Walk on the Wild Side

Artists & Illustrators|May 2020

Walk on the Wild Side
Valencia’s self-proclaimed “pop surrealist” painter ANTONIO SEGURA DONAT is putting a fantastical spin on wildlife art as MARTHA ALEXANDER discovers
MARTHA ALEXANDER

A leopard with a unicorn horn thunders through a cloudscape of burnt oranges and moonlit blues, pursued by an emancipated big top, its guy ropes dangling and far from terra firma. Birds circle the leopard, who has a bullseye target on one side of its face, and a bell around its neck.

It’s an arresting scene, so far from conventionality, but this extraordinary cast of characters, objects and motifs are par for the course for Antonio Segura Donat, the painter behind this dreamlike scene. All of his paintings are dramatic to behold, radiating a jewel-like kaleidoscopic quality and a menagerie of exotic creatures, from elephants and parrots, to big cats and rhinos.

Antonio Segura Donat’s work can be found under his pseudonym, DULK. This is, of course, not his real name, but he started his career as a graffiti artist and DULK was his tag.

“It doesn’t mean anything,” the Valencia-born and based artist explains in perfect English, cloaked in a melodic Spanish accent. “I just like how the lettering looks.”

He has shown work all over the world with solo shows as far afield as Rome, Los Angeles and London. In that modern measure of success, he has more than 236,000 likes on Facebook and his Instagram page boasts some 86,000 followers, many of whom heap praise on his paintings in the comments beneath. And yet Antonio maintains a quiet modesty about what he does. You get the impression that he doesn’t take his success to date for granted.

“Painting is difficult because you work not knowing if it will sell or not,” he confides. His portfolio also encompasses commercial illustration, sculpture and murals. The latter are huge, bright beacons of colour decorating the sides of buildings and other public spaces in everywhere from Shanghai to Honolulu.

While some of Antonio’s inspiration comes from his dreams, much of it comes from photography – both other people’s and his own. He loves taking his own pictures and travels two or three times a year, camera in tow. “My ideas are from both dreams and reality,” Dulk explains, “Years ago my style was more cartoonish but now it seems more realistic, I think.”

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May 2020