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The ‘Sand Guy’ cometh

World renowned sand sculptor creates art at Blue Line Gallery
By: Sena Christian, The Press Tribune
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People around the world must really enjoy watching the creation of sand sculptures.

That explains why artist Kirk Rademaker, a professional sand sculptor since 2000, has been hired to travel all around and build sculptures in Turkey, Thailand, New Zealand, Spain, Costa Rica, Puerto Rico, France, Belgium, Portugal, Switzerland, Canada — and right here in Roseville.

Rademaker’s work has been featured on the Travel Channel series “Sand Masters.” He is currently creating a sculpture for display at the Blue Line Gallery through Saturday, July 2.

“He’s a rock star,” said Blue Line CEO Julie Hirota.

But Rademaker downplayed the compliment, as he worked on the sculpture Thursday.

“I’m a small rock star, like a really tiny rock,” he said.

The Santa Cruz resident is one of six artists featured on “Sand Masters,” which premiered June 1. The group recently went to Florida for the show, and Rademaker spent Memorial Day weekend building a sand sculpture to honor the U.S. military in New York’s Times Square, where throngs of people surrounded him as he created his temporary masterpiece.

“It’s nuts,” he said, pointing to the unfinished sand castle in the Blue Line. “Just from making these things.”

A sculpture typically takes him two or three days to complete. Some are inspired by his illustrations — the artist has a background in drafting and design.

“They’re very architectural in nature,” Hirota said. “They’re not normally what we think a castle is like. They’re not fairy tale castles. They are much more modern in design and sophisticated architecturally.”

Along the gallery walls hang several of his framed sketches. In architecture, designs must be plum, level and square, he said. But his drawings show the random images he processes in his head and reflect his intuition.

“I’m really happy the gallery allowed me to put these up,” Rademaker said. “I’ve never shown my drawings before … I struggle at (sand sculptures), and drawing is really my medium. I love to draw.”

The artist will also create a sand sculpture at Westfield Galleria starting Monday, June 13. Galleria visitors can purchase a $10 raffle ticket to win the chance to demolish Rademaker’s sand creation. The winner, or winning family, will destroy the sculpture Thursday, June 23, at the mall.

As for Rademaker, he doesn’t mind working with a transitory art form. He actually prefers it.

“That’s the good thing,” he said. “It frees you. I tried going through life making things permanent — building a home, relationships, developing security in life, we all do that. About 14 years ago, that all went south for me and I was devastated. Up until then, I didn’t really travel, I didn’t create art.”

Rademaker quit his job in construction and reinvented himself as an artist.

“I embrace things that are temporary, and the world opens up,” he said. “People ask me, ‘Why don’t you work in stone or metal?’ I say, ‘Why would I want to?’ That’s my question.”

To celebrate more-permanent works, the Blue Line Gallery is also showcasing kinetic art sculpture by Phill Evans, a Fair Oaks-based artist who has earned several national awards for ornamental and animated displays, and national and international awards for his kinetic public art and sculptural environments.

Evans also creates and manufactures commercial signage, restaurant interior elements, mechanical displays and ornamental architectural metals at his studio.

Sena Christian can be reached at senac@goldcountrymedia.com.

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Sculptures at Blue Line Gallery
When:
11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays until July 2
Where: Blue Line Gallery, 405 Vernon St. Suite 100 in Roseville
Cost: Free
Info: Call (916) 783-4117 or visit www.rosevillearts.org

Pay to Play
When:
Noon to 4 p.m. from Thursday, June 16 through Saturday, June 18
Where: Play space at Westfield Galleria, 1151 Galleria Blvd. in Roseville
Info: Sand activities for kids. Visitors can purchase a $10 raffle ticket for the chance to destroy a sand sculpture.