A story of sandcastle vandalism caught my eye last Friday evening as I puttered about the social news sites, and it occurred to me that these temporary sculptures are a woefully under-appreciated art form. Sand artists certainly don’t receive enough credit for their art, probably due to the fact that it’s so fleeting. It’s pretty difficult to sell a sculpture that will be washed away by the next high tide. But sand sculpture gives so much joy to beach goers, children and adults alike, that it might as well be considered a public service. True, many of these sand artists compete for prize money, but there’s certainly no guarantee of any reward – for most of them, the opportunity to create a piece of public art on a community beach is sufficient ROI.
Some cruel and shameless miscreants took under-appreciation to the next level on Friday, showing disrespect and heartlessness when they trampled sand sculptor Matthew Long’s latest efforts to the ground. He started building a tall ship on New York City’s South Street Seaport on Wednesday, and left it in the hands of a guard in the area on Friday night. Upon returning Saturday morning, his ship had been stomped upon by some unfeeling cads.
However, Matthew recovered quickly, building his ship to 10 feet in height and filling a 20×20 foot space with 23 tons of sand hauled to the site from New Jersey. He has recently become an entrepreneur, and the sandy ship served both as marketing for his new line of sand sculpting tools and as an exhibit for the South Street Seaport Museum.
Matthew Long lives on Staten Island, and unlike the less recognized sand artists I mentioned above, has managed to make sand sculpting into a business as an artist contractor. His Sand Sculptor website touts the entertainment value of his art form:
Sand sculpting is the ultimate performance art. It fascinates, it intrigues, it engages, and it stimulates. And as such, it attracts like no other presentation!
Featured on the Travel Channel, Matt Long might just be helping pave the way for a more recognized generation of sand sculptors. I know I’ll personally be scouring the web and other resources for more information on this art form from now on.