BERT: An Exclusive Interview with The Mysterious Surf Street Artist

Why/How did you get into art? Street art in particular?

Putting art in the street came naturally, as everything I have done since a grom started in the streets. I grew up skateboarding and in a poor family. Skating everyday was free. Surfing was the same. This upbringing taught me how the streets work. Not anything gangster, just an understanding how to get away with shit when I need to. Like skating and surfing, art has always been a constant in my life. One day my art and the streets collided and BERT was born.


What Medium/Process do you like to work in? Favorite Tools You Use?

I work with stencils. I am stoked on hand painting. I render my characters with brush or spraycan, then finish them up with a crisp one color black stencil. The BERT project began in 2013 and my first pieces were stencil directly in the streets, but that became way to sketchy. I decided to prep the pieces on paper beforehand. Now they are pasted to the streets. This allows me to get up in more critical places. It's like getting towed in. It's kind of cheating unless you are going big and critical. These are the walls on main roads with high visibility. The is no other way but to "tow in".

How does it feel to invest time on a piece of artwork to know it's only going to be visible to the public short-term?

The wall is as important as the artwork. My best pieces look good and last. It's all about location and longevity. If it is seen my the most amount of people and last the longest, it's a nug. You really can't get too bummed if they get buffed quickly because it's just part of the game. Like surfing, you go out of your way, spend a bunch of money and travel around the world for the perfect wave. If you find it, you ride, then it crashes upon the shore and it's over. All my pieces ride—some just longer, cleaner and more hollow than others.

 Who's your Artist Crush aka Inspiration?

A crush, I don't think there are any street art chicks out there that I perv on. Until Anastasia Ashley picks up a can, I am crush-less. In terms of artist inspiration, obviously Banksy is a big inspiration. I am also stoked on how Shepard Fairey continues to get up after multiple arrests. There is a dude by the name of Oak Oak  that is super sick. Pejac is an up and coming stencil artist I am watching. Levalet interacts with the surroundings and is rad. Hanksy's puns from NY are genius. Drew Toonz is the shit and Steve Sherman's photo journalism is all time legendary.

What Slyde handboard in our collection do you vibe with most, style wise?

I have never used one, but they look pretty sick. I'd like to bounce off the sand with one. I dig the blank one. That gives an artist the opportunity to get creative and paint their own.

What's your favorite project or piece of art you've done?

The Barca one titled 'Barca Knocks Out Monsanto' is definitely one of my favorites. I installed it on Kaui and Barca hit me up and I ended up painting another one on his house. 'Ace's Pile of Severed Heads' is another favorite. It was also one of the toughest to get away with. I stalked that wall for weeks. A rotating camera hit the wall every 20 seconds so I had to get creative. 'Brother, Can You Spare a Dime’ is another favorite too. I hit the mark every time so I am stoked on them all.

Where is the Ultimate place/location you'd like to "tag'?

I have a number of walls I have been eyeing for a while now. Once it is time to create a piece, I visit each wall scoping it and its surroundings. The relationship between the wall, the piece and the surrounding community is the art. They all have to work in harmony. If not, then I move on to the next option. There is a wall in Mexico I have been eyeing for a long time. I am just waiting for the right piece.

What are your thoughts on the street art scene and where do you see it going?

Unfortunately the street art scene has gone to legal large scale murals.  I am stoked on the smaller pieces that blend in with the surrounds more than dominating.  There should be a reciprocal relationship. Most murals these days are just painted on a wall. I paint in a Community.  I don't consider muralist, street artists anyways. They are just another category under the urban art umbrella.  I see street art remaining more underground with some heavy hitting stand outs while murals evolve to a point where these large scale pieces interact more with their surroundings like what ROA, Seth GlobePainter, Hula and some others are doing. Installation murals like Bordalo II will get more popular too.

After each 2015 World Surf League Contest BERT unveils a killer installation. Hurley Pro at Trestles is wrapping up in just a few days we're stoked to see what new piece hits the streets. 

BERT: An Exclusive Interview with The Mysterious Surf Street Artist

 

BERT: An Exclusive Interview with The Mysterious Surf Street Artist

burt street artist san diego cardiff

BERT: An Exclusive Interview with The Mysterious Surf Street Artist

September 17, 2015

BERT: An Exclusive Interview with The Mysterious Surf Street Artist

BERT: An Exclusive Interview with The Mysterious Surf Street Artist

Why/How did you get into art? Street art in particular?

Putting art in the street came naturally, as everything I have done since a grom started in the streets. I grew up skateboarding and in a poor family. Skating everyday was free. Surfing was the same. This upbringing taught me how the streets work. Not anything gangster, just an understanding how to get away with shit when I need to. Like skating and surfing, art has always been a constant in my life. One day my art and the streets collided and BERT was born.


What Medium/Process do you like to work in? Favorite Tools You Use?

I work with stencils. I am stoked on hand painting. I render my characters with brush or spraycan, then finish them up with a crisp one color black stencil. The BERT project began in 2013 and my first pieces were stencil directly in the streets, but that became way to sketchy. I decided to prep the pieces on paper beforehand. Now they are pasted to the streets. This allows me to get up in more critical places. It's like getting towed in. It's kind of cheating unless you are going big and critical. These are the walls on main roads with high visibility. The is no other way but to "tow in".

How does it feel to invest time on a piece of artwork to know it's only going to be visible to the public short-term?

The wall is as important as the artwork. My best pieces look good and last. It's all about location and longevity. If it is seen my the most amount of people and last the longest, it's a nug. You really can't get too bummed if they get buffed quickly because it's just part of the game. Like surfing, you go out of your way, spend a bunch of money and travel around the world for the perfect wave. If you find it, you ride, then it crashes upon the shore and it's over. All my pieces ride—some just longer, cleaner and more hollow than others.

 Who's your Artist Crush aka Inspiration?

A crush, I don't think there are any street art chicks out there that I perv on. Until Anastasia Ashley picks up a can, I am crush-less. In terms of artist inspiration, obviously Banksy is a big inspiration. I am also stoked on how Shepard Fairey continues to get up after multiple arrests. There is a dude by the name of Oak Oak  that is super sick. Pejac is an up and coming stencil artist I am watching. Levalet interacts with the surroundings and is rad. Hanksy's puns from NY are genius. Drew Toonz is the shit and Steve Sherman's photo journalism is all time legendary.

What Slyde handboard in our collection do you vibe with most, style wise?

I have never used one, but they look pretty sick. I'd like to bounce off the sand with one. I dig the blank one. That gives an artist the opportunity to get creative and paint their own.

What's your favorite project or piece of art you've done?

The Barca one titled 'Barca Knocks Out Monsanto' is definitely one of my favorites. I installed it on Kaui and Barca hit me up and I ended up painting another one on his house. 'Ace's Pile of Severed Heads' is another favorite. It was also one of the toughest to get away with. I stalked that wall for weeks. A rotating camera hit the wall every 20 seconds so I had to get creative. 'Brother, Can You Spare a Dime’ is another favorite too. I hit the mark every time so I am stoked on them all.

Where is the Ultimate place/location you'd like to "tag'?

I have a number of walls I have been eyeing for a while now. Once it is time to create a piece, I visit each wall scoping it and its surroundings. The relationship between the wall, the piece and the surrounding community is the art. They all have to work in harmony. If not, then I move on to the next option. There is a wall in Mexico I have been eyeing for a long time. I am just waiting for the right piece.

What are your thoughts on the street art scene and where do you see it going?

Unfortunately the street art scene has gone to legal large scale murals.  I am stoked on the smaller pieces that blend in with the surrounds more than dominating.  There should be a reciprocal relationship. Most murals these days are just painted on a wall. I paint in a Community.  I don't consider muralist, street artists anyways. They are just another category under the urban art umbrella.  I see street art remaining more underground with some heavy hitting stand outs while murals evolve to a point where these large scale pieces interact more with their surroundings like what ROA, Seth GlobePainter, Hula and some others are doing. Installation murals like Bordalo II will get more popular too.

After each 2015 World Surf League Contest BERT unveils a killer installation. Hurley Pro at Trestles is wrapping up in just a few days we're stoked to see what new piece hits the streets. 

BERT: An Exclusive Interview with The Mysterious Surf Street Artist

 

BERT: An Exclusive Interview with The Mysterious Surf Street Artist

burt street artist san diego cardiff

BERT: An Exclusive Interview with The Mysterious Surf Street Artist

Michelle Michalak
Michelle Michalak

Author

Michelle's diploma reads BA Psychology with a minor in English, and her license plate reads #CaliforniaDreaming4Life. She begin her career in the NYC fashion industry working with fashion and internet pioneer, Bluefly.com However, due the constant "nagging" of her entrepreneurial spirit, her crush on surfing, and hardcore love for the ocean, she chosen to call San Diego home for the past 10 years. On the west coast she 's chased waves & enlightenment working alongside "Gurus" in the online marketing & personal development industries. It in May 2012 she found her true Zen & Stoke, and joined the Slyde Handboards Team.




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