Tag: professional sand sculptor

Tips on hiring a professional sand sculptor

Tips on hiring a professional sand sculptor

Just to make things clear, yes I do own a professional sand sculpting company and yes, I do want you to consider my company when ever you think about hiring a sand sculptor.  However, there are many times when I will refer a client to another company if I know they will be in good hands, treated fairly and get the same consideration that I would offer them.  Due to my busy schedule, there are some projects I must turn away. Rather than let my client endure the painful search of finding a sculptor that will satisfy their needs, I would rather refer them to someone who I know operates on the same high level of standards that I follow. I have forged many great client relationships following this rule and feel that this practice  benefits not only the client and the artists involved  but the industry of sand sculpting as a whole. That is  where the idea to write this blog post came from. I realise that many clients will miss the opportunity to contact me for one reason or another. Hopefully by reading this post it will give them the tools to help them during the sometimes confusing process of hiring a professional sand sculptor. So here are some top tips from Fitzy the Snowman that will surely make your search for a great professional sand sculptor a little less painful.

  1. Know your budget Even if you haven’t decided on a final budget for your project, you should at least have a vision of the scale of your project. By knowing the scale of the project and it’s level of importance to the over all event or presentation, the artist will have critical information needed to present several options that will fit that need.
  2. References and examples Don’t be afraid to ask for references. I am always more than happy to provide references on request and have created a whole page of testimonials  for my potential clients to review. Also, ask if the art samples you are viewing  on a company’s website are done by that artist that will be working at your event.  Many companies  use sculptors for hire. This a common practice and one that I do not particularly frown upon unless there is not full disclosure to the client prior to booking. About 95%  of the work featured on my site was created by myself or my very talented  wife of 24 years. If a client is taken by a particular sculpture that was created by one of my associates, I always make the best effort to make a direct referral to that artist.
  3. Know who you are hiring To elaborate on what I’ve mentioned in the previous paragraph, It is important to know who will actually be creating your project. If the person you are speaking with is not the artist who will be creating your project, be sure to ask to see examples  of the artists work and how long this person has been working a professional sand sculptor. There are a few companies that have a history of sending underqualified artists out to projects. Many problems can arise from this practice other than the obvious poor quality of work. It takes many years to develop the skills to operate as a professional sand sculptor. Even if the person is an extremely talented artist, there are many other skills required to make a project run smoothly. Without the necessary experience of dealing with logistical issues, having strong communication skills and the ability to problem solve, new artists can quickly get overwhelmed with a project. I make it a strict rule to only work with the most experienced and talented artists in the industry. We also run extensive background checks on all the artists  that we contract and maintain a no tollerance drug policy.
  4. Best Business Practices Realistically there are only a handful of legitimate professional sand sculpting companies in the US. When searching for professional sand sculpting companies however, you may reveal hundreds of results. So how do you distinguish the real companies from the part-time hobbyist? The easiest way is to ask for a certificate of insurance from the artist. Only companies with active business licences can obtain liability insurance. This will also protect you and your company in the event of an unexpected accident or mishap. I’m proud to report that I have maintained a spotless safety record since my company was established in 2000. That said, accidents do happen and it’s always a good idea to request this document.
  5. Trust your instincts Once you have narrowed your search to a few top results, it’s time to establish your initial contact. Whether you do this by email or by phone, it’s important to pay attention to the details of that first contact and simply trust your instincts. In my experience, a delay in more than 24 hours to respond to an email or phone call is a bad sign. In any business it is critical to maintain an open line of communication with your clients at all times. Of course there are always exceptions to this rule, but if you are having a difficult time on the second or third attempt it’s probably wise to move on in your search.
  6. Look for a diverse portfolio When you are searching for someone to create that perfect sand sculpture you probably have a specific idea in mind. If not, you want to be confident that the artist you are working with will be able to provide a wide range of options. If all you see are castles and you are looking for a classical greek depiction, these guys may not be for you. Another thing to look for are artists that are skilled in multiple mediums. Artists that work in more than one medium tend to be more creative and flexible. This also gives you the convenience of one stop shopping. You may find that in addition to needing a sand sculpture exhibition that you also need an ice sculpture for a cocktail party. At Fitzy Snowman Sculpting , we offer many different carved mediums such as sand, snow, ice, pumpkins and many types of fruit.
  7. Be realistic Calling me or any professional sand sculptor a week before a special event or promotion is not the best idea. Often there are multiple issues that need to be solved, not to mention, there really aren’t a lot of us out there, so the chances of landing someone truly talented are very slim. Also, keep in mind that you are hiring a performance artist. I don’t know this for sure, but I imagine Leonardo may have gotten a little grumpy if you wanted to ask him repeated questions while he was painting the Sistine Chapel. Professional sand sculptors thrive in that enviroment. Your event is our studio and your guests are there for us to entertain. That kind of talent is hard to find, and doesn’t come at discount prices. Sand sculpture represents one of the best values in experiential marketing and performance entertainment. If you follow this simple guide you will get to experience that value first hand. Or just give me a call, I’ll explain  everything… One Grain at a time!
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Sand Sculpting Ethics 101

Sand Sculpting Ethics 101

When I was first introduced to the world of professional sand sculpting, I marveled at the level of comradery and cooperation I witnessed. There is a wonderful vibe that surrounds you when in the company of such talented artists. For years I believed that the sand sculpting business was somehow immune to the trappings of cut throat practices. Unfortunately, I would soon learn first hand that, while a majority of sand sculptors have exemplary business practices, there are those in the business that make us all look bad.

In any business there are certain ethical standards that must be followed in order to advance the industry as a whole. Those that disregard these practices, may at first glance appear to be unaffected by their actions. Some might even refer to themselves as shrewd business men. I can assure you shrewd is not the word I would use to describe them.

So here they are, the top 5 reasons ( in no particular order)  that you might want to take an ethics class.

  1. You charge your clients $$$$ for additional sand sculptors but you only pay those sculptors $.
  2. You consider drinking and or smoking on the job part of your “artistic license”.
  3. Your idea of business marketing is to check  out your competition’s website calender of events and  then call all their clients.
  4. You’ve actually yelled at a competitor’s client for not hiring you.
  5. You market yourself at a fellow sand sculptors event, saying you could do a better job for less.

I’m sure there are many more  reasons you might need an ethics corse. I would love to hear any personal experiences from other sand sculptors. Please omit any names. The purpose of this blog post is to raise awareness, not to vilify any particular group or individual.

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So you want to be a professional sand sculptor

So you want to be a professional sand sculptor

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked, ” So what’s your real job?”  I can tell you that it is very rewarding to be able look them in the eye with a completely straight face and say, ” You’re looking at it!”  Becoming  a professional sand sculptor was something that actually found me, rather than something I was searching for. Back in 1991 when I stumbled upon my passion for sculpting, I had no idea there was such thing as a professional sand sculptor. Lucky for me it wouldn’t be long before I would discover the truth thanks in part to the invention of the world wide web. One of the very first sand sculpting websites I came across was put together by a former school teacher from Michigan who was now living in Texas  by the name of Lucinda Weirenga. Her website sandcastle central opened up my eyes to a whole world of professional sand sculptors, events, tips of the trade and more! I sent Lucinda, or as she is known in the sand sculpting community, Sandy Feet, an email introducing myself along with a few photos of my sculptures. To my surprise she responded with words of encouragement almost immediately. For this reason alone, the number one tip I can offer to  any aspiring sand sculptor, is to reach out to other sand sculptors for advice. You will find that most sand sculptors are willing to offer words of encouragement. Others may even offer up the opportunity to work along side them, should your work prove to be promising.

Part Time vs. Full Time
In the world of professional sand sculpting you will come to realise that there are two distinct groups of sculptors. There are those who, while extremely talented, choose to hold down full time positions in other areas of expertise while they pursue sand sculpture on a part time basis. This group is actually split up into two smaller subgroups. There are those that just love to carve and do not want to concern themselves with the business side of sand sculpture and those that are attempting to transition to full time. The second, much smaller group, is made up of a fortunate few who have been able to find the balance of being creative and running a successful business. To figure which group you will fall into is not as simple as it may seem. First you will need to determine your level of passion for the art. Afterall if you plan on making a living at this you better be prepared to eat, sleep and….well you get the point. Next, you will need a solid business and marketing background. Just like any business it takes more than just the desire to succeed to have a successful business. There are necessary skills you will need to hone if you plan on making it through the first three year on your own. If the business side just doesn’t thrill you, consider bringing in a partner or even hiring temporary help to run the business side of things.

It’s a Growing Industry

The good news is that currently sand sculpting is expanding in the United States. Each year there are more and more events, competitions and exhibitions being created with the backing of professional sand sculptors. Existing events are also feeling the pressure to finally recognise the artists that have for years directly contributed to these events successes. There is also a core group of sculptors that has made it their focus to expand opportunities for other sculptors and ensure that these artists are properly compensated and appreciated for what they contribute to the art community as a whole.

So the next time you are at the beach just playing in the sand, remember to document your work. Send out those photos and never stop trying to improve your skills. With enough dedication, planning and raw talent, anything is possible.

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