so, I’ve been working at the beach for quite a few years at this point. one of the things anyone who works publicly will find is that there is no accounting for the response people will send your way. here are a few things people have said to me:

“aren’t you that guy?”

“why would you do something like this?”

“who’s paying you to do this?”

“aren’t you worried someone is going to get hurt?”

“nice work, you should try making a person.”

“can we look at your fort?”

“are rocks heavy?”

these are just a few of the weird comments people throw my way, along with the usual compliments and inquiries. sometimes I see people watch me for a few minutes, try to make a stack of their own, and get bored after the first couple stones. I remember then what it felt like when I started stacking. sometimes it still is boring or frustrating when I can’t fine the right stone to make some section work.

the other side of things is that kids often want to come over and look or help, but their parents often shut them down. “don’t bother the man while he’s working!” or “that’s too dangerous for you, honey.” I’m always happy to see kids work with rocks, because I think it really can help develop your sense of the physical world, how things work, etc. there’s also a sense of fun and accomplishment when you see how you’ve changed the world. on that note…

usually, the structures I make are demolished by other beach goers within a day. for example, the drum looked like this the morning after I made it: 

kind of annoying to see all your work returned to a heap like this, but the rocks are not mine and time changes all things… and in the end, the kids were having a lot of fun on it each time I’ve gone back since. what was even cooler was the pierced wall I made. the kids had completely taken it over. not destroyed it, just changed it. it was now a pretty awesome fort.

I put in a couple of shots of myself to show the condition of use… I thought it would be a little creepy to take photos of the kids inside of it without their parents’ consent, so I had to be the substitute. I really liked how they did little things like remove some of my rocks in order to create shelf areas, or how they covered most of the old surface of the preexisting build with individually chosen tiny rocks.

it’s clear in some of the photos how different the kids’ work is from my own, but I think that’s awesome. I hope these kids who were playing in the rocks develop their own creative instincts and take on projects of their own in whatever media they like as they get older. secondarily, it’s nice to see my stuff USED by people. my work isn’t something that is meant to me just seen and avoided – they’re just rocks, for goodness sakes. the worst you can do is knock it down.

basically, I think people should try to be more like the kids who “fixed” my wall – just get out there and do something. it doesn’t matter what it is or what level of expertise you hold, if you goof around and do what feels right in creating, you’ll probably make something interesting and fun where there was nothing discernible before.

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