The long evolution that has unravelled has led to this unique form of art that has come to be known as “sand art”. It’s defined as a practice of shaping and moulding sand into a piece of art, such as a sand painting or sand sculpture. A sand castle is just a category of sand sculpture, although it’s the most recognisable and the most popular to create. Sand sculpting can be considered unique in that a patron has the option to watch the artists form and shape his piece. Watching art in action is a fascinating experience for people of any age.
Well-known sand artists are in-demand. Asked to create original pieces of work that incorporate a specific product or brand, they interface with the media and public to promote the art’s sponsors. Sculptures like this can be created either indoors or outdoors. They can also be taken care of so that they last for far longer than a sand castle built by a child on the beach. Such sculptures also make great adverts for businesses because the general public don’t seem to ever tire of seeing this unique and amazing art.
There is endless potential for sand creations. Sand sculptures are as heavy as 5,000 tons, and can be moulded into any imaginable form or shape to match any event or theme. Unlike the artists from the past who preferred to remain anonymous, the majority of modern sand artists manage to earn a paycheque from their creations, and many even compete for cash prizes and titles. In fact, there are literally hundreds of competitions happening every year the world over.
One of these annual competitions is held at Fort Meyers, Florida. The American Sand Sculpting Championship & Beach Festival, which takes place in November, attracts a crowd of almost 100,000 participants. The competition and attractive prize is what draws Master sculptors, often around 12 or more, to take part in it; all with the hope of winning.
The Championship, like the majority of sand sculpting competitions, is free to the public. The sculptures can be seen behind the ropes, which protect them from the crowd. By paying a nominal fee, however, visitors can secure a VIP pass, allowing them behind the ropes where they can see the masterpiece and their creators up close.
As with most of the competitions, all completed sculptures must be sprayed with a sealer, typically a mix of glue and water. This ensures the sculpture is protected from the elements and keeps it preserved and ready to be viewed by both the spectators and judges. A sealed sculpture can retain its form for months.
Amateur sand castle creators can take part in a separate competition. Winners of these competitions win smaller prizes, but it also acts a way of giving them experience and exposure in this wonderful and unique art form.