| Mr. Sandman Sculpts BC a Dream
Over the course of 4 days, Damon Farmer has transformed a 20 ton pile of sand into a custom work of art for the Celebration 2005 kickoff to Berea College’s sesquicentennial year.
An array of photos of the sand sculpture at various points of construction.
Featuring elements from both Berea’s past and present; the piece depicts such buildings as Draper Hall, Phelps-Stokes Chapel, and Berea's first school house. The central focus of the sculpture is on the larger than life bust of college founder John G. Fee who towers over representations of two students. After a lengthy viewing of the piece, Jessica Heatherly, a senior IECE child and family studies major said of the sculpture, “I think it is really great how he has brought the past and present together in this piece.”
A Berea College alumni and Kentucky local, Damon Farmer has been sculpting since his graduation in 1975. "I took a short term trip to the beach near Pensacola, Florida to do the required paintings for my art major." recalls Damon. It was in Florida that Damon began to "play around" with sand as an artistic medium. "I have done marble and wood sculpture but I enjoy sand more because it is the medium that allows me to travel the world." To list a few places, Damon has competed in France, Spain, Italy, Venice, Mexico, Canada, Puerto Rico, and China.
In 1990, Damon started competing in official sand sculpting competitions and commissioned projects for various benefactors. Now sand sculpting has become more of a hobby that he, "does four months out of the year" leaving the remaining eight months for him to paint. He has been the United States world champion eight times in sand sculpting.
When asked what he thought of the gigantic sand sculpture, Douglas “Deke” Barron, jokingly stated, “It sure beats the colored sand they put in jars.” Other responses ranged from those of awe to those of utter respect; Kimberly Daniels said of the piece, “God has given him such talent; it is amazing the way he uses it.” The most common response to the sculpture was that of self doubt. All too common was the response, “I couldn’t do that.”
Damon has heard praise and awe from onlookers on most every project he has done, but he never gets used to hearing statements like, “I couldn’t do that.” When questioned about his talent, Damon recalled the commonly heard saying, "Another word for talent is desire.” He says that 95% of what he does is practice and anyone could do what he does with the right combination of practice and desire. When doing any type of artistic work, people most always have a favorite, but Damon is unique, “I don’t have one. I like to think that my favorite work is in the future. Up till now all my work has just been practice.”
The sand sculpture is a display of extreme skill that pays a temporary tribute to the past 150 years of Berea College's history. In the coming weeks, it will fade away, as have the past 150 years, and will become part of the legacy that is the Berea College story.
To see some of Damon’s other work, be sure to check him out at his website at www.shadetreestudio.com.