BERT specializes in art reflecting the surf culture, and this piece is no exception. In 2013, BERT began taking on topical events in the surfing world with his anonymous art, leading some to call him surfing’s Banksy. The BERT name is derived from Larry Bertlemann, who Bert describes as “one of surfing’s most innovative visionaries.”
You must be living under a rock if you haven’t heard about Pro surfer Mick Fanning recently punching an aggressive shark during a surf contest in South Africa. Fittingly, Fanning is reimagined as boxer Mike Tyson in this newest piece of street art. Titled “Fin Bitin’ Mick Tyson,” Fanning is sporting a Tyson tattoo and a chunk of the shark is in his mouth, harkening back to Tyson’s ear-biting episode in 1997.
This isn’t the first BERT work to grace an Encinitas wall. Notably, he depicted pro surfer Kelly Slater as a fortuneteller last year in the work titled ‘Slater’s Hawaiian Pipe Dream,’ which was painted 17ft. tall on a wall of the Univ shop on Coast Highway. Inspiration for that piece came after Kelly Slater won the 2013 Pipe Masters last December by beating John Florence in the final.
BERT’s work has also appeared in Solana Beach, Carlsbad, Huntington Beach and even abroad. When asked why BERT chose this most recent location, he told SURFER Magazine, “Location and longevity is key. I look for walls with great visibility, but also for locations that let the art ride. I’m not trying to vandalize. I choose my locations with the intention of adding something cool and creative to a community. It’s like going on a surf trip. I am not going to go through all the effort to get to a place that never breaks. I am going to do my research and end up where I am not only going to score, but also where I am going to be accepted…. Encinitas is epic. I am so stoked on the support. I choose communities that are going to relate to the content of my art. Everyone from groms to weekend warriors look forward to each of my pieces. Usually these two demographics are together looking for my newest piece. Fathers and kids hit me up all the time with support and I make sure to get back to each one expressing my gratitude.”
BERT’s street art has gained the interest of a variety of surfing professionals and icons including 2013 champion Mick Fanning and 2012 champion Joel Parkinson, as well as 11x champion Kelly Slater who has 2 BERT paintings hanging in his residence. BERT has done 40 plus street installations. He has also presented one solo art show on the North Shore. In addition, he has donated designs to the Cardiff Elementary School each year.
BERT is a huge part of the heart of our Cardiff and Encinitas community. We are honored have a piece of his heart as well.