Profile: Chase Berenson
Local designer creates first of Surf Station Artist Series tees
Words | Darby Moore
Chase Berenson is a generally congenial person, but when he dives into the topic of art, things change. His easy smile becomes plastered to his suntanned face, an audible excitement pervades his relaxed tone. A 23-year-old Florida native, and Flagler College senior, Berenson’s passion for creativity and self-expression is palatable. Originally hailing from Deland, Florida, Berenson now calls St. Augustine home while he pursues his bachelor’s degree in graphic design.
Berenson is a painter, doodler, surfer, skateboarder, muralist, and one of the first artists to catch our eye when sifting through submissions for our recent t-shirt design contest. The bright colors, bold lines, and unique perspective shown in his “Cheater Five” design submission made our staff collectively stop and stare.
“I was inspired by the old Lords of Dogtown photos,” Berenson shared. “The crouched down carves on the skateboard with toes hanging off, I just started there and came up with this cheater five kind of skeleton dude. It was a very satisfying process.”
While the content and composition of Berenson’s design may be reminiscent of the iconic mid-1970’s surf and skate culture captured in the film Lords of Dogtown, his graphic style borrows from other influences.
“My main inspiration is traditional tattooing. I’ve had most of my work done at Old Towne Tattoo and those guys have done more for me than they have any idea,” Berenson said. “Just the hard lines, boldness, and bright colors, I think that’s what I strive to do with spray paint or paint brush or whatever.”
While Berenson works to complete his education in graphic design, he doesn’t let himself stray from the more traditional materials that sparked his creativity in the first place.
“I do a lot of digital work in my sketching process, but really I’ll draw on anything. If it’s spray paint on a wall, if it’s pen on paper, if it’s burnt chopsticks…literally anything that can make any mark,” Berenson said. “I’ll find a way to make some drawings out of it.”
Berenson’s ability as an artist to explore and push the boundaries of his work has led him to the world of spray paint and mural painting. As a part-time student and a full-time artist, he is looking to expand on his knowledge of painting large, and to eventually create a mural in St. Augustine.
“I want to paint big and get my name out there,” Berenson revealed. “I think naturally I draw on big sheets of paper, I draw out of the lines. I’ve just been working small and moving along incrementally.”
Berenson painted his first mural completely pro bono, in his hometown of Deland, Florida, though he took a loss on the project financially, he sentimental value of creating work in the town in which he was born and the inquiries that he’s garnered have been more than worth it.
“I just need to trust the process and that it will all pay off in the end,” Berenson said.
Given his drive and striking style, we have a feeling that all of Berenson’s hard work will do just that.