Mark ‘CLAP/Meataxe’ Taylor is raising the bar in parallel worlds, applying his art to bodies in ink and unassuming walls in paint while refining his own self-portrait as a champion bodybuilder.
Exchanging dumbbells for spray cans, the Frankston Big Picture Festival artist is returning this year to join a perfect storm of street talent. Instantly drawn to the hip-hop culture as a child, the teen’s graffiti tag CLAP soon developed into figurative, vibrant pieces along the Hurstbridge line and houses in the ‘90s. “I painted at night alone in utter silence, creating art for hours on end,” Mark says.
With support from his creative parents, Mark enrolled at Swinburne High School in its VCE arts programs, which he says led to “a huge direction shift”. After being rejected from animation courses, Mark refined his art at TAFE as he went to war with his OCD, before gaining admission to RMIT University to study for a Bachelor degree in Fine Art. Winning the London Street Design Magazine competition led to a project in Malta, but it is his work in Australia’s most prominent gyms that has led to praise.
Releasing his anxiety with tattooing and in the gym, Mark soon discovered his Meataxe alter ego before going on to place in the top six at the Mr World bodybuilding competition in addition to gaining three national titles. “Anxiety is real and my commitment to training has taught me a lot,” he says.
Frankston Mayor Sandra Mayer says: “Victorian Government funding for the Big Picture Fest concluded last year. Through our signature event program, council has committed to providing the same high-calibre event until 2022 and looks forward to welcoming new artists from all over the world this year.”
Fast becoming a cultural hot spot, Frankston will soon be home to many impressive new creations for the Big Picture Festival from March 19-21.