Sand Sculpture

 I like to think of my self as an artist.  I write, I photograph, I paint and sometimes I do sculptures.

This photo is of a sand sculpture I did on a  public beach in Belito, South  Africa. Of all the art forms writing is my most productive, but sand sculpture is the one that really makes me drool.

I like to form and shape dolphins, all kinds of animals (especially elephants), and this dude! A snake-man.

Crowds draw around as I shape the art.  I enjoy listening to the comments the onlookers make. It seems they think I am deaf as my hands flick away unnecessary sand. Comments and questions are always around the same subjects - How does he know what to do? Is it for charity?  But one question always gets the better of the onlookers and nudges them to actually interact with me.

The question(s) are always about the temporary nature of the work. People always want to know - Why in sand? Why so close to the waters edge? Why on a beach? They end their question with  a statement that reveals what's actually eating them - such beautiful and hard word is going to be destroyed!

People take photos, as they tell me how they will preserve the art (and send me a copy of the picture, which they never do, is why I only have this one photo). People are cautious to walk wide around the sculpture as to not disturb it. Kids are battered and told off.

That all defeats the purpose of art. It should be enjoyed, and appreciated yes.  But you should be able to interact with it too. Once a little boy (no more than three or four years old) wanted to help me build something. I had almost completed a dinosaur in the sand.  I directed him what to do. He stood on completed bits, laughed and shovelled sand about. As much as the crowd was shocked and gasped, I was happy - art inspired someone to play!

Our society of serious achievement and ridged conformity needs to learn how to play again.  Today I challenge you to open yourself to some silliness. Make someone smile. Get a kid to laugh. Make something strange from clay. Paint something obscure in purple and green.  Connect with the side of you screaming to play.

 I don't mind building a sand castle next to the incoming tide.  It was made from sand and will return to sand.  In my life I have learned that beauty fades. We are made from sand, and we will return to sand. What remains is the memory of the beautiful interactions with another person. To me, that's worth all the living!

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