White sands of Siesta Key Beach draw sculptors from across the nation

All photos Lafe Henderson/Catalyst

A Large crowd flocked to the fine white sands of Siesta key beach on Sunday Nov. 21 to view the finished masterpieces of expert sandsculptorsfrom across the nation who took part in the Siesta Key Crystal Classic Master Sandsculpting Competition Inaugural Event.

“The sand was really good. We didn’t know at first because we have never been here before, never had a contest, so no one really how it would stand up or not. It turned out doing really well. It’s really fine, and it’s the cleanest sand I have ever been around.” 10 year sand sculpting veteran and creator of the sand sculpture “Photo Op.“ Ky Terrell said.

The Competition offered over $25,000 in prizes for competitions that spanned a number of categories, including prizes for amateur sculptures of all ages.

An entry fee of $5 per person or $10 for families bought visitors a close up look at the intricate sculptures and chance to mingle with the artists. Live bands entertained the crowd and food and drink vendors flocked to the contest.  Mote Marine brought the “Mote Mobile” to provide children with an up close look at sea life.  Proceeds from the event went to benefit Mote Marines Sea turtle conservation and research.

Matt Long and Kirk Rademaker teamed up to create “The Nasal Passages” winner of $2000 in prize money.

“We had no specific plan except for to have fun, that was our main goal, and to connect our lines, to make our lines kind of flow and try to get some movement. We knew that in this extra white sand that we would have to cut some deeper holes, to get some more negative space and depth out of it and I think we pretty well succeeded at that.” New York native sculptor Long said. “That name (Nasal Passages) was Kurt’s idea, I wanted to call it Deep Throat.” Long Continued.

The Catalyst asked Rademaker what aspects of the sand medium motivated him to work in sand.

“It’s a complicated question because it is so layered,” Rademaker said. “The whole medium, it’s like junk food, it’s so easy and fast. You don’t have to chip away at it for days and days, you just cut it, like sketching in 3D. And then there’s all the people, there’s the music and the other artists. You are part of this international group of artists, you go to these events and it’s a big party and it lasts for the whole week. It’s everything, there is nothing wrong with this medium.

Terrell explained that most sandsculptors use forms to build their sculptures. The forms are built around the sand to create layers like a wedding cake. The sculptors build down creating the sculptor from top to bottom.

One central aspect of  sandsculpture is the temporal nature of the art, which cannot survive  the elements beyond the timeframe of the competition .

“Its something that’s temporary so you have to learn that when you leave it’s going to be gone. But it’s a lot of fun and I enjoy it is relaxing for me.  I am used to that, so you take a lot of photos and enjoy it while you can and it’s gone the next day, it’s not a big thing.” Said Terrell.

“That’s part of the charm of the medium. If you could not destroy them then nobody would be out here. I like it, that’s the part I like, all the people are out here because of that.” Rademaker Said.

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