Up close with a sand sculpture

SCOOPING water from a bucket with his hands, he allowed the salty droplets to trickle through his fingers to wet the mound of sand he shoveled to his workplace in the beach.

Unmindful of the sweltering heat of the noonday sun, the world ceased to exist for Australian photographer turned world-champion sand sculptor Dennis Massoud as he focused all his attention to the sand for the next 10 minutes, patting, scrubbing and brushing, trimming and blowing until very soon, the form of a young dolphin became recognizable.

Known as the “Sandman”, Massoud lived practically all his life near the beach.

From a matter of minutes to several days or weeks, Massoud can form simple to the most intricate designs of castles, animals, humans, mermaids and anything else.

“I think I have already sand-sculpted everything I can imagine, but I cannot stop,” he said.

Massoud recalls that his most fulfilling work was when he worked with a group of other world champions to create a huge sculpture in Luliang, China using the natural multi-colored sand.

“That sculpture has generated over $180 million a year for the producer from the millions of people who visited the sand forest,” Massoud said.

He has been invited to do sand sculpture in several parts of the world for both private and government agencies. He is also available for corporate team building workshops or sculpting workshops, for themed sculptures such as Christmas, weddings, and more.

“I’ve been everywhere around the world doing sand sculpture and the sand is my life,” Massoud said.

“If you won’t be allowed to touch or work with sand again, what would you do for the rest of your life?”

For several long seconds, Australia’s famous sand sculptor Dennis Massoud stared blankly at this reporter, clearly caught off guard by the question as he grasped for an answer.

“I would probably spend the rest of my life looking for sand and working with sand again,” Massoud finally answered in a faltering voice.

For one who has spent most of his life on the beach and the past 15 years playing with sand as his source livelihood, that would be equivalent to taking away the meaning of life.

“In every man or woman, there is a child who wants to come out to create sandcastles and play in the sand,” Massoud said.

The Sandman has been on Saipan last and stayed for a few days for the Sandcastles for Wishes 2010 building competition at the Hyatt Beach Park on July 10 where he created a mermaid hugging a little girl that were washed ashore.

To see more of Massoud’s works, visit www.sandinyoureyes.com.




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