Mark Mulfinger, originally from Syracuse, New York, is an artist who has more of a religious upbringing into art than others. Mulfinger was moved to Greenville, South Carolina at the age of 4, and three years later received his first art lesson. The lesson was taught by a lady from his family’s church; Mulfinger was made to memorize the 100th Psalm before they could begin the lessons and the excerpt has stuck with him and his art themes ever since. His mother and father were very hard working, cultured Christians. His mother played the violin, his father, a cellist and scientist. Mulfinger was expected to get high grades and study an instrument. His art is primarily inspired by classical symphonies and long lasting themes. He describes the theme of his work as “truth that endures”, which stems from the Psalm he was made to memorize many years ago.
A good portion of Mulfinger's work is inspired by Christianity and themes of good versus evil. He stated that, "[in his opinion], the best art is influenced by Christianity.” Mulfinger describes his art style not as something that he found or adopted over the years, but something deep within him that he cannot break away from. In his art, there are ongoing themes of the continuous cycle from light to dark, which is noticeable in his color schemes and subject matter. The portraits that he creates are very expressive. Mulfinger mentions that he isn’t a fan of the airbrushed look that hides imperfections. He instead prefers to capture peoples’ imperfections and the little unique aspects of them that “show the real beauty and authenticity” of each person. He also prefers not to make political art, but art that will be meaningful many years from the time it is created.
Mulfinger started college as a history major which now has a major influence on his art, particularly Russian Orthodox history. His art is also inspired by medieval art, which he describes as something that has “much more spiritual power than renaissance art”, meaning it is much deeper and more mysterious. He was introduced to the art style of batik at Bob Jones University. These batik sketches take him about 1 week to finish, while the actual batik itself takes up to two weeks. Mulfinger describes creating art as something that isn’t exactly “fun”, but extremely satisfying. Finishing the piece is the fun part, “finishing a piece is what makes a good artist”. Mulfinger describes creating art as “a continuous struggle, but a good one.”
In his spare time, Mark teaches art, runs, plays tennis and basketball, and collects books. He says what drew him to teaching was the desire to be instructive and inspirational for kids who are hungry to learn about art. When lacking motivation, Mulfinger likes to recite the Lord’s Prayer to help ground himself. He mentions that music is essential to his work. He also finds tremendous importance in drawing nature as it is a great source of inspiration and allows him to “interface with incredible order and complexity”. Mulfinger does not find it hard to part with his work, rather that it is a sort of “graduation” or “permission to move on”. It is his inspiration to create the next piece that will be even better.