King & Queen
Image: © Steve Machell
I was born and grew up in Brisbane but at the age of 19 the magnetic
pull of the ocean became too strong to resist. I left Brisbane and my
studies in information technology and decided to travel around Australia.
It was a few years later that I discovered sand sculpting.
It all started on St Kilda beach, Melbourne, in 1998. One of my traveling
buddies had seen some sand sculptures on the Canary Islands, so we decided
to give it a go.
At the time I was looking for direction in my life. I’d just made
a new year’s resolution to find a career or way of life that involved
making people happy, was fun and wouldn’t tie me to one place
I had found it. I was hooked. My traveling buddies soon moved on, but
I felt I had found my calling. I stuck at it and through trial and error
evolved my own unique style.
After a couple of years traveling to different beaches, Byron Bay became
my home base. My creations have taken me all over the world, from competitions,
to conventions, to private commissions, to campaigns like Build a Castle
Save a Reef, a fundraiser in Saipan run by the Light in the Eve foundation.
Then it’s back to my favourite place in the world, Byron main
beach. Byron’s always had a special magic for me and no matter
where I travel I’ll always come back there. It is where I developed
my style and reputation, so without Byron I don’t think I would
have ended up with one of the best jobs in the world.
On a sunny day if I’m in town you’ll find me down on main
beach in Byron, molding the sand into magic. At sunset I light the sculpture
with candles, which really brings my creations to life.
I’ve tried other mediums but sand is my favorite. Something about
its ephemeral nature appeals to me; it’s a clean and quick medium
to use. It’s a performance art and at the end of the day it gets
washed away by the elements. It’s all about the creation and I
wouldn’t have it any other way.
One of my dreams is to build a life-size castle...
Machell, sandologist, Byron Bay