Jesolo International Sand Sculpture Festival
Selecting the themes for the sand sculpture
shows we do in Italy is a bit of a process.
In the winter it is actually simple. It is always the Nativity.
The only challenge there is to find new ways to render the classic subject.
In the summer show, where we run for at least six weeks under a
big tent with a paid admission ticket situation, the theme is chosen a year
in advance. The way it is chosen is as follows:
The director suggests some themes and the producers suggest some themes.
Then there is some discussion about the various options and ramifications
of whichever themes we are kicking around, we throw some out, narrow it
down a bit, have a little tug of war back and forth between the two
parties who invariably have favorites that are in conflict with what the
other side wants, then the producers pick what they want. It is after all,
their show to put on, and they are paying the bills.
After the theme is selected, the director "casts" the carvers. Basically
the artists are selected on their overall ability, availability, and proximity
to the event at show time. The producers prefer an international mix of
artists, so sometimes distance is secondary to availability. Some carvers
will suit a particular need for the director better than others. for instance,
we do largely, illustration type of carving in Jesolo, and not abstract,
symbolism, surrealism or impressionism. We favor realism and the artists
that can render closest to that style as a rule. Persons familiar
to the show and know the routines and work well on the crew are usually
asked back as repeat artists. It makes for a productive and enjoyable working
environment that way. Some artists are strong with figures and portraiture,
and some are strong with animals or landscapes or architecture. Therefore,
the crew is dependent on the theme to at least some degree.
It is a popular show on the world tour for working pros, and many
want to attend. Yet the tour is also filling the calendar with more events
all the time, and sometimes people invited to participate are just not available
at the time we need them -Which generally is the first or second ten days
to two weeks in June. Occasionally persons invited to the show who
can dovetail their work in Jesolo with another event, sanctioned by
Sultans Of Sand or not, get precedence. There are numerous factors that
going into choosing the final team of featured artists. But it is the directors
call, and the producer has veto power.
The Assistants who help the artists in any way the artists can engage
them, from removing and stacking the wooden or plastic forms we use, all
the way up to finish carving on the sculptures, are drawn from the prestigious
art academy in Venice Italy. The students get credit and experience with
the sand process in exchange for all the hard work they do. Several have
been repeat assistants for a few years and that makes a big difference. We
really appreciate their help, but we have limited control over who we get.
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