World-renowned sand sculptor Simon Smith gives Mumbaikars a glimpse of his fascinating artworks, before rushing out to Goa for the Sand Art Festival
If you thought making sand castles on a beach was child's play, a meeting with Simon Smith is sure to change your view. The sand sculptor from UK, who has made a name as one of the best sand artists of the world, will be showcasing his talent at the Goa Sand Art Festival 2011, at Miramar Beach this year.
The artist, who was in Mumbai to promote the festival and to give Mumbaiites a glimpse into his work, has created a sand sculpture based on the theme of the event, Marine Life -- Unseen Treasures Under Water.
Sand artist Simon Smith working on his installation in the city
Smith used to be, once upon a time, a door-to-door salesman selling kitchen products. "I was suffering from cancer and after undergoing chemotherapy, one day I went to the beach to kill some time. I started playing with the sand and by the end of the day I was amazed at what I had made and decided to go to the beach again. The next day I made a big fat Buddha and people started throwing money at it.
At first, I felt like telling them I don't want your money, but I soon realised that I had just undergone chemotherapy and I could collect money for cancer patients," he says, talking about how his journey as a sand sculptor began. "Suddenly, from a simple salesman I turned into Mr Celebrity!" exclaims the artist, who went on to win the sand sculpting championship, World Masters in 2003. Having no professional training in sculpting or art, Smith says that it came naturally to him, "It was like one day you suddenly learn how to ride a bicycle," he adds.
Smith, has made commissioned works in different countries including Australia, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Belgium, US and in several cities of India as well. Hampi, which is one of the most beautiful architectural sites of India, has been an inspiration for him. Calling himself a sandoholic, Smith adds that wherever he stays he makes sure that there is a beach near his hotel.
At the Goa Sand Art Festival, Smith will also be conducting workshops for kids, who are usually very intrigued by his works. "While at work here in Mumbai, the security guard had to jump over to try and stop the kids from touching the sculpture," he says.
Coming from Jersey, an island in the English Channel, Smith is amazed at the number of people interested in his work in the city. He came to Mumbai for just over two days and has put in about nine hours of work to make his sand installation, which is currently on display at a city mall. "I hardly found the time to visit any place here. The only place I have seen in Mumbai is the Gateway of India, which I visited 12 to 13 years back," he says adding, "I would love to make a huge archway in the city under which people can walk."
"The installation I have made is quite small compared to what I usually make. On the beach I use 50 to 60 tonnes of sand and spend a lot more time," he says with an assurance that he is planning something much bigger during his next visit to the city.