Antonio Segura Donat aka Dulk, is a Spanish artist, born in Valencia in 1983. As a child Antonio used to copy illustrations of exotic animals he found in his parents’ collection of old encyclopedias. And he took his sketchbook with him everywhere he went. At the age of nineteen, a close friend persuaded him to tackle the walls of the city and suggested he take the pseudonym of Dulk. He then started a diploma in economics, but dropped out in the first year to study illustration then graphic design at the University of Valencia. Today, Dulk is an all- purpose artist. Between urban art, drawing, painting, sculpture or advertisement. Each medium is a challenge that he takes up with pleasure and determination.
Always looking at things from the same innocent viewpoint of a child, the artist creates a tragi-comic animal themed works in organic colors. His world is a surrealistic landscape full of imaginary details, rising up in factions against humans. Maybe these animals are warning us of Earth’s bleak future following an environmental catastrophe.
His murals can be spotted in Valencia, Brussels, Barcelona, Turin, Berlin, Maastricht, Toulouse, Cordoba, Madrid, Monaco, Paris, New Jersey, Chicago, Vancouver, and Seville, Denver, Las Vegas and Miami…
Presently Dulk is preparing for his next solo show in London at the Moniker Art Fair in October 2017.
I caught up with the artist after his brilliant mural in Wittenberg (Germany), and this is what he had to say.
Hey Dulk how is it going? For people that don’t know you or your work, could you give them a little bit of background?
At the age of nineteen, during my days at the university in Valencia studying the principals of economics, a close friend of mine introduced me to the graffiti world. After a year of drawing and painting both in the streets and in my math books, I decided to leave the world of economics and start studying illustration and then graphic design in the school of art and design of Valencia. I’ve been working since then as an illustrator in advertising, fashion or animation design, going in parallel with my street art works and building the foundation of what I’m today.
Now I’m working as an independent artist, creating and developing my own style in the studio and in the street. Both are different disciplines, the street is more spontaneous and the studio is much more methodical, and much more dedicated, where you are allowed a greater degree of control over the work. The street is exposed to all kinds of conditions much more difficult to control for someone like me, where I like to have everything under control. However I needed the street as an outlet to feel really free, to feed my rebellious side and to express myself. And working on large scale murals was very challenging as it made me learn and grow, and I love that.
Do you recall your ﬁrst memories on your interests in art?
I’ve been drawing and painting for as long as I could remember, but my first serious interest came when I was 19, it’s when I started writing graffiti in my hometown. From that point on, I started researching the history of art especially surrealism, my favorite artistic movement. I had this fascination for the world of imagination and have ever since incorporated these characteristics in my works because I consider it essential to let oneself be carried away by the imagination to walk in this world. Without imagination there are no dreams, and no destiny.
Is Dulk your nickname? If yes, is there a meaning behind that nickname?
Yes it is. I started to paint graffiti with a friend who encouraged me into it and suggested Dulk as a pseudonym. It was a nickname for a guy that my friend painted with that died, and I thought it would be a nice gesture to carry on the torch.
My friend helped me to start in this world that always admired. I never thought that my life will change as much as it did it, and never thought that one day my passion and my hobby would become my full time job.
I tried to keep my drawings separate from my graffiti, but after a few months of intensive painting, I started to paint the same in both disciplines. Then I decided to continue using Dulk for everything.
A lot of street artists started as graffiti writers, then developed their styles and became muralists. How was it for you starting up and what took you to the streets?
My story is also similar, as I told you before I always have drawn, then I started with the graffiti but most of the times I worked on the characters, it was what I liked and It’s also what I’m doing today.
Painting in the street allowed me to take my future more seriously as an “artist”, it was a turning point in my life. Ever since I laid hands on my first spray can, my road changed direction. So I owe it to the street, it made me the persona and the artist I am today. The feeling when I see the work in a different environment, how society responds to it, it fulfilling. I like the street because it allows you to be watched by all kinds of people, the work of study goes to galleries or to pages related to the world of art and does not reach other people.
Some artists claim that street art and graffiti fall under the umbrella of illegal work, while murals are more commissioned, therefor legal and understood as painting. Do you agree with these distinctions or not? And why?
Yes, of course, Graffiti and street art are straight forward, rebellious, and illegal, as for muralism, it is born in a different way and grows differently, and the only thing that unites them is the place where they live, the street.
The murals are, therefore, a form of expression and communication with the purpose of impacting, they relate to themes whose content is clearly and deeply sociocultural where characters, situations or historical events that are often identiﬁed with the traditions of the peoples who are perpetuated. These murals are performed on public and private walls. Graffiti messages are raw, brightly colored and ﬂashy, with a popular language, with symbols full of meanings to be understood by the people to whom the messages are directed at. The mural, which is also a form of expression, has more of a decorative character besides fulﬁlling a didactic function, since it is generally a story of historical situations that can be understood by all social classes.
Your works deal a lot with animals, birds and is quite imaginary. Is it a reﬂection of your interior life?
I have always focused my work on the analysis of the conceptual development of the morphology of the wildlife. Right now I ﬁnd myself in a stage where I am analyzing the situation in which these inhabitants of the planet are found, of whom we feel owners for no reason at all. I am not focused 100 percent on being an environmental advocate, it simply arises from within me, but not as a manifestation, it is simply a subliminal message within my work.
The constant environmental threat is present in my work. The representation of threatened animals and alteration of climate change in their natural habitats is something that fascinates me, and studying that could happen in the future works as an advertisement of something that is on the way. I recognize that my works are not made for a purpose, but if they can work as a critic to a very near future that we can still retouch, then it’s better for everyone.
In your recent mural in Wittenberg (Germany), we see bears, birds and ﬁsh in a very colorful mural. Could you tell us the reasoning behind it? And what message are you trying to convey?
This latest mural is titled “Where we used to scream” (pictured below), a return to the source to continue the legacy and rest in peace. This would be a paradigm of a salmon’s life. Coming back to an idyllic place, surrounded by dangers, waiting for any failure to generate their source of subsistence.
The primordial struggle between life and death that dwells in the origin of nature. This work is inspired in the salmon as a symbol, animal represented in the shield of Wittenberg (Germany), city where this work has been painted.
Is there something you wished you did and now regret you never did it?
I try not to let the opportunities pass me by, to take advantage of every passing moment and work hard. I really do not remember anything I lost but I try to remember every day in everything I have to win, that’s why I focus on hard and constant work to achieve personal goals doing what I like, and the development of my art.
The internet innately separates the creator from the audience. What are your thoughts on social media, and how it helps or hurts artists today?
Social media is good for promotion. In the past people used to write letters and send out the pieces and murals they worked on. This has a very special and romantic character, it’s amazing, but thanks to the internet, everything has changed to improve the facilities for promotion and development in general.
This is good for getting to know and facilitate the projection and the future of the artist. It is clear that there is a lot of shit related to social media but you have to be up to date and adapt to the society that surrounds us. If you want to make yourself known, the internet is a perfect and necessary tool that breaks barriers in the world.
Outside of the creating realm, away from screens, what activities occupy your time? Is it difficult to ﬁnd a balance between “work” and “play”?
Living with this profession is fun, but you have to know how to take it, it’s hard to disconnect and stop imagining or thinking about work, when something you like so much and means so much to you , you don’t really know when you are working or taking a break. It’s a way of life. Anyway I consider fundamentally to isolate oneself and let fresh air enter the mind. I love to travel and discover new places, wildlife photography, which I use as a reference for my creations. I try to go out to the mountain to walk or run along the beach , skate once in a while, sport is necessary to keep the body and soul free, I would like to do much more than what I do, little by little.
What’s something about you that would surprise our readers?
I don’t like the chocolate. Hahaha!
What can we look forward to seeing from you next? What collaborations, shows or projects do you have planned?
I’m just now working on my next show, it will in be a solo exhibition in London’s Moniker art fair this next October. Also I’m getting my plans finalized for walls in Winnipeg (Canada), Luxembourg and Helsinki (Finland). Some other projects are coming but this is what I could conﬁrm for now.
Any words of advice for aspiring new artists?
Keep the hard work and draw a lot!
Thank you Dulk for taking the time to answer our questions.