24 July, 2012 24 July, 2012

With Andrew Berthelson

Name: Andrew Berthelson (aka Andy Steele)
Hometown: St Francis Bay

Before we get started, tell us where you surf, what you ride, and are you a goofy or natural foot?
I grew up in Ballito (where my folks still live) and I have lived with my wife Rowena and my two daughters, in St Francis for the past 12 years. So I guess that Ballito is my home break, but Seals is my surf address. I ride anything that moves… right… as I am a natural foot. I mainly ride “Hutchison Handcrafted” because Johno is my cousin and he shapes great boards!

Tell us a little bit about your art?
I like painting familiar things that anybody can relate too. Anything that makes you feel good inside. I love watching people staring at my paintings and getting totally absorbed even though they are so simple. My art is purely decorative. Obviously a surfer will look at a wave painting like he wants to ride it, but I know that I have got it right when an elderly lady, who has never surfed in her life, buys that painting.

If you think back, can you remember your first piece of art you created?
Yes. When I was 10 I saw my first whale off Salmon Bay. I could not handle the fact that I could not really see the thing from the beach. A Southern Right whale is huge, but it looks like a big, black, flat crocodile with a hole in its head! Thus started an obsession to sketch what it looks like underwater. I drew them from every angle, day and night, until I got it down.

“Lighthouses are always where the action is” according to Andrew. Here’s a painting of one of his favourite lighthouses overlooking his local spot.

Why does art interest you?
Ha ha! Art was interested in me! I just went with it. That’s like asking me why does food interest you? It’s a part of my body!

From where (or whom) do you draw your inspiration?
I have travelled a lot in Southern Africa. From Malawi, to Mozam, to Kaapstad. I have surfed your spot sometime. That is inspiring! My girls are my greatest inspiration though without a doubt. I also have a connection with lighthouses. They are always where the action is. The one at Seal point is amazingly beautiful and when I am surfing out the back I cannot get enough of looking at her. I have painted her hundreds of times and she is now in homes all over the world!

What art do you most identify with?
Probably with portraiture. We all have a built in ID mechanism to recognize people. Doing paintings of children is my greatest challenge. The kid is saying, “Hey, that’s me”, while Mom is saying, “Mmmm… the mouth needs some more work!”

Living in nearby St Francis Bay, Andrew couldn’t resist painting a lineup of the iconic Supertubes point.

What are your favourite mediums and what kind of projects do you like working on?
Acrylics on canvas. In the past 20 years I have painted a lot of wildlife on handmade paper. At the moment one of my projects is raising funds for rhino conservation here in the Eastern Cape.

Do you have a favourite work of art?
A painting that I did of my oldest daughter Shannon Skye. Someone bought it but I do have a photo of it!

Do you have any exhibitions planned?
I am busy with paintings for Sun International and their new hotel in PE. So maybe later. Exhibitions stress artists out!

Andrew cranks it off the bottom near home.

Where can people see more of your work?
At the new Boardwalk hotel soon! I have outlets in Ballito, Umhlanga, Shelly Beach and “Veranda” in St Francis Bay. You can see my wildlife or contact me at www.artistcapes.co.za.

What is your dream project?
To travel with Hanli Prinsloo and do paintings of the whales that she sees! My childhood obsession has not left yet!

Lastly, tell us who your favourite artist is…
Locally: ANDY! Ha ha! (that’s how I sign my paintings). Other local favourites must be Este Mostert, Peter Gray, David Thorpe, Natasha Barnes
Internationally: ANDY STEELE – that’s the pseudonym I use overseas. People can’t remember Berthelson! Ha ha! Actually, my International favourites are Paul Bosman, Simon Combes, Robert Bateman

Some more of Andy’s paintings, above and below.

* If you’re an artist and would like to feature on Artist’s Corner, then drop us an email on calvin@zigzag.co.za with a couple of low-res examples of your work, and we’ll be sure to hit you back.

Artist’s Corner is presented by Volcom:


  1. Drew
    24 July, 2012 at 5:57 pm · Reply

    a big WOW – these paintings are insane!!

  2. Dodger
    24 July, 2012 at 6:23 pm · Reply

    And affordable! I have some… and will definitely get more

  3. T
    25 July, 2012 at 7:40 am · Reply

    First one is in my home and want the last painting after seeing it three weeks ago. They are totally absorbing and I often get lost just staring into them.

  4. Denton
    26 July, 2012 at 4:19 pm · Reply

    Nice one Andy! Awesome paintings ma man.Truly one of my favorite artists.
    Got two of Andy’s paintings and love them to bits.- Denton PE

  5. Andrew carter
    27 July, 2012 at 6:48 am · Reply

    good stuff Andrew

  6. patflan
    28 July, 2012 at 5:20 am · Reply

    Andrew’s work proves that paintings of this ilk trump photography every time. The Lighthouse painting captures the cape light beautifully.

  7. David Wachania (required)
    25 January, 2017 at 3:41 pm · Reply

    Andys work is Amazing. One in a milion in superb simplicity and execution

  8. Grant
    24 October, 2018 at 9:29 am · Reply

    How can I get hold of Andrew?

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