Jim Cook, Dover resident and chemical engineer turned-Rehoboth Beach sand sculptor, has been on the beach much of the summer near the surf’s edge at Rodney Street creating new sand sculptures! Some of his recent works include: Angelica and Chuckie from Rugrats, Squidward and Plankton from SpongeBob, and Peggy Pig. Here’s Chuckie!
Cook creates what he calls “primitive sand art” which differs from the traditional sand sculptors. “I only use an ink pen and a flexible blowing tube and that’s all,” he points out. “Real sand artists use sculpting tools, brushes, mist’ers, etc., and build amazing things. But my ‘own brand’ of sand art,” he explains, is “the challenge of doing what I do using only those two things.”
“That’s part of the fun I’ve had over 25 years doing over 400 different things,” he says. “I know I could speed up my process and probably improve my outcome by using other tools… but, my primitive method works for me. And part of the fun is meeting and seeing so many nice people who stop by and take pictures during the day… adults and kids. I’m glad my sand art can be part of their Rehoboth vacation experience,” he adds.
Here is another one of Cook’s recent sculptures, Elmer Fudd from Bugs Bunny. “Sometimes I do things for kids and sometimes I do them for adults,” he says. An adult requested he do Elmer! “No kids knew who Elmer was but all adults did,” he pointed out, adding that “one child wanted to know what video game he was in!”
He only does sand art on days when the weather and wind cooperate but he does not mind the heat. “Since I carry about 1500 pounds of water in making a large sculpture… I am in and out of the ocean a lot… and keep cool over the 10 to 12 hours I spend on them,” he points out.
He normally begins his artworks at sunrise by building a large mound as his canvas. Then 12 hours later, a character has emerged from the sand! “I’ve had an amazing absolutely great day creating and playing in the sand,” he adds. “Some folks come by and comment how hard and long I seem to be working on my sand art. But, I always tell them, I would never work that hard, it’s absolute play, and the day is over before I know it. I tell them, ‘when I am done, there is no more fun.'”
This is another one of his recent sand artworks: Dory from the movie: Finding Dory. Cook often poses with his sand artwork to simply give it perspective as to its size.
Cook typically begins the building season around Father’s Day and creates between 20 and 25 objects through around Labor Day. He says he usually starts off doing small works and expands from there — as he builds his stamina. So look for him and his latest artworks on Rodney Street in Rehoboth!
Photos courtesy Jim Cook