Sanding Ovations Masters Cup Treasure Island Florida

 

“Birth of Venus”

I was really blown away by the artistry, skill and creativity of the contestants.

To begin with, each sculpture has a designated plot and the installations are huge.  Sand is delivered on pallets (yes, pallets) so these folk are not out there with their $2 plastic buckets from the local beach store.

Beautiful weather for 2018

So for my first year my friend Rita and I only went on the next to last day, which is the day judging takes place.

This was a mistake.

If you have time it really makes sense to attend on the first and second days as well.  The finished products are sensational.  They’re thought-provoking, puzzling and sometimes appear to defy the laws of gravity.  And what would have made it even more special would have been to see how they were built.

Sculptors and Sculptures

2018 saw record-breaking attendance and the amazing group of sculptures and their impressive work is why.

Although I do not know the precise judging criteria of this specific event, typically the judges in sand sculpting event consider such things as:

  • How well the plot space was used – is there a lot of empty space
  • Did they use all the sand provided?
  • Is it a clever idea or a fresh approach to a subject
  • How difficult was it? Consideration of the use of cut-throughs, height, overhangs
  • Faithfulness to any theme
  • Execution

Keep scrolling to view many photos from this year’s event!

“Freedom” by Jonathan “Jobi” Bouchard of Canada

The 2018 First Place and People’s Choice Winner – “Freedom”.

Freedom” is one where I would have loved to hear the artist’s explanation of his work.

While I don’t understand the message, the sheer scale of the face and the multiple carve-outs and arches may help explain why this sculpture won First Place and also won the People’s Choice award this year.

Jobi Bouchard had previously won first place at this competition FIVE times!

“Internal Universe” by Aleksei Rybak of Russia

Sunshine Beach is on the north end, running from just south of John’s Pass for about seven blocks to 120th Ave. With fewer hotels and more residential areas, this stretch of Treasure Island is laid-back and loved by locals.

Aleksei Rybak takes a moment.

Aleksei is a graduate of the Moscow Art College of Applied Art.

insider tip: judging

Sculptures are evaluated on things like originality, technical difficulty, faithfulness to a theme, execution and use of space

“Birth of Venus” by Sue McGrew of Washington

I enjoyed “Birth of Venus” immensely.  The overall shape and the lovely curving tentacles were delightful.

Artist Sue McGrew working on her sculpture’s finishes

Note some of the tools on the bench in the foreground.  Small shovels, brushes and sprayers.

A sculpture within a sculpture

I’m not clear if this was the front or back.  But either way both are beautiful.

Sculptor Sue McGrew works in sand, ice and snow.  She has won a number of competitions.

“Fusion” by JOOheng Tan of Singapore

I can’t say that I fully appreciated “Fusion” at first viewing.  It seemed so simple relative to many of the others. But the more I looked the more I saw.  And I began to appreciate just how tall it was and how difficult it must be to stack that much sand in such a narrow tower.

And then to carve out the delicate shapes in that thin strip of an opening?  Our next photo has a close-up of the inside.

A sand odyssey anyone?

insider tip: JoBI Bouchard

Jobi Bouchard of Canada, and the 2018 First Place and People’s Choice Winner, has won this event six times.

JOOheng is from Singapore.  His work has been showcased in over 60 cities across more than 20 countries around the world.

Worth visiting is this link to a story about three 18-ton sand sculptures JOOheng was asked to make as part of an advertising campaign encouraging kids to get dirty.  The campaign was called “Dirt is Good“.  The link contains photos and a video showing the creation and behind-the-scenes execution.

Amazing!

Inside the monolith.  This can’t have been easy.

“Chagrin” by Carl Jara of Ohio

So much emotion conveyed here

insider tip: single or double?

Some sand sculpting competitions feature teams of sculptors, in addition to works by individuals.

The ledge was in place and the hollow part carved out so Carl had a place to stand to work on the top.

“Bobby Fisher” by Jakob “Kuba” Zimacek of Czech Republic

The subtitle of this entry is “the chess legend who broke all the patterns“.

Jakob has been sculpting since 2003 when he got his start on the beaches of southern Spain.  Since then he has won several prizes in international competitions.

“Bobby Fisher” – the chess legend who broke all the patterns

Jakob putting finishing touches to his piece.  Note the tanks filled with water and it looks like some sand?

The chessboard was one of the last components added, bringing it all together

“Circular Argument” by Abe Waterman of Canada

“Circular Argument” was one of my personal favorites.  It was fun to walk around and around trying to find a shot that would capture all 3 faces as well as the toilet and interior of the installation.

I cam sort of close, in the 4th photo below, but I should have moved a little further to the right.  In my defense I was fighting sun rather high in the sky and people.  Lots of them.

Sculptor Abe Waterman looks like he is enjoying himself

I bet these two couldn’t lose each other in a crowd if they wanted to. The face on the left agrees.

I’m no sand sculptor, but as with JOOheng Tan’s sculpture, making these tall vertical pieces must be tricky.  I would guess the sand has to be just the right amount of “compactness” – I admit I’m making that term up – and moistness to stay up like this?

Note the detail in the eyes and the catchlights of the pupils

Each face has its own unique expression. I guess this conversation is going down the toilet?

Abe making final touches with his repurposed pest control spraying tank.  Who knew?

“Whether Greek or Roman” by Rachel Stubbs of England

He (or she?) seems content to watch the crowds

Children posing for a photo op

I see dinner

insider tip: The weekend before Thanksgiving

The dates of this event vary from year to year but it is always held then weekend before Thanksgiving.

“Rodan Remixed” by Fergus Mulvany of Ireland

At first glance “Rodan Remixed” seemed like one of the smaller installations. But that was really because it was so compact.  Move a little closer and you began to appreciate the scale and the amount of sand all in this one block.

I was not there for the artist’s explanation of his piece, but my understanding is that three figures are represented.

Loving the sense of energy

Fergus Mulvany chatting with a couple of attendees on judging day

Imagine these shadows and textures later in the day

insider tip: 2018 videos on facebook

Click here to go to the Sanding Ovations Masters Cup Facebook page and view videos of the projects in the works along with the awards ceremony!

“To Be or Not To Be” by Jan Selen of Netherlands

Jan Selen’s piece is another one where I would loved to have heard the artist’s interpretation of their work.  However, even without that, I loved it.  The man with the snail being my favorite.

Jan Selen making some final touches

One figure is looking at the phone in his hand and the other at the snail in his hand

The full installation

One of my favorite elements

The universal “I’m looking at my phone” face

2018 Winners

  • First Place – “Freedom” by Jobi Bouchard
  • Second Place – “Circular Argument” by Abe Waterman
  • Third Place – “Rodan Remixed” by Fergus Mulvany
  • Sculptor’s Choice – a TIE between “Fusion” by JOOheng Tan and “Circular Argument” by Abe Waterman
  • People’s Choice – “Freedom” by Jobi Bouchard

Other Things to Do at This Event

In addition to the sculptures there are vendors selling arts, crafts, clothing, gift items and food.

Many of these vendors I had not seen at other shows, so they’re worth a visit all by themselves.

Photographing the Event

Besides going multiple days so that you can use your photos to tell a story, another thing you can do is to go earlier or later in the day. Generally speaking, photographing in the middle of the day (say between 10 and 2) is going to result in harsher light and less interesting shadows.

If you go earlier in the day or later in the day, the shadows on the sculptures will be softer and more interesting, depending on your position relative to the sculpture and the rising or setting sun. And an added bonus is that there may be fewer people.

By all means bring along your iphone for some video, but if you have a smaller camera with interchangeable lenses, you can worry less about the crowds. You can zoom in on some of the individual components.

Don’t be afraid to work your way around each installation, noting changes in the appearance.

Pamela Moore

 

” That’s the hell of sand castles.  They are always doomed.  That’s part of their beauty – their impermanence.”

Leave a comment below and tell us what you love about this event if you attended!

Next event: Nov 18th – 22nd, 2020

2018 marked my first trip to this event and it’s really difficult to overhype it.  I’ve never been to anything like this and so I didn’t know what to expect.

I knew it was invitation-only, so this isn’t Ward, June, Wally and the Beaver playing at the beach.  This is well-known and well-respected sculptors from around the world, spending 4 days of their lives in the elements and vying for a significant prize.

“Birth of Venus”

I was really blown away by the artistry, skill and creativity of the contestants.

To begin with, each sculpture has a designated plot and the installations are huge. Sand is delivered on pallets (yes, pallets) so these folk are not out there with their $2 plastic buckets from the local beach store.

Beautiful weather at this time of year

So for my first year my friend Rita and I only went on the next to last day, which is the day judging takes place.

This was a mistake.

If you have time it really makes sense to attend on the first and second days as well. The finished products are sensational. They’re thought-provoking, puzzling and sometimes appear to defy the laws of gravity. And what would have made it even more special would have been to see how they were built.

Sculptors and Sculptures

2018 saw record-breaking attendance and the amazing group of sculptures and their impressive work is why.

Although I do not know the precise judging criteria of this specific event, typically the judges in sand sculpting event consider such things as:

  • How well the plot space was used – is there a lot of empty space
  • Did they use all the sand provided?
  • Is it a clever idea or a fresh approach to a subject
  • How difficult was it
  • Consideration of the use of cut-throughs, height, overhangs
  • Faithfulness to any theme
  • Execution


Keep scrolling to view many photos from this year’s event!

2018 Winner: “Freedom” by Jonathan “Jobi” Bouchard of Canada

Freedom” is one where I would have loved to hear the artist’s explanation of his work.

While I don’t understand the message, the sheer scale of the face and the multiple carve-outs and arches may help explain why this sculpture won First Place and also won the People’s Choice award this year.

Jobi Bouchard had previously won first place at this competition FIVE times

“Internal Universe” by Aleksei Rybak of Russia

Sunshine Beach is on the north end, running from just south of John’s Pass for about seven blocks to 120th Ave. With fewer hotels and more residential areas, this stretch of Treasure Island is laid-back and loved by locals.

Aleksei Rybak takes a moment. He is a graduate of the Moscow Art College of Applied Art.

Insider Tip: Judging

Sculptures are evaluated on things like originality, technical difficulty, faithfulness to a theme, execution and use of space

“Birth of Venus” by Sue McGrew of Washington

I enjoyed “Birth of Venus” immensely. The overall shape and the lovely curving tentacles were delightful.

Artist Sue McGrew working on her sculpture’s finishes

Note some of the tools on the bench in the foreground. Small shovels, brushes and sprayers.

A sculpture within a sculpture

I’m not clear if this was the front or back. But either way both are beautiful.

Sculptor Sue McGrew works in sand, ice and snow. She has won a number of competitions.

“Fusion” by JOOheng Tan of Singapore

I can’t say that I fully appreciated “Fusion” at first viewing. It seemed so simple relative to many of the others. But the more I looked the more I saw. And I began to appreciate just how tall it was and how difficult it must be to stack that much sand in such a narrow tower. And then to carve out the delicate shapes in that thin strip of an opening? Our next photo has a close-up of the inside.

A sand odyssey anyone?

Insider Tip: JoBI Bouchard

Jobi Bouchard of Canada, and the 2018 First Place and People’s Choice Winner, has won this event six times.

JOOheng is from Singapore. His work has been showcased in over 60 cities across more than 20 countries around the world.

Worth visiting is this link to a story about three 18-ton sand sculptures JOOheng was asked to make as part of an advertising campaign encouraging kids to get dirty. The campaign was called “Dirt is Good“. The link contains photos and a video showing the creation and behind-the-scenes execution.

Amazing!

Inside the monolith. This can’t have been easy.

“Chagrin” by Carl Jara of Ohio

So much emotion conveyed here

Insider Tip: Single or double?

Some sand sculpting competitions feature teams of sculptors, in addition to works by individuals.

The ledge was in place and the hollow part carved out so Carl had a place to stand to work on the top.

“Bobby Fisher” by Jakob “Kuba” Zimacek of Czech Republic

The subtitle of this entry is “the chess legend who broke all the patterns“.

Jakob has been sculpting since 2003 when he got his start on the beaches of southern Spain. Since then he has won several prizes in international competitions.

“Bobby Fisher” – the chess legend who broke all the patterns

Jakob putting finishing touches to his piece. Note the tanks filled with water and it looks like some sand?

The chessboard was one of the last components added, bringing it all together

“Circular Argument” by Abe Waterman of Canada

“Circular Argument” was one of my personal favorites. It was fun to walk around and around trying to find a shot that would capture all 3 faces as well as the toilet and interior of the installation.

I cam sort of close, in the 4th photo below, but I should have moved a little further to the right. In my defense I was fighting sun rather high in the sky and people. Lots of them.

Sculptor Abe Waterman looks like he is enjoying himself

I bet these two couldn’t lose each other in a crowd if they wanted to. The face on the left agrees.

I’m no sand sculptor, but as with JOOheng Tan’s sculpture, making these tall vertical pieces must be tricky. I would guess the sand has to be just the right amount of “compactness” – I admit I’m making that term up – and moistness to stay up like this?

Note the detail in the eyes and the catchlights of the pupils

Each face has its own unique expression. I guess this conversation is going down the toilet?

Abe making final touches with his repurposed pest control spraying tank. Who knew?

“Whether Greek or Roman” by Rachel Stubbs of England

He (or she?) seems content to watch the crowds

Children posing for a photo op

I see dinner

Insider Tip: The weekend before Thanksgiving

The dates of this event vary from year to year but it is always held then weekend before Thanksgiving.

“Rodan Remixed” by Fergus Mulvany of Ireland

At first glance “Rodan Remixed” seemed like one of the smaller installations. But that was really because it was so compact. Move a little closer and you began to appreciate the scale and the amount of sand all in this one block.

I was not there for the artist’s explanation of his piece, but my understanding is that three figures are represented.

oving the sense of energy

Fergus Mulvany chatting with a couple of attendees on judging day

Imagine these shadows and textures later in the day

Insider Tip: Videos on facebook

Click here to go to the Sanding Ovations Masters Cup Facebook page and view videos of the projects in the works along with the awards ceremony!

“To Be or Not To Be” by Jan Selen of Netherlands

Jan Selen’s piece is another one where I would loved to have heard the artist’s interpretation of their work. However, even without that, I loved it. The man with the snail being my favorite.

Jan Selen making some final touches

One figure is looking at the phone in his hand and the other at the snail in his hand

The full installation

One of my favorite elements

The universal “I’m looking at my phone” face

Other Things to Do at This Event

In addition to the sculptures there are vendors selling arts, crafts, clothing, gift items and food.

Many of these vendors I had not seen at other shows, so they’re worth a visit all by themselves.

Photographing the Event

Besides going multiple days so that you can use your photos to tell a story, another thing you can do is to go earlier or later in the day. Generally speaking, photographing in the middle of the day (say between 10 and 2) is going to result in harsher light and less interesting shadows.

If you go earlier in the day or later in the day, the shadows on the sculptures will be softer and more interesting, depending on your position relative to the sculpture and the rising or setting sun. And an added bonus is that there may be fewer people.

By all means bring along your iphone for some video, but if you have a smaller camera with interchangeable lenses, you can worry less about the crowds. You can zoom in on some of the individual components.

Don’t be afraid to work your way around each installation, noting changes in the appearance.

” That’s the hell of sand castles. They are always doomed. That’s part of their beauty – their impermanence.”

Pamela Moore

Leave a comment below and tell us what you love about this event if you attended!

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This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. This is a really cool event. Always a stunner and so much talent!

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