Craig Bertram Smith

Published May 15th 2011

South African artist with fish and fishing on the palet


Craig Smith's art

The first time I saw one of Craig Bertram Smith's works of art was a pencil sketch he'd made to commemorate a trophy giant kingfish he'd caught, posted on a fly fishing forum.
The sketch was magnificent, and I immediately emailed Craig, to find out more about him and his artistic work.

With commissions from all over the world, it seems that he is better known abroad, than in South Africa.

As a youngster, growing up with a dad who instilled a love of fishing and respect for nature. Craig spent most of his free time outdoors, catching fish and sleeping under the stars. Depending on your outlook on life, life can't get more perfect. The little time he spent indoors was divided between sketching and homework.

Craig describes his artistic development as follows: "As an artist my career has been a stop start affair stretching back over 13 years. In the beginning I painted on a part-time basis in between sketching and illustrating for children's educational books and other illustration projects, after a few years of struggling to make ends meet, I got a "real" job at a printing company as a graphic designer for 4 years and then moved to NutriLida healthcare for another 4 years as their in-house designer. In the last 2 years while still stuck in the office, I decided to get back into my "first love" - painting. I began receiving private commissions almost immediately and every painting that I completed, led me to another commission. I felt alive again! But this double life started catching up with me and soon, all I was doing was work - I would have my day job, then nights and weekends would be consumed with building my painting career.

Sailfish and Dorado

Electric Blue, Bluefin Kingfish, preliminary drawing

Electric Blue, Bluefin Kingfish, finished painting

Things were going well though and my art was being published all over the world and, with all the requests coming in, I soon had to make the daunting decision to fly solo. At the beginning of this year I handed in my resignation and began living my life-long dream as an artist. I didn't have much time to savour the moment, I was flooded with private requests and commissions and although there have been one or two slack months, I have constantly been busy working on two or three projects at a time. It is a gift to be able to do what you love doing and that fulfills you and then still get paid for it. Equally special are the people that my art has led me to, the friends that I have made through this, and the once-in-a-lifetime opportunities that have taken me to exotic places in Africa".



Pencil fish

Craig's preferred media are pencil and acrylic. Tuna and pelalgic species are his preferred subjects, but he enjoys painting all fish species.
His underwater fish scenes have become very popular. Living in Africa, its wildlife has now also become part of his repertoire.
As a fishing nut, preferring to fish with light tackle - fly and lure - his favourite fishing locations are Mozambique the Indian Ocean islands and the Eastern Cape of South Africa.
His most memorable fishing moment -- a Giant Trevally engulfing a popper -- is captured on canvas.

Acrylic and oil

If you wish to commemorate a special fish or special moment fishing, feel free to call (083 519 7969) or email ( or Craig or visit his website to see examples of the work of this talented fisher-artist. You won't be disappointed.

The artist fishing

A different canvas

More Fishy Artists
All Fishy Art artists

User comments
From: osman · azas_z·at·  Link
Submitted July 27th 2011

very good, l like it.

From: Bertus Jansen van Rensburg · bertusjvr·at·  Link
Submitted July 26th 2011

Well done! You will always have people gasping at the quality of your work.I still do to this day.


From: Jonathan · jontrollope·at·  Link
Submitted July 4th 2011

The photo's don't do justice to his work.
Once you see one of his pieces in front of you, you will be blown away!!

Absolutely BRILLIANT...

From: Ed Truter  Link
Submitted May 28th 2011

I've been taking a careful look at Craig's artwork. Gees, I've never seen a fish artist 'get' fish like he does. The attitude, the energy, the moment, it's all there ... wow!

From: Bernice · bernice.s·at·  Link
Submitted May 25th 2011

Craig's art is phenomenal - I say that owning a true original!!! It can only add class to your home:-)

From: Martin · martinr·at·  Link
Submitted May 23rd 2011

In my opinion Craig is the number one fish artist in the world. Buy one of his paintings now if you can because soon they will be worth a lot more!

From: Garreth Coombes · Garreth·at·  Link
Submitted May 23rd 2011

Mind blowing stuff Craig!!!! My house is going to look like an aquarium once I have collected enough pieces of your art work!!!!

From: Tom Biesot · tomfo·at·  Link
Submitted May 17th 2011

Incredible pieces of art, beautifull in detail , my favorites are the pencil drawings.
When I had the money I would buy them all !

Tom Biesot.

From: Nils Jorgensen · nj·at·  Link
Submitted May 16th 2011

This is absolutely amazing work!

Comment to an image
From: Gilbert van Ryckevorsel · gvr·at·  Link
Submitted November 24th 2011

From a fellow who has been diving with Bluefin Tuna in the Mediterranean and in Atlantic waters off the coast of Nova Scotia, Canada. After many years of diving and handfeeding these magnificent fish I call the experience ' my lifetime
adventure' which led into becoming an underwater photographer and marine artist in different media.
Your painting presents a superb composition of the action.

Comment to an image
From: rachel - Full name and email anonymized  Link
Submitted November 5th 2011

wOw i must say your work is Outstaning! Keep it up.

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