South African born Craig Bertram Smith, grew up in Johannesburg where as a child, fishing played a big part in his life. Fishing trips with his Dad and brother, specifically their annual Wildcoast trips are among some of his fondest memories. From a young age he had a keen interest in all ocean creatures, and would spend hours sketching and drawing various species of animals and fish. His remarkable talent was identified by his teachers and they encouraged him to explore his potential. While in high school, his interest in sport took centre stage and his art was saved for class time where he would “doodle” during lessons.
Upon leaving school Craig was encouraged to do a graphic design course at the University of Johannesburg. The program was hugely inspirational as, for the first time in his life, he was surrounded by like-minded creative individuals. This is where his true passion for illustration, design and painting was sparked, and his journey began.
After finishing his studies, he found himself freelancing for an educational publishing company illustrating a series of children’s books. The work was good experience but rather erratic and it forced him to start a career in graphic design. For over seven years this provided a stable foundation to set him up for business at a later stage. During this time Craig met his wife and they settled into their new home.
Becoming increasingly restless in the corporate world, he started taking on fine-art commission work in a private capacity. After every painting was completed it would create more and more interest, until Craig found himself with two or three orders lined up for the months ahead. As the pressure of commission orders built up, and the strain of working evenings and weekends increased, the daunting decision of becoming a full-time artist had finally arrived! This happened in the year 2010.
Since making the leap into the world as a full-time artist Craig has never looked back. His work has been published in various magazines and books, and has graced the cover of International Game Fishing Association on a couple of occasions. His art has appeared in hotels, on boats and in boardrooms and has been commissioned by clients from all over the globe, receiving international acclaim.
Craig’s art also forms the basis for the now very popular CBS clothing range. The clothing is high quality fully dye-sublimated including long or short-sleeve shirts and board shorts, featuring some of his most popular artworks. The CBS gear caters for all disciplines of fishing from fly fishing, tiger, bass and carp to saltwater shore and offshore preferences. The clothing range offers unique designs that are printed in clear photographic detail of his art, it is fade and crack resistant, cool, UV protective, comfortable and stylish.
Through all that Craig has experienced and opportunities received so far, the fantastic places visited and people met, he is constantly reminded of the reasons for time spent painting these incredible animals. His passion and focus remain on portraying the natural world in all its beauty and mystery. He strives to elicit reverence in his art showing animal and habitat wild and untouched, and to bring the viewer to a alternate world, showing a perspective from the animals point of view. As an artist he studies every creature he paints to bring out each of their characters as accurate to nature as possible, explaining their habits, movements and showing anatomy in detail.