Grainy photos: Pictures of Sam Dougados’ beach art will be on sale at the Beach Art Festival this weekend. *Photo by Sam Dougados 
Grainy photos: Pictures of Sam Dougados’ beach art will be on sale at the Beach Art Festival this weekend. *Photo by Sam Dougados 
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WEDNESDAY, MAR. 21: Not many artists can say they have created a single piece of work that stretches over a kilometre and a half — but world champion beach artist Sam Dougados has done just that.

Using the sand as his canvas and a rake as his paintbrush, the Frenchman has created works that span the length of entire beaches.

He is in Bermuda as part of the island’s inaugural Beach Art Festival and will be running a series of workshops in the run up to it.

The kilometre and a half long beach art he created by raking shapes into the sand  won him the title of world champion beach artist at the first ever international beach art festival, held in Jersey, UK last year.

“It was very big, I had to use two rakes,” he recalls.

Dougados first began doing beach art back in 2008 and sells photographs of his creations printed on brushed aluminium. A keen surfer he used to live in Biarritz, France where surfing is said to have originated in Europe.

He saw the work of Californian Jim Denevan and decided to take up the unique art form himself.

Inspired

“I saw the art on a video and though it was amazing — I was inspired. I moved to another beach which was perfect for this.

“There are two works — the first one is the one on the beach which is ephemeral and free and after that I take pictures and work them to give them a more poetical view. Sometimes I have just the sand in colour and the rest in black and white.”

Dougados will be giving free workshops today, tomorrow and Friday at Horseshoe Beach from 4pm to 5:30pm.

He describes his work as “natural graffiti” and says that his work is often inspired by street art. His beach art is often interactive involving people or objects placed within or around the works.

“One time there was a girl sleeping far away from everybody else on the beach and I drew a big cartoon bubble next to her with the ‘Zzzs’,” he recalls. “People were looking at it and laughing. I realised that I can touch a lot of people in a very small time. This is the biggest gallery — in three hours I can reach 10,000 people during the summer.”

Dougados says that footprints in the sand are not a problem because they are so small but there is one thing that hinders his work from time to time. 

“The worst are the dogs because they dig holes — they are my worst enemy!”

The festival is being organized by Nicky Gurret who, for the past 16 years, has organized the popular Bermuda Sand Sculpture Competition on Horseshoe Bay. So far 13 local beach artists have entered the competition and will create art on beaches across the island. These are so far confirmed as Horseshoe Bay, Warwick Long Bay, Grape Bay, Chaplin Bay, Church Bay, Fort St Catherine’s, Elbow Beach and John Smith’s Bay. The larger beaches have been split up so that several artists can work across them.

The festival takes place from 12:30pm to 3:30pm and there will be plenty of other activities to keep visitors entertained. From 3:30pm to 4:30pm there will be free yoga sessions on Elbow Beach, John Smith’s Bay, Horseshoe Bay and Fort St Catherine’s Beach. At Horseshoe there will also be kite surfing, windsurfing and paddle board demonstrations from 3pm to 5:30pm as well as a play area for children.

Ms Gurret said: “I think Bermuda really needs a lot more activities that make the most our natural resources. Our beaches are so under-utilised. I am doing these things because we need to be more interactive with our environment and with each other.

Contemporary

“It’s a new contemporary art and it is so suited to Bermuda in the sense that it highlights our beaches which are so beautiful. In the winter there is no one there. People should be out there — in nature.”

Being out in the open is one of the things that Dougados loves most about his art form.

“When you are on the beach by yourself your five senses are awake — you can smell and taste the salt in the water, you can hear the water, you can see and touch, it’s a very sensitive art.

“It feels magical, you feel awake and alive and aware about yourself. That’s what I love about it.”

There are still spaces available in the competition. The only restriction is that the art must be two dimentional as opposed to a sculpture.

Anyone interested in entering the competition should contact Nicky Gurret on www.gurret@northrock.bm or call 295-4597. To view Sam Dougados’ work visit www.sam-dougados.com or www.artmajeur.com/dougasam.