At an underground parking garage in an undisclosed location somewhere in northern Palm Beach County, Bulk Styles (“Bulks”) discovered his life’s passion. It was 2004, and the 16-year-old Jupiter resident—then known by his given name, Mark Rupprecht—was doing what most teenagers do. “I had long hair, I was skateboarding… I wasn’t doing anything,” recalls Bulks, now 33, who had moved to Jupiter from New Jersey with his family four years earlier. He also had a passion for art. “My mom had an art gallery in New Jersey before it was hip,” he says, noting that as a young boy he would sit in the back of his mom’s art classes drawing and painting.
One day, he discovered a website featuring graffiti artists. “I didn’t even know graffiti artists existed, and there was no graffiti scene in Jupiter,” he says. Drawn to the art and the overall vibe of the scene he was reading about, Bulks went on a quest to connect with graffiti artists. He came upon the aforementioned parking garage, a well-known
location in the area (among those in the know) where artists from around the world gather and paint. There, he met artists who were legends in the world of graffiti and learned how to paint on a canvas of concrete walls and abandoned buildings.
Unlike traditional fine artists, graffiti artists don’t sign their art with their real names. Instead, they choose a tag that distinguishes their work among fellow street artists. Bulks experimented with many tags, but nothing stuck. Then a friend introduced him to her boyfriend, whom Bulks recognized as a legend in the graffiti world. “He said, ‘I’m going to give you a name,’” recalls Bulks. “He looked at my work and said, ‘This is a bulk amount of work you’re doing.’ Then he named me Bulk.” He didn’t really like the name at first, but he started using it anyway. Other artists nodded their approval, referring to him as “Bulks,” and it stuck.
Over the next decade, Bulks gained notoriety on the scene and began hanging out with an amazing mix of creatives. “I met these top-notch guys from Sweden who were meticulous painters with phenomenal work,” he says. “I asked them, ‘What do I need to do to paint like you?’ and they said, ‘You already have everything you need. You just need to take yourself seriously.’”
The conversation would prove to be a pivotal moment in Bulks’ life. Shortly after, when he was around 28, he decided to leave his retail job at a local art store and dedicate himself to being a full-time artist. “I quit my job and was working in my studio when this lady drives by,” recalls the artist. The woman stopped and asked him how much he would sell
the still-in-progress painting for. Says Bulks: “I’m thinking, I’m making $249 a week in retail and wouldn’t it be funny if she gave me $249 for the painting. So, I tell her $249.” He wasn’t expecting a yes. But she agreed—and commissioned him for a second painting too, paying him $800 for both.
It was in that moment that Bulks realized he could make a living doing what he loved. “Sometimes it’s good to come to terms with yourself and realize you can do more,” he says.
He parlayed his experience as a graffiti artist into a booming career as a mural artist, creating large-scale paintings for all sorts of local businesses including restaurants, gyms, golf courses, retail stores, hotels, and breweries. He has left his mark at the offices of entertainment news corporation TMZ in Hollywood and live-painted a mural at the Hard Rock Stadium amid a packed house of celebrities during the Formula 1 Miami Grand Prix last May.
One of his first murals was for Leftovers Café in 2017. “To have my work at a successful restaurant, being seen by so many locals, it was affirming,” says Bulks, who has since painted murals at a slew of other well-known local spots like The Parched Pig, Bagel Boyz, Admiral’s Cove, Civil Society Brewing Co., Ocean Republic Brewing in Stuart, and all three Lynora’s locations. In April 2021, when he finished an ocean mural featuring a giant sea turtle for MADabolic fitness center on Indiantown Road, the first person he unveiled it to was his 93-year-old grandmother. “I love to show her my murals,” he says. “She always tells me, ‘I’m glad God keeps me alive to see this.’”
Grandma will soon have a lot more to be proud of as Bulks is working on multiple projects at the moment in Jupiter, Fort Lauderdale, Oakland Park, and Las Vegas. “No one in school ever told me I could do this,” he says. “And now I wake up every single day and love what I do.”