiple new murals monthly.
Even with his new found success, Bulk never loses sight of how difficult things once were for him. He makes sure to speak on it within his art using a signature slogan " WHATEVER IT TAKES!!! "
AR: So what's the story behind the slogan??
Bulk Styles: People like to say certain things when you first meet them. Like Hi, I'm so and so and I'm a lawyer, or I'm a Chef. I'm really not big on labels. I think people have so much more to offer than just what they do to earn money. Whenever someone asks me "So what do you do?" No matter what the situation is I tell them "I do Whatever it Takes". That's the mentality that I've had, that's gotten me to a point in my life where I'm able to make a full time living off my art.
Apart from being a muralist, Mark is also a self taught wood working. Growing up, he watched his grandfather create custom wooden model ships from scratch. There was no training involved, but it became a memory later found in his work today.
AR: How did things shift into the custom cut wooden art?
Bulk Styles: I got bored solely using spray paint and a canvas all the time. One day I decided to see what I could make out of wood until I was happy with the finished product. My grandfather spent hours in his garage carving and cutting pieces. As a kid witnessing it was fascinating to me. When you see me create things like a uzi. There are never any measurements. I'll look at a picture and then I'll dive right in and create. I feel like if I wrote down the exact sizes and cuts of everything that would take away from the artistic expression. I like the feeling that each wooden piece is different, even if it looks similar. I don't use a notebook or anything like that. I want to steer clear of any sort of conveyer belt type feel with my art.
AR: How was it when you first started getting paid to do street art?
Bulk Styles: I took every opportunity seriously, even when I didn’t make that much. When you’re starting out you can’t have the mind set where you’re always doing numbers. Lets just say in the beginning a lot of people got really good deals hahah. Much less than I charge now.
When it comes to studio work Bulk describes his style as a recreation of the street art experience. "The canvas and custom cut out work came later on. People would see my work in the street arts and want to own a piece of it. It's about being part of that tag on the wall."
"You have to be versatile in this world. I try to create work based on how I feel day to day. If there's too much pre-planning you can find yourself repeating a process. Instead of re-inventing your style and pushing boundaries."
So what's next for an artist who does "Whatever It Takes" to succeed? Bulk says he's now focusing on being a better person and believes it's easy to become selfish. He's focusing on remaining humble and wants to keep that spirit of the young graffiti writer alive, no matter how much is achieved. Bulk Styles hopes to travel outside of Florida within the next year (we're hoping he comes to Chicago).