HASER: Thanks for taking some time to join us. For those that are seeing your work for the first time, can you tell us who you are and where you’re from?
BERST: My graffiti name is Berst and I was born in Hong Kong but migrated to New Zealand when I was three years old. I live in Auckland and represent two graffiti crews called GBAK and TMD.
Thank you, have you always been into art, or was there a particular moment that you realised you were good at it?
I studied art at secondary school but was not particularly good at it, however, after that I chose to study a diploma in graphic design. Following that I studied a degree in visual arts with a major in painting. Since completing that study I’ve always had an interest in graffiti and other forms of visual culture such as cartoons, tattooing, illustration, and graphics.
Your work certainly has elements of cartoons and illustrative elements in it. A lot of people don’t realise how good they are at something until they give it an honest attempt.
You currently teach at Unitec, how did you get in to that, was this a long term plan or something that happened organically?
After completing my degree in visual arts, I extended my study into education. I’ve studied a Postgraduate Diploma, Masters, and currently in the process of finishing my PhD. I never completely planned this path or could have even envisioned it but encouragement from my family led me down this road. I acknowledge that being a full-time artist is a tough road financially so taking the education path has now provided me some stability with income. As each day passes, I am grateful to have gone down this path because there are connections between graffiti and education that not many people have established or built and it's something that I aim to do in the future.
Kudos on the dedication to your education. I know when I left school, the last thing I wanted to do was get back into education, but after completing my degree, it was totally worth it.